Witnesses of the German Genocide – Berlin's Charité returns stolen bones to Namibia
On 30 September 2011 the Berlin Charité restituted 20 human skulls to an official delegation of the Republic of Namibia. They are a fraction of the many thousands of human remains of Herero and Nama victims of the genocide perpetrated by the German troups in 1904-1908 which were smuggled to Germany in view of proving racist theories. The German Government - against all diplomatic rules - did not welcome the delegation and the accompanying Namibian Minister of Youth, National Services, Sports and Culture Kazenambo officially, rejected the participation in a podium discussion on 28 September 2011 and caused a scandal when Minister of State Cornelia Pieper ommitted to acknowledge the genocide and apologise for it in the name of the German nation and State. The topic is closely related to the hitherto unresolved land issue in Namibia, in which the descendants of the victims of the German genocide, whose land and cattle have been expropiated by the white colonial settlers, still today in their vast majority live in poverty.
For more than 100 years, the human remains of which it is supposed thousands still lie in the collections and archives of pathological institutes, universities and other German institutions, have been looted and smuggled from the many German concentration camps established in "German South-West-Africa" in view of serving for "scientific" experimentations in view of proving the racial inferiority of Black people. “By using shards of glass,” so says the original subtitle of the contemporary photography pictured above, the skulls had to be “freed of flesh and made ready” by the wives of those murdered before being sent off. In Spring 2012, the restitution of another 14 skulls from the collection of the Freiburg University has been announced.
In November 2011 the German Government accused the Namibian delegation
to have "compromised the good bi-lateral relations with Germany" and to
have pursued a "hidden agenda". Two victim’s committees reacted sharply
to this allegation (|+| OGC-1904 and |+| Nama Technical Committee). Dr.
Werner Hoyer, State Minister in the German Ministry of Forein Affairs
then had to answer some inconvenient |+| questions in the German Parliament
(Bundestag). He pointed out the claim for restorative justice being the
“hidden agenda” and accused “organizations in Germany” to have appeared
as “joint hosts” and of having “openly incited” the Namibian delegation
to put this issue on the agenda.
For many years, non-governmental organizations have been demanding that Germany unequivocally acknowledges its historical responsibility for the genocide and makes both material and non-material reparations. To mark the occasion of the returning of the mortal remains, the guests from Namibia have been presented with a |+| Book of Condolences, in which people from all over the world commemorate the dead. It still is online and open for condolence messages.
|+| Videodocumentation of the delegation before the handing over of the skulls (by AFROTAK TV cyberNomads)
|+| Interview with Israel Kaunatjike of the Alliance "Witnesses of the German Genocide" (AFROTAK TV cyberNomads)
‘We have come back home…’ - Statement by Chief Alfons Kaihepovazandu Maharero
Statement by Chief Alfons Kaihepovazandu Maharero, Chairman of the Ovaherero/ Ovambanderu Council for the Dialogue on the 1904 Genocide (OCD-1904), on the Occasion of the ‘Requiem of the Martyrs’ at Heroes Acre, on October 05, 2011. Director of...
Saunders Jumah: German denial of Herero genocide
The Germans’ inhuman treatment of the Namibian delegation is only the most recent in a long history of injustice and disrespect towards African peoples. It is more than time, writes Saunders Jumah, for Africans to stand together, demand fair and equal...
‘Book of condolence in the memory of victims of German genocide in Namibia, 1904-1908’ – extracts
To mark the occasion of the restitution by the Berlin Charité Hospital of the first 20 mortal remains of Namibian victims of the German genocide, the German NGO Coalition presented the Namibian delegation with a Book of Condolences, in which...
Further Reading: Links to interesting press articles on the topic
Since the first ever restitution of 20 of the victims' human remains by Charité Hospital to the Republic of Namibia and the diplomatic scandal caused by the present German Government, the national and international media have taken up the issue. The following...
Get Involved: Links to the activities of the NGO Alliance (incl. Twitter/Facebook)
For many years, non-governmental organizations have been demanding that Germany unequivocally acknowledges its historical responsibility for the genocide and makes both material and non-material reparations. Around the first ever restitution of 20 of the...
Aufruf zum 6. Gedenkmarsch zur Erinnerung an die afrikanischen Opfer von Sklavenhandel, Sklaverei, Kolonialismus und rassistischer Gewalt
AfricAvenir unterstützt diesen Gedenkmarsch und wir rufen zur breiten Teilnahme auf! Es geht um viel: Alltäglicher Rassismus insbesondere gegen Schwarze Menschen, rechtsextremistischer Terrorismus und (Neo-)Kolonialismus sind nicht hinnehmbar. Es...
German Acknowledgements a Milestone in our Struggle (by Ida Hoffmann / Nama Technical Committee)
The German Government’s Director General for African Affairs is reported to have apologised on 1 February 2012 for the “atrocities” committed by the German Government against the Herero and Nama people: “We ask for forgiveness for these...|+| read article
OCD-1904 Position on the present German Government’s historic responsibility over Namibia
Presented to Mr. Walter Lindner, Director General for African Affairs, of the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of his audience with the supreme chief (Ombara Onene) Kaihepovazandu Alphons Maharero, for the attention of the German...|+| read article
Open Memorandum to the German State and the German People (by the Nama Technical Committee)
28 November 2011. It was reported that the German Ambassador to Namibia, 2011, on Wednesday, 16th November signed N$660 million agreement for infra-structure and land reform. It was further reported that at the occasion he stated the following amongst others:...
Press Release: The “Hidden Agenda” Claim of the German Ambassador and the Return of 13 Skulls from Germany
In reacting to the German Ambassador to Namibia, Egon Kochanke, who was quoted last week as saying Namibians who collected the skulls from Germany had a hidden agenda and had created a negative impression about bilateral relations between the two...|+| read article
"Verpasste Gelegenheit - Schädelübergabe ohne Gedenken oder Gedanken" - Leserbrief von Henning Melber zur Schädelrückgabe Zeremonie
Mit Sorge (wenn nicht Entrüstung) ließ sich das unrühmliche Spektakel der vergangenen Woche in der deutschen Hauptstadt aus der Perspektive jener Deutschstämmigen Namibias verfolgen, denen auch im eigenen Interesse an einer Verbesserung der...
Deutsche Zivilgesellschaft fordert symbolische und materielle Wiedergutmachung
Nachdem bereits die Podiumsdiskussion "Zeugen des deutschen Völkermords" am 28. September gezeigt hatte, wie groß der Bedarf und Wunsch der Nama und Herereo-Vertreter ist, den Deutschen ihre Geschichte zu erzählen, die Geschichte des...
Pressemitteilung: Versöhnung braucht Entschädigung
Berlin, 27.9.2011. Bündnis von zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen fordert Entschuldigung und offene Verhandlungen über Entschädigung mit den Nachfahren der Opfer des Ge-nozids in Namibia. Rund 100 Jahre nach dem Völkermord, den deutsche Truppen im...
Zeugen des deutschen Völkermords – Podiumsdiskussion aus Anlass der Rückführung menschlicher Gebeine aus der Charité nach Namibia
Am Mittwoch, den 28. September 2011, 19h, lädt AfricAvenir gemeinsam mit einem Bündnis zivilgesellschaftlicher Organisationen anlässlich der Rückführung von 20 Gebeinen von Opfern des deutschen Völkermords in Namibia durch die Charité zu...
Prof. Peter H. Katjavivi: The Significance of the Repatriation of Namibian Human Skulls
When the information about a number of human skulls at various German institutions was disclosed to me in 2008, shortly after I returned from being Namibia’s Ambassador in Berlin, I spoke out publicly about the need to have these human remains returned to...