After several months of preparation, the “No Humboldt 21!” campaign went online in June 2013 – just in time for the laying of the foundation stone for the Humboldt Forum in Berlin Castle. The aim of the initiative of various NGOs, which already received broad civil society support for their resolution at that time, was to put a stop to the construction of the post-colonial prestige project of the Federal Republic of Germany, which would enable a broad public debate on its meaning and nature.
Although the moratorium put forward by the campaign was not followed and enforced by the foundation until today, a broad cultural-political discussion on the issues it raised has developed: Concretely: who owns cultural artefacts acquired in colonial contexts? Do they belong in the reconstructed palace of a family of former slave traders and colonial rulers? What kind of science does the Humboldt Forum glorify? Why are non-European cultural treasures in the Humboldt Forum not put beside European or Europeanised art, but rather separated from them? And finally: how cynical is the assertion that cultural objects in the Humboldt Forum can be visited and admired at any time by the descendants of their creators?
In preparation for the first return of human remains from Namibia by the Berlin Charité, the action alliance “No Amnesty on Genocide!” was founded in early summer 2011. Since it was foreseeable that the Federal Government would lack the political will, the original goal of the participating activists* and organisations was to offer the arriving Ovaherero and Nama a respectful reception and to provide their demand for recognition, apology and compensation for the genocide 1904-08 in Germany as broad a public as possible. Since then our alliance has been in regular and friendly exchange with the non-governmental Herero and Nama associations.