1 000 East African skulls, bones still held in Ber­lin

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

BER­LIN — More than 1 000 skulls and bones be­long­ing to east Africans and brought to Ger­many for racial “sci­en­tific” re­search dur­ing the colo­nial era are still in stor­age in Ber­lin, a me­dia re­port said on Tues­day.

Pub­lic broad­caster ARD said it had ob­tained lists of the hu­man re­mains that are still held by the Prus­sian Cul­tural Her­itage Foun­da­tion, which ad­min­is­ters the cap­i­tal’s state mu­se­ums.

Most of the skulls and bones are marked as stem­ming from Ger­many’s for­mer East African colonies, in­clud­ing 1 003 items from Rwanda and 60 from Tan­za­nia. Among them are 10 skulls of chil­dren. Some of the hu­man re­mains, kept at the Foun­da­tion’s main stor­age fa­cil­ity, came from in­sur­gents who had been de­cap­i­tated by Ger­man troops.

Their skulls were then sent to Ber­lin for “sci­en­tific” ex­per­i­ments.

Asked about the items, the foun­da­tion’s chief, Her­mann Parzinger, told ARD that his or­gan­i­sa­tion “has no prob­lem with re­turn­ing these things”.

Ger­many has in re­cent years handed back 20 skulls be­long­ing to in­dige­nous Namib­ians.

The skulls are among an es­ti­mated 300 taken to Ger­many af­ter a slaugh­ter of in­dige­nous Namib­ians dur­ing an anti-colo­nial up­ris­ing in what was then called South West Africa, which Ber­lin ruled from 1884 to 1915.

The skulls gath­ered dust in the Ger­man archives un­til 2008, when ARD re­ported that they were still kept at the Med­i­cal His­tory Mu­seum of the Charite hos­pi­tal in Ber­lin, and at Freiburg Univer­sity in the south­west.

The pub­lic­ity prompted Namibia to seek the resti­tu­tion of the re­mains. — AFP —

EFF, ANC and DA mem­bers and sup­port­ers rally in protest out­side the Mid­del­burg Mag­is­trate’s Court dur­ing the hear­ing for the #CoffinAs­sault. AFP

Hil­lary Clin­ton

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