tv Arts and Culture - News Deutsche Welle January 31, 2019 10:45pm-11:01pm CET
when i've been in november the major museum venue is one of the most hotly debated construction projects here in germany my colleague david leavitt's has been following the story welcome david first of all. tell us about the controversy surrounding the building it's. ok robin brace yourself for a little bit of time travel here because the home board form is partially a reconstruction of the size of the baroque city palace of the german emperor is located at the heart of berlin now the allies did bomb it in world war two it could have been saved but no socialist east germany had other plans they tore it down and put up the palace of the republic in its place that's their parliament and cultural center hideous yes but also kind of great in its own way i think. it is you are right with hideous well you know a lot of people were still yes it is but still
a lot of people were sad when it got torn down to put up this new version of the city palace because the point is why create a historical replica. of a building instead of maintaining an actual historic building ok but abouts all done and dusted this forum is well underway in the replica or i should say in the image of the kaiser's palace and now the controversy is of course it's going to house two museum collections many of the objects in them were obtained under the kaiser and some pretty dubious circumstances indeed they were and this whole thing . was taken from the african countries is the big debate right now here in germany and while this new museum come to know. and a lot of facts from african countries and some half a million objects are housed in bunnings ethnological collections many of them the region one thousand informant german colony. that collects. due to move into the
home boat foreign currently nearing completion in the center of berlin but a controversial issue was cast a shadow over the opening in twenty seventeen french art historian benedix of war raised some unwelcome questions she asked where did the objects in the collections come from. were they looted. is their history a bloody one these questions shine a spotlight on a non repressed historical chapter germany's colonial past. investments in the news iyam snow pretty well what they have all we at universities but the broader public didn't know that and i thought that wasn't right but now the debate has started and everyone knows that these collections have a difficult history behind them and i think that has resulted in an important step forward and. what are the prussian cultural heritage foundation has been researching the provenance of its collections for some time but now it's
taking an even closer look the return of individual objects attracts a lot of media attention. that's because there is growing awareness that local populations in the former colonies were exploited robbed and murdered cultural heritage was often taken by force. oftentimes i think we have to deal with this issue openly and transparently and face up to our past it's a unique opportunity for the humble foreign we can only find a new way into the future by working together jointly with the countries and peoples of origin and by reappraising our past together. and it's no longer possible to simply display looted art works in european museums without explaining the greater context the exhibitions out there who will have to reflect that.
interesting david but i mean many of these objects have been in collections for well over a century why's it all come to the head now well certainly building a new museum for hundreds of millions of euros is a great opportunity to take a closer look here berlin actually has some of the richest collections in the world but there are a lot of unanswered questions about object origins and until recently there just wasn't public pressure to get these questions answered that has really changed though since two thousand and seventeen and that's when france's president in mind when michael promised to return to work from france to former french colonies in africa since then the pressure has been on across europe to consider returning objects to former colonies yeah but when we talk about colonies you tend to think of britain france belgium maybe the netherlands but really think about germany because germany just wasn't as good and as successful at columbia colonizing other countries as some of these other colonial powers germany did have for colonies in
africa between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries it was a relatively brief period but a very brutal one and to create construction of this new museum has sort of by surprise and by accident finally opened a dialogue about that period of the thousand objects from africa that are set to go into this new museum space are under particular scrutiny because of germany's colonial history including this throne from from present day cameroon this was officially a gift from a local king so the german kaiser but you know can you really give a gift freely to your colonial overlord now i'm talking about another former german colony tanzania some good has come there of this debate researchers from the home form from the new home but far more are working closely with researchers there to figure out how some objects from that part of the world came to be in this part of well it's good you mention that because d.w. went to find out more about that very subject so that some of the. a plate with
a mysterious inscription it ended up in berlin as water and beauty in one thousand nine hundred six but its history wasn't revealed until one hundred twenty years later. the photos and showed photos describes near kilwa near where this object had been looted at the time it was in fact a crown sewer which clearly identified it as a protective talisman and that is i'm sure it's in an talisman. designed to protect and insight possibly in the battle against the then colonial power germany scholars an artist from tanzania and germany cooperated to study the origins of objects that had wound up in ethnological collections as spoils of war it was a painstaking and painful process in that most of these objects so. that the information about the biography identity.
of those objects. once the capital of german east africa today the structures built by the german colonial masters a decaying this is where anyone who resisted the occupiers was hanged as many as three hundred thousand tanzanians were killed in the rebellion. there is little evidence of the fight against the german colonial rule is that the national museum in dar es salaam so far the tanzanian government has not filed a claim for restitution but historians would like to see objects like the talisman plate returned to tanzania i think it took me a milestone to. academia shelves and experts because now they will have some of the tangible heritage tangible things to do research on and again this is the time for africa and forced. tracing their own
history. a step in that direction has been made the findings of the african participants in the lab will full on part of the tanzania collection at the home both foreign. now a lot of those objects will actually be going back to tanzania to be displayed there and we've heard from museum authorities here in berlin that they hope that some of those objects will stay in tanzania in the end though it's a political decision that is up to germany's leaders and i can see that this is going to run i have no time you'll be sitting here talking about it again very soon david leavitt's thank you very much. successful series knight group just back for a second season is an experimental show when two musicians come together in an intimate relaxed atmosphere and try to mix their music. well jav and groove check this.
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