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)
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