Werner Hillebrecht

Werner Hillebrecht was born in 1949 in Kreiensen (Germany). Since 1978 he worked on documenting Namibia, in particular literature resources. Employment with the Namibia Project of Bremen University brought him to Namibia during the 1989/90 independence process.

Since 1992 he worked at the National Archives of Namibia. In 1995 he switched to the National Library where he initiated their electronic catalogue. In 2002 he returned to the National Archives which he led until retirement in 2015. He built its diverse databases towards a one-stop access to over half a million records, and initiated a digitization programme with a focus on photos and endangered records. In a special program “AACRLS” he led the collection of oral history and the repatriation of archives, in original or in copy, from other countries.

He is researching the colonial history of Namibia and since his retirement he works as a consultant on history, heritage and documentation, including provenance research. His special interest is the correspondence of indigenous leaders before and during the colonial period.


Publications (selection)

Probleme der archivalischen Überlieferung - Lücken, Indizien und Rekonstruktionen, in: Sammeln, Erforschen, Zurückgeben? / hrsg. Holger Stoecker et al. – Berlin: Ch. Links, 2013.

Hendrik Witbooi and Samuel Maharero: The ambiguity of heroes, in: Re-viewing resistance in Namibian history / ed. Jeremy Silvester. – Windhoek: UNAM Press, 2015.

Monuments – and what else? The controversial legacy of German colonialism in Namibia, in: The cultural legacy of German colonial rule / ed. Klaus Mühlhahn. – Berlin: de Gruyter, 2017.


Werner Hillebrecht

Research Fellow

Museums Association Namibia