The year 2015, the year of the recognition of the German colonial war against the Herero and Nama (1904-1908) as genocide by the Bundestag, represents a temporary high point in the media attention given to the topic of German colonial history. However, as representatives of the descendants in Namibia as well as BiPoC activists and their allies keep pointing out, especially since 2004, it is essential for German society to critically engage with its colonial past and its legacies. Important elements of this engagement are the many local initiatives that have been founded to get streets renamed or postcolonial city walks to make colonial history and its effects on our lives known to an interested public.
In autumn 2022, a student initiative was founded at the University of Trier whose members want to look into Trier’s colonial history and its effects, which are still evident today. They are developing a postcolonial city tour for Trier. Since there is no literature on the subject, the working group draws information directly from historical material available in archives and libraries. Initial results show that Trier is connected to colonialism in many ways: through the sending of missionaries, importing South American leather for processing, trading colonial goods (e.g. tobacco) or emigrating to South and North America. Wealthy citizens in particular were involved in colonial political organisations such as the German Colonial Society.
The working group meets every two weeks and is supported by PD Dr. Eva Bischoff (International History, University of Trier). Participation is open to all interested parties. If you would like to participate, please send an email to: bischoff[at]uni-trier.de.