Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Images of Native Auxilaries in German Service in DSWA

The participation of some indigenous people on the German side was awkward fact of the colonial wars in southwest Africa between 1904-1908.  The bulk of the German forces used in these conflicts were imperial Schutztruppen on detached service from their parent units, augmented by local reserves from the settler population, along with certain marine and naval elements that deployed at the outbreak of the Herero War.  Nonetheless,  there were three native auxiliary units - the Rehoboth Bastards, the Witbooi Orlam (ǀKhowesin) and a half company of Bethanie Orlam (ǃAman) - that fought alongside the Germans in 1904.  There were also indigenous people who accompanied the Schutztruppe in the capacity of officer's servants (bamusen), wagon drivers (treibern), and occasionally even as soldiers attached to predominantly white units, as depicted in the photograph above.  Standing at the far right is a soldier identified as farbiger (colored) Abraham.

The following images from German archives and period publications depict native auxilaries with the Schutztruppe in DSWA both prior to the German-Herero war and during that conflict.  Some of them served with the Germans prior to 1904 and against them afterwards.  The Witboois and some of the Bethanie men fought against the Germans during the Nama War of 1904-1908 after serving with them against the Herero. The Rehoboth Bastards fought by their side throughout, but so did individual Hereros..

Witbooi native auxiliaries (at right) in Okahandja in 1904
Mounted Witboois 1904
Witboois in Windhuk
Baster Company

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