Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

October 2009

Creation Date


Publisher Information

Florida Holocaust Museum in conjunction with University of South Florida Tampa Library and Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center


Asaba (Nigeria), Civil War, 1967-1970, Crimes against humanity, Nwajei, Joseph


This is an oral history interview with Joseph Nwajei, a survivor of the Asaba Massacre, a mass killing of civilians which occurred in 1967 during the Nigerian Civil War. Nwajei was fifteen when the massacre occurred and had been attending boarding school in another town; when the political turmoil began, he and his siblings were brought back to Asaba. He and his family were gathered in his grandfather's house when the Nigerian soldiers entered and took his uncle outside. At that moment, he and a cousin ran out the back door and out of the compound. They ran to another village and camped out in an abandoned school for three days. On the evening of the third day, women and children from Asaba arrived at the village, and Nwajei was reunited with his grandmother and then his mother. His uncle and two brothers had been killed, and his mother was able to recover their bodies. In this interview, Nwajei offers his opinions on why the massacre occurred, and comments on the proposed memorial and excavation of the mass graves.

Physical Information

1 sound file (45 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (14 p.)