A Namibian politician named after the infamous former leader of the German Nazi Party, Adolf Hitler, convincingly won a seat in his local region in the recently held elections in the southwestern African nation.
According to the Evening Standard, Adolf Hitler Uunona, a member of the ruling SWAPO party, pulled 85% of the votes to emerge as councilor of the Ompundja Constituency in the Oshana Region. Speaking with German news outlet, Bild, after his decisive victory, Adolf said his name does not mean he is “striving for world domination.”
“The fact I have this name does not mean I want to conquer Oshana,” he said, referring to his region in Namibia.
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The politician revealed his father named him after Hitler – the man who masterminded the mass murder of around 6 million Jews during World War II – unbeknownst of his atrocities and what he stood for.
“My father named me after this man. He probably didn’t understand what Adolf Hitler stood for,” he said, adding that he got to know the real identity of the man he had been named after during his teenage years.
“As a child I saw it as a totally normal name. Only as a teenager did I understand that this man wanted to conquer the whole world,” he said.
He also told Bild: “It was a perfectly normal name for me when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized that this man wanted to subjugate the whole world and killed millions of Jews.”
Asked why he hasn’t changed his name, the 54-year-old said it’s a little too late as it’s on all official documents, Africanews reported. “It’s in all official documents, it’s too late for that,” he said.
The politician, however, said he omits Hitler from his name and rather uses Adolf Uunona when identifying himself to the public. A former German colony, Mr. Uunona said the name Adolf was common in the country when they were under the European country’s administration.
Germany has been making efforts to atone for acts of violence against its former colony, but both parties are yet to find a common ground. It is widely reported that German troops massacred more than 75,000 Namibians, mainly from the Herero and Nama tribes, between 1904 and 1908.
Many have termed it as “a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment” that Germany undertook against Africans who rebelled against the autocratic German colonial rule. There were also reports of concentration camps where the colonialists carried out exterminations and scientific experiments on the tribespeople. In the “Whitaker Report” of 1985, the United Nations recognized the two Namibian massacres as “an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Namaqua people.”
In 2004, Germany acknowledged the killings but rejected calls for financial compensation for the victims and their descendants. In 2015, the German government declared the events as a “genocide” and “part of a race war.”
In August, Namibia turned down the European country’s offer for reparations for the mass killings, with president Hage Geingob saying the offer was “not acceptable.” Geingob’s rejection of the offer followed his receipt of a status update from the Special Envoy on the Negotiations on Genocide, Apology and Reparations (GAR) between Namibia and Germany.