Hans Dominik (officer)

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Hans Dominik
Signature of Hans Dominik

Hans Dominik (born May 7, 1870 in Kulm , † December 16, 1910 at sea, buried in Berlin-Schöneberg) was an officer in the Imperial Protection Force for Cameroon and for many years head of the Yaounde station .


Growing up in Schwedt with a guardian, Dominik attended the local high school and joined the grenadier regiment "Prince Carl von Prussia" (2nd Brandenburg) No. 12 in Frankfurt (Oder) in 1889 as a flag junior . In 1890 he was promoted to secondary lieutenant , in 1897 to premier lieutenant and in 1904 to captain .

Dominik was under the protection of Captain Curt Morgen , who came from the same regiment and who had undertaken two major research trips through central Cameroon in 1889 and 1890–91. When Morgen was commissioned to form the Cameroonian Schutztruppe in 1894 , Dominik was ordered to serve at the Foreign Office and Morgen was assigned as an adjutant . In Cairo he took over the recruitment of Sudanese mercenaries for the newly formed armed forces of the German colony and took part in the first military actions against the Abo northwest of the port city of Douala . In March and April 1895 another expedition followed against the Kpe near Buea on the Cameroon Mountain . From 1896 to 1898 Dominik was head of the Yaoundé military station . It was not until 1897, however, that he formally joined the Schutztruppe as an officer and, in 1898/99, took part as a company commander in the Wute Adamaua campaign under the leadership of the commander of the Schutztruppe, Oltwig von Kamptz .

In 1900/01 temporarily employed again in his home country, in 1901 he traveled again to Cameroon as a special representative of the governorate. His task consisted in a political mission to Emir Djubayru of the emirate Adamaua , under whose sovereignty large parts of the Fulbe- dominated areas between Sanaga and Lake Chad were claimed by the German Empire . Plans for a peaceful development became obsolete when some subaltern officers, namely the station manager von Joko, Captain Rudolf Cramer von Clausbruch , initiated the military occupation of Adamaua against the instructions of the governor Jesko von Puttkamer . Cramer von Clausbruch conquered Ngaoundéré in 1901 and defeated the troops of the Emir Djubayru near Garoua . Dominik took over the supreme command of the German troops standing in Adamaua and won another victory over the equestrian troops of the Fulbe at Miskin-Maroua , which brought all of Adamaua under German suzerainty.

Dominik was initially intended to be a resident of North Cameroon, but was temporarily dismissed due to various allegations made against him. In 1903 he returned to Cameroon and was reinstated as Yaounde station manager. He remained in this position until his death. Dominik was largely responsible for the expansion of the station. However, his position did not remain unchallenged and his person was often exposed to hostility from civil servants and merchants, but also from other officers. In Gouverneur Puttkamer, Dominik had an important supporter of his actions. After Puttkamer was replaced in 1907, the unreserved support from the government subsided. During his tenure as head of administration for the Yaoundé district, the Makaa uprising on the upper Nyong fell in 1910 , which he overthrown in conjunction with Captain Marschner. Criticism brought him in particular the practice of "giving away" captured women of the subject ethnic groups as booty to loyal aid peoples. The government approved this practice only after heated discussions and in a weakened form.

Weakened by the rigors of the campaign, Hans Dominik died shortly after being promoted to major at the age of 40 on a voyage to Europe. Heinrich Vieter reports in his diary that when they last met on the way to the coast, Dominik was so mentally deranged that he no longer recognized him.

Hans Dominik was buried in the Old Twelve Apostles Cemetery in Schöneberg near Berlin. The grave has not been preserved.

Evaluation and reception

His importance for the “pacification” of the colony, the fact that he was the longest serving officer in Cameroon, but not least his ability to present himself - he published two books about his work in Cameroon that were widely used - diminished a kind of Dominik myth emerged after his early death. A monument was erected in his honor in Kribi . It was dismantled by the new French colonial power after the First World War and later came to Germany. Today it is in the Observatory Bergedorf , Hamburg , stored.

Despite their apologetic character, his publications are still a valuable source for the history and ethnology of Cameroon.

There are indications that Dominik, as head of Yaoundé, deliberately bypassed a number of administrative regulations. On September 5, 1908, he reported the posting of exactly 180,000 marks in poll taxes in the Yaounde district. The governorate, which had become suspicious, then demanded a review of the wages paid on the ward, but had to be satisfied with the answer from the treasurer Glock there:

“Through the interpreter Atangana, I had all wage earners ask whether they had received their wages in cash and correctly from the relevant people in the district office today and in all previous months. This question was answered in the affirmative by all wage earners .... "

Atangana was at that time a close confidante of Dominik and gray eminence in Yaoundé. Only in the previous year had he confirmed this position by eliminating political opponents. Ultimately, it was the chronic staff shortage that prevented a more detailed review of the finances on site.

The topic became topical again when Dominik's estate was inspected again in Duala in 1911 before being shipped to Germany. It contained evidence of a black cash register . Here, too, the government had to be satisfied with an unsatisfactory answer from the Kirchhof district administrator:

“The so-called 'black box office' consisted in the defendants having to bring along some knife and possibly cash to the palaver . Some of the knives were given to the police as wages and to provide them with food. Some of the clothes for the police officers and gifts for natives were procured from it. After the march of Major Dominik to the coast, the above procedure was stopped immediately, the existing money was completely used to buy Christmas presents for native station employees, craftsmen, workers and soldiers ... "

Street names

In 1947 the Dominikweg was named in his honor in Hamburg-Jenfeld . There were protests against this street naming in 2011, but they were ineffective. In Munich- Bogenhausen , an additional sign was attached to the street sign on Dominikstrasse with the inscription “As an officer responsible for brutal repression measures and executions in the German colony of Cameroon”.


  • The conditions at the Yaúnde station and in the area of ​​the upper Sannaga , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 6 (1895), pp. 651–655.
  • Report by Lieutenant Dominik on the angry area , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 8 (1897), pp. 414–418.
  • Report by the Premier Lieutenant Dominik about his campaign against Chief Ngila , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 9 (1898), pp. 622–623.
  • Report by Premier Lieutenant Dominik from Yaúnde Station , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 9 (1898), pp. 651f.
  • Report by Prime Minister Dominik on a punitive expedition against Batschengastamm , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 14 (1899), p. 14f.
  • The situation in Cameroon , Deutsche Kolonialzeitung 7 (1900), p. 153f.
  • Cameroon. Six years of war and peace in the German tropics , Berlin 1901, 2nd edition Berlin 1911 online
  • The Bapea Expedition , Deutsches Kolonialblatt 16 (1905), pp. 526-533.
  • From the Atlantic to Lake Tsad. War and research trips to Cameroon , Berlin 1908.


  • Obituary by Hans Ramsay in: Deutsche Kolonialzeitung . 27, 1910, ZDB -ID 214536-4 , pp. 896-898.
  • Florian Hoffmann: Occupation and military administration in Cameroon. Establishment and institutionalization of the colonial monopoly of violence 1891–1914. 2 volumes. Cuvillier, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-86727-472-2 (vol. 1), ISBN 978-3-86727-473-9 (vol. 2), (also: Münster (Westphalia), Univ., Diss. , 2006).
  • Erich Rob. Petersen: Hans Dominik. Cameroon's great soldier. Safari-Verlag, Berlin 1941 (fictional representation).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Hans-Jürgen Mende: Lexicon of Berlin burial places . Pharus-Plan, Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-86514-206-1 , p. 750.
  2. Winfried Speitkamp : Colonial monuments . In: Jürgen Zimmerer (Ed.): No place in the sun. Places of remembrance of German colonial history . Frankfurt 2013. ISBN 978-3-593-39811-2 , pp. 409-423 (418).
  3. ^ Archives Nationales de Yaoundé, Fonds Allemand, FA 1/266, p. 16
  4. ^ Archives Nationales de Yaoundé, Fonds Allemand, FA 1/266, p. 22
  5. ^ Archives Nationales de Yaoundé, Fonds Allemand, FA 1/137, p. 25
  6. Malte Steinhoff: Named after slave traders and murderers - These are Hamburg's streets of shame . Hamburger Morgenpost, April 5, 2011.