Jetzt Spenden

Mission in Times of Colonialism

Transparency of our historical responsibility

Below we provide a transparent insight into the very different and sometimes ambivalent behaviour of German missionaries at the time of colonialism in Africa and Asia. Due to the wealth of historical documents and other materials, the information can only provide a rough overview of the topic "Mission in times of colonialism". For any further information or research on the basis of historical documents in our archives, please contact the UEM Archive and Museum Foundation (AMS).

What is the relationship between today's UEM and the historical German mission?

Today's UEM has been founded in 1996 and is no longer a German missionary organisation, but an international communion consisting of 32 Asian and African churches and only seven German members. Our mission has been consistently developed with this concept. Our management bodies are accordingly international structured. Our current Moderator is Bishop Dr. Abednego Keshomshahara from Tanzania, while our current General Secretary is Pastor Andar Parlindungan from Indonesia. This shows that German theologians no longer dominate the UEM.

Many of our Asian and African member churches were founded by German missionaries at the time, most of whom were sent by the Rhenish Missionary Society (RMG). The RMG no longer exists. Today's international UEM is the legal successor to the RMG and as such is the trustee of its missionary legacy.

  • How has the UEM analysed the history of mission in Namibia?

    100th remembrance of the genocide

    In 2004 - to remember the 100th year of genocide in what is now Namibia - the UEM, together with the ELCRN, opened a touring exhibition on the subject in Wuppertal in addition to the memorial event. This exhibition travelled for more than three years through more than 150 parishes, schools and museums. In 2005 it was opened in English in the presence of the State Secretary and Bishop Kameeta at the National Gallery in Windhoek. Exhibition catalgue here

    Here the statement of the UEM of 2004

    Study process

    This led to a first study process to come to terms with German Protestant work abroad in colonial southern Africa and a second follow-up process to come to terms with the apartheid era, initiated by the EKD as well as churches and mission organisations in Germany, Namibia and South Africa and an international academic advisory board. The results of the multi-year process can be read in two academic volumes.

    German Protestant Church in Colonial Southern Africa, ISBN number: 978-3-447-06535-1

    Contested Relations, ISBN number: 978-3-447-10424-1

    The books can be purchased from the UEM Archive and Museum Foundation (AMS).

    Consultation in Okahandja

    In 2017, there was another consultation in Okahandja with representatives from politics and the church. You can read the English-language statement adopted there here.


    Joint press release with EKD following the German government's apology

    In May 2021, the German government officially apologised for the colonial injustice committed in German South West Africa and also recognised the killing and mistreatment of thousands of Herero and Nama in the years 1904-1908 as genocide. The longstanding common demand of the EKD and UEM to German politics was thus finally fulfilled. 

    The press release of the EKD

  • The Rhenish Missionary Society in south-west Africa

  • Historical Voices of the Mission

  • Brief history of the United Evangelical Mission

  • Research at the UEM Archive and Museum Foundation

  • Comment on ownership and sharing of the UEM's historical heritage


Archiv- und Museumsstiftung der VEM
Rudolfstr. 137
42285 Wuppertal
+49 202 89004-152


IBAN: DE45 3506 0190 0009 0909 08