Der Holocaust als »kolonialer Genozid«?
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This essay critically engages with the current scholarly debate about ‘connecting lines’ and structural similarities between European colonialism and German National Socialism. Following the recent publication of books on the allegedly genocidal nature of German colonialism and the role of the Herero and Nama wars (1904–07) as a precursor of and model for the German war of extermination in Eastern Europe (1939–45), the essay will critically examine the allegedly ‘exceptional’ character of the German colonial wars within the broader trans-national context of colonial violence. It will be argued that the taboo violation of 1904 was in fact very much in line with common European colonial standards. Furthermore, the essay will critically engage with the question of direct continuities between ‘Windhoek and Auschwitz’, arguing that the German war of annihilation constituted a break with European traditions of colonialism rather than a continuation.