Politician named after Adolf Hitler wins elections in Namibia


A politician named after Adolf Hitler has won a seat in an election in Namibia, but says he has no plans for world domination.

Adolf Hitler Uunona was elected with 85 percent of the vote in the former German colony, which is still home to a small German-speaking community and where a number of streets, places and people still bear German names.

After winning the seat on the ticket of the ruling SWAPO party – which has ruled Namibia since the independence of apartheid South Africa in 1990 – the politician said Bild that he “had nothing to do with” Nazi ideology.

‘My father named me after this man. He probably didn’t understand what Adolf Hitler stood for, ”his namesake said.

‘As a child I saw it as a very normal name. It was only as a teenager that I understood that this man wanted to conquer the whole world. ‘

Adolf Hitler Uunona

Adolf Hitler Uunona

Adolf Hitler in 1935

Adolf Hitler in 1935

Left: Adolf Hitler Uunona, who won a seat in a regional election in Namibia; right: the real Adolf Hitler at a Nazi party conference in 1935

German soldiers with captured indigenous people in Namibia in 1905, when the country was part of the short-lived German colonial empire

German soldiers with captured indigenous people in Namibia in 1905, when the country was part of the short-lived German colonial empire

German soldiers with captured indigenous people in Namibia in 1905, when the country was part of the short-lived German colonial empire

The politician said his wife calls him Adolf, adding that he usually goes by Adolf Uunona, but it would be ‘too late’ to officially change his name.

“Just because I have this name doesn’t mean I want to conquer Oshana,” he said, referring to the region where he won the election. “It doesn’t mean I strive for world domination.”

Uunona won 1,196 votes in the recent election, compared to 213 votes for his opponent, returning him to a seat on the regional council he previously won in 2015.

His name was shortened to ‘Adolf H’ in a list of candidates printed in a government journal, but his name appeared in full on an official results website.

Once known as German South West Africa, Namibia was a German colony from 1884 until the empire was robbed of its possessions after World War I.

The real Hitler would later use the humiliation of the post-war Versailles Treaty as a propaganda tool to win support for the Nazis in the 1920s and 1930s.

Although Germany spent 75 struggling years reconciling the war and genocide it unleashed under Hitler’s rule, its colonial atrocities in Namibia are little discussed – but the pressure to make reparations has increased in recent years.

German soldiers slaughtered some 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama tribesmen between 1904 and 1908 in a bloody campaign to quell a local uprising.

The murders came after German occupiers forced native tribes off their land and recruited them into forced labor, sparking an uprising in which Herero people murdered 123 German settlers.

A German bakery in Swakomund, Namibia, can be seen in 2008 in a remnant of the German colonial settlement that took place there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

A German bakery in Swakomund, Namibia, can be seen in 2008 in a remnant of the German colonial settlement that took place there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

A German bakery in Swakomund, Namibia, can be seen in 2008 in a remnant of the German colonial settlement that took place there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

German colonial architecture in Luderitz, Namibia, in a country where traces of the colonial past are still visible in the names of places and streets

German colonial architecture in Luderitz, Namibia, in a country where traces of the colonial past are still visible in the names of places and streets

German colonial architecture in Luderitz, Namibia, in a country where traces of the colonial past are still visible in the names of places and streets

A German flag hangs next to a street vendor in Windhoek, Namibia, prior to a World Cup match involving the German team in 2010

A German flag hangs next to a street vendor in Windhoek, Namibia, prior to a World Cup match involving the German team in 2010

A German flag hangs next to a street vendor in Windhoek, Namibia, prior to a World Cup match involving the German team in 2010

The former German government headquarters in Windhoek, pictured in 1946, when Germany's atrocities in Namibia were overshadowed by Hitler's genocide

The former German government headquarters in Windhoek, pictured in 1946, when Germany's atrocities in Namibia were overshadowed by Hitler's genocide

The former German government headquarters in Windhoek, pictured in 1946, when Germany’s atrocities in Namibia were overshadowed by Hitler’s genocide

A cavalry contingent in what was known as German South West Africa until the Empire was disbanded after World War I

A cavalry contingent in what was known as German South West Africa until the Empire was disbanded after World War I

A cavalry contingent in what was known as German South West Africa until the Empire was disbanded after World War I

In addition to the massacre, thousands of Hereros were driven into the desert and died of thirst and hunger, and the rest were sent to prison camps.

Last year, a German government minister described the massacre during a visit to the African country as a genocide.

“It has become clear that the crimes and horrors of 1904 to 1908 are what we today describe as genocide,” Mueller said after meeting with tribesmen.

The German government says it has a ‘special responsibility’ towards Namibia ‘because of the’ shared colonial past ‘of the two countries.

But in August, Namibia turned down Germany’s offer of £ 9 million in reparations for the colonial massacres, stating that it should be ‘revised’.

A small German-speaking community still lives in the country and it is estimated that around 120,000 Germans visit Namibia every year.

That community has occasionally been associated with expressions of neo-Nazi sentiments, including a celebration of Hitler’s 100th birthday in 1989.

Three years earlier, a group of German speakers placed an advertisement commemorating the death of Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess and in honor of “the last representative of a better Germany.”

In 2005, a German-language newspaper published an advertisement expressing “joy and satisfaction” at the death of Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal.

The German ambassador to Namibia demanded that the newspaper apologize, which he then did.

In 2011, members of a Namibian delegation in Berlin stand above a series of skulls of Namibian tribes who were victims of German colonial atrocities in the early 20th century

In 2011, members of a Namibian delegation in Berlin stand above a series of skulls of Namibian tribes who were victims of German colonial atrocities in the early 20th century

In 2011, members of a Namibian delegation in Berlin stand above a series of skulls of Namibian tribes who were victims of German colonial atrocities in the early 20th century

Back in Namibia, a crowd waited for the skulls to return, while a car had a message saying 'Germany must pay' for the genocide

Back in Namibia, a crowd waited for the skulls to return, while a car had a message saying 'Germany must pay' for the genocide

Back in Namibia, a crowd waited for the skulls to return, while a car had a message saying ‘Germany must pay’ for the genocide

Native Herero people in chains during Germany's brutal suppression of an uprising in Namibia in the early 20th century

Native Herero people in chains during Germany's brutal suppression of an uprising in Namibia in the early 20th century

Native Herero people in chains during Germany’s brutal suppression of an uprising in Namibia in the early 20th century

First Genocide in the 20th Century: German Massacres in Namibia

A depiction of the conflict between Herero fighters and German colonialists in 1904

A depiction of the conflict between Herero fighters and German colonialists in 1904

A depiction of the conflict between Herero fighters and German colonialists in 1904

German soldiers killed tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people in colonial Namibia between 1904 and 1908 in what has been called the first genocide of the 20th century.

Namibia, then known as German South West Africa, was one of the few German possessions abroad – after the unification of 1871, it meant too late to capture much of the colonial booty.

The German occupiers forced native tribes off their land and recruited them into forced labor, sparking an uprising in which Herero people murdered 123 German settlers.

The German Reich sent reinforcements in response and its soldiers carried out a brutal four-year massacre campaign, believed to have killed 65,000 Herero and 10,000 Nama people.

In addition to the massacre, thousands of Hereros were driven into the desert and died of thirst and hunger, and the rest were sent to prison camps.

At the Battle of Waterberg in August 1904, about 80,000 Herero, including women and children, fled.

Germany recently handed over a stockpile of skulls and other remains of slaughtered tribes, which were used in experiments to break long-debunked claims of European racial superiority.

The German colonial empire was dissolved after World War I when the country was deprived of its possessions, and the colonial past has since been largely overshadowed by the horrors of Hitler’s rule.

Namibia was later transferred to South Africa by the League of Nations and eventually gained independence from the apartheid state in 1990.

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