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How are we dealing with our colonial past? What do we remember? Where are the blind spots?

The returning by German museums of illegally acquired objects to the communities they originally belonged to is a controversial issue. A flood of outrage arose at the ‘privatising’ of Benin bronzes from five German museums following the solemn handover of the objects by Foreign Minister Baerbock and Culture Minister Roth, and the subsequent decree issued by the Nigerian president transferring ownership to the descendants of the former ruling family of the Kingdom of Benin. The row has thrown up complex questions: how should Germany deal with its colonial past? Does returning items from collections constitute sufficient redress? Can reconciliation agreements such as the one negotiated with Namibia bring closure to attempts to remedy colonial-era crimes?

© Anett Weirauch



Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1
60327 Frankfurt am Main

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© Cordula Flegel

Prof. Dr. Carola Lentz

President, Goethe-Institut

© Robertino Nikolic

Vivian Perkovic