Shark Island Concentration Camp or “Death Island” was a concentration camp on Shark Island off Luderitz Nambia. It was used by the German empire during the Herero and Namaqua Genocide of 1904-1908. During this time between 1,032 and 3000 Herero and Namaqua men, women, and children died in the camp. The Hereo is an ethnic group of inhabiting parts of Southern Africa. The concentration camps, consisted of people who were skin-and-bone, mass graves, and medical experiments.
Germany showed it was a genocidal nation during this time, and this was when Hitler was only 15 years old. The purpose of this genocide on the Herero and Nama people was to wipe them out and take their land. In the late 1800s there were 80,000 Herero and 20,000 Nama. Both groups had land and herded cows. The Herero were Bantu and lived in the middle of Namibia, the Nama were Khoisan (Hottentots) and lived to the south. The groups was armed with rifles, and the Germans were outnumbered and outgunned. The Germans feared that the group would soon gain power over them and it would be the worst uprising. In 1904, what everyone feared happened, a war broke out. The Herero people were winning at first. Germany was afraid sent General Lothar von Trotha with men, and cannons. The Herero people were no match for this type of destruction. The Herero were defeated and killed. Some managed to escape, and the others ultimately died of thirst or were gunned down.
The Germans then attacked the Nama people. They burned down the Namas homes and any other property they had. It is estimated around 17,000 Herero and Nama were sent to concentration camps along the coast. Men, women, and children were forced to build the Otavi railroad. They were underfed, raped and whipped, until many of them dropped dead. Conditions were so terrible over half never made it out of the camps alive. The groups were distinguished by marks, tattoos, and wore identity badges around their necks. Years later the Herero and Nama people received an apology from Germany; however that was all that Germany felt they owed them.