The Ethnological Museum in Berlin returns 23 artifacts to the museum

This is a new step in Germany’s recognition of the crimes committed in its former African colonies: on Friday, Berlin handed over to Namibia, a German colony from 1884 to 1915, old objects that had been looted.

as reported from Berlin, Violette Bonnebas

A doll symbol for fertility, jewelry, a leather headdress: a total of 23 objects were selected, not by Germany but by Namibian researchers.

During colonial times, these objects had been looted and then incorporated into the collections of the Berlin Ethnological Museum. In Namibia, they will now be studied by researchers who hope to learn more about their country’s history. To mark the event, several items will also be presented to the public from June 1, in the brand new Namibian Fashion Museum.

In recent years, Germany has multiplied symbolic gestures with regard to Namibia, in particular by returning bones and works of art. But the process of reconciliation stops.

Berlin recognizes the genocide committed against the Herero and Nama peoples during the colonial era and offers one billion euros in damages. A sum that was considered insufficient by the descendants of the victims of the genocide. The Namibian parliament refuses to ratify the reconciliation agreement between the two states.

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