BERLIN — Germany is formally recognizing as genocide the killing of tens of thousands of people from two ethnic groups in what is now Namibia in the early 20th century, the foreign ministry said on Friday, a major acknowledgment of colonial-era crimes.

Germany is asking for forgiveness and establishing a fund worth more than a billion euros to support projects in the affected communities.

Successive German governments denied the country’s responsibility for the killings, in contrast to its earnest and transparent atonement for the Nazi Holocaust that has been a cornerstone of the country’s post-World War II identity.

The recognition was reached after six years of negotiations between the governments of Germany and Namibia, which Germany occupied as a colonial power from 1884 to 1915. Between 1904 and 1908, German soldiers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people, who launched the biggest — and last — rebellion against the occupiers who had taken their lands.

a report on genocide, but it was not until Friday that the German government used the same language.

“We will now officially refer to these events as what they are from today’s perspective: genocide,” Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said in a statement. “As a gesture of recognition of the immeasurable suffering inflicted on the victims, we want to support Namibia and the victims’ descendants with a substantial program of 1.1 billion euros for reconstruction and development.”

The announcement from Germany came as neighboring France made a high-profile statement of its own to reckon with the damage caused by its past in Africa. <a class="css-1g7m0tk" href=""

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