The debate about looted cultural goods from the colonial time to take. State Minister for culture Monika Grütters (CDU), suggested in an interview with the German press Agency on the offensive on returns to the origin of peoples thinking.

“not to wait passively for someone to want something back is the right way to our colonial past,” said Grütters. “We should go actively to the descendants.”

In the case of human remains, it has long been true as a matter of course that the descendants have no claim to it. This could be, in the opinion of Grütters, in the future, also for art and cult objects for the cultural self – understanding of African peoples is essential.

“We have decided in Germany, the protection of cultural property act in order to preserve the objects, the identity are for us, too,” said the CDU politician. “We must recognize, then, but also for objects from Africa, Asia or Oceania that have been illegally stolen, and for the people is of fundamental importance. Here we should consider with experts how we deal proactively with possible returns.”

The German Empire was compared to the almost 500 years of colonial – long history of other European countries-only for a short colonial. Nevertheless, goods from the dominated regions of the injustice came between 1884 and 1918, countless of culture in German museums and collections.

Grütters had already expressed recently in a joint Newspaper article with foreign-Minister of state Michelle Müntefering (SPD), in dealing with the colonial heritage of “significant steps” thinking.

the trigger was a report by the art historian Bénédicte Savoy and of the Senegalese Economists Felwine Sarr for the French President, Emmanuel Macron. The two experts suggest, virtually all from the colonial era tribal art works to their countries of origin in Africa to return.

a prerequisite for that would in the view of Grütters clearly defined rules. “Contact person should be the state, in order not to conflict trigger. You have to know exactly where and to whom to give back,” she said. In cases of doubt, an independent, international Commission could help to clarify.

Nevertheless, it remains the Minister of state, according to the essential, the origin story of the objects, investigate thoroughly. The museums in question would have to digitize resources comprehensively and in an accessible database. “The people in Africa, Asia and Oceania need to be able to easily see what is in our inventory and what we are actually talking about. It must not give the impression that we retain Knowledge for us.”

Again Grütters also said, wide scholarship programs, where Museum experts from Germany to Africa, and Vice versa. Only by exchange and Outlook a Dialog eye-to-eye, let height reach, she said. “This will also change the exhibition of the objects in the case of us fundamentally. We need to tell their story fully and finally out of the trap of the Euro, a view angle-centric.”


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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.


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