AfD-request for colonial art: don sharp questions and sober answers

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    On 5. July of this year, has made the AfD faction in the Bundestag, a Great request for a “reappraisal of the provenance of the cultural heritage of colonial heritage in museums and collections”. It is a strange document: a mixture of factual and leading questions, out of genuine interest in the topic and speckiger Stammtisch-rhetoric.

    Andreas Kilb

    feuilleton correspondent in Berlin.

    F. A. Z.

    on the one Hand, the AfD wants to, led by their cultural-political speaker and Sloterdijk-student Marc Jongen, the Federal government to know how many employees the Berlin museums for Ethnology and Asian art are currently busy with provenance research, what they cost, how strong is the research on colonial heritage in Berlin and at the German centre for lost Cultural goods in Magdeburg will be extended and what the costs should consist of, what is the legal basis for a return of colonial art, and so forth.

    on the Other hand, asks whether the Federal government did not know how many of the “possible restitution of goods” in their countries of origin would have a “seat in life”; how to ensure the wool is to be appreciated that the objects to be processed with the necessary “conservation or curatorial expertise” and not “in private hands” were; whether “the curatorial and conservational benefits” of the Berlin museums, the beneficiaries “in any way”; and if the Federal government “initiatives” have pointed out, this is the “contribution to the culture of memory” in the countries of origin. With what is happening on the subject of the return of colonial artifacts at the moment between Berlin and Africa and in the near future to happen, all that has nothing to do with it. It is pure sharp is making.

    Now, the Federal government has responded, under the leadership of the state Minister of Culture Monika Grütters and a five-month cooling-off period on the AfD request. Your opinion is sobering, not only because they evade many of the points of a unique information: The share of provenance research in the work of the Museum employees was not “quantifiable”, for the number of possible restitution cases, no conclusive findings were subject to””, the ownership rights to the objects subject to the “test in the individual case”, and the decision on return would be “in the respective device and your carrier.”

    Under the terms of the cultural federalism, which means that out of the 6372 museums in Germany exactly four, including the German Historical Museum, the Federal government as decision-makers – and there, at the DHM in Berlin, is also the only state returns claim from Africa pending; it relates to the column of Cape Cross in Namibia, and their examination, it means “to take”. All other museums are in the ownership of the Federal States and municipalities, partly with the involvement of the Federal government. The Prussian cultural heritage Foundation, for example, to include the museums in the Humboldt-Forum, managed by the Federal government and the States together; and the Board of Trustees, the Federal government has the majority, but against the country he can’t act in it.