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Re-individualising human remains from Namibia

Colonialism, grave robbery and intellectual history

Larissa Förster, Dag Henrichsen, Holger Stoecker and Hans Axasi╪Eichab

In 1885, the Berlin pathologist Rudolf Virchow presented three human skeletons from the colony of German South West Africa to the Berlin Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory. The remains had been looted from a grave by a young German scientist, Waldemar Belck, who was a member of the second Lüderitz expedition and took part in the occupation of colonial territory. In an attempt to re-individualise and re-humanise these human remains, which were anonymised in the course of their appropriation by Western science, the authors consult not only the colonial archive, but also contemporary oral history in Namibia. This allows for a detailed reconstruction of the social and political contexts of the deaths of the three men, named Jacobus Hendrick, Jacobus !Garisib and Oantab, and of Belck’s grave robbery, for an analysis of how the remains were turned into scientific objects by German science and institutions, as well as for an establishment of topographical and genealogical links with the Namibian present. Based on these findings, claims for the restitution of African human remains from German institutions cannot any longer be regarded as a contemporary phenomenon only but must be understood as part of an African tradition of resistance against Western colonial and scientific practices.

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The return of Herero and Nama bones from Germany

The victims' struggle for recognition and recurring genocide memories in Namibia

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Vilho Amukwaya Shigwedha

discourse of the Herero–​Nama genocide has mainly focused on the politics of the victims’ ‘unsettled memory’ and the legacy of ‘embedded history’ between Namibia and Germany: apology, restitution and redress for the victims.5 However, none of the existing literature has explored the tension and divide that the return of the skulls has ­created between the local customary rites, on the one hand, and the political morality of the Namibian and German governments on the other. In particular, difficulties emanating from the disappointment of the Namibian delegation (which will

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Janet Wolff

was soon appointed Production Manager and was able to hold on to this job for a few years. The deterioration of my personal, social and public living conditions came so slowly, in little stages, that it was hardly noticeable. Naturally, thoughts of emigration must have occurred to me from the very beginning, but the changes seemed remote. Aliens Identity cards for Josef and Bertha Wolff, March 1939 [ 50 ] Section of restitution claim form, 1951 Damaged photographs of Rosa and Heinrich Wolff Austerity baby The receipt, in August 1933, of a ‘friendly letter

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David Bruce MacDonald

goals of ethnic nationalist leaders in Serbia and Croatia, seeking to promote revised images of their respective histories. This book explores the rather strange predicament Western observers encountered when trying to understand the collapse of Yugoslavia. Seven distinct national groups, each with their own religious traditions, colonial history, and cultural trappings, had lived in relative peace since 1945. Now I 1 2441Introduction 16/10/02 8:02 am Page 2 Introduction four of these sought to advance the same claim – that they were victims of the first

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‘When will the burning start here?’

The Catholic challenge during the Thirty Years’ War

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Alison Rowlands

4 ‘When will the burning start here?’: the Catholic challenge during the Thirty Years’ War The authorities in Rothenburg were spared another problematic encounter with a self-confessed child-witch until 1627, when thirteen-year-old Margaretha Hörber from the hinterland village of Gebsattel began claiming that she had been seduced into witchcraft and taken to witches’ dances by older women. As befitted a teenager, her story was more detailed than that told by six-year-old Hans Gackstatt in 1587, particularly in terms of her descriptions of the witches’ dance and

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Introduction

Corpses and mass violence: an inventory of the unthinkable

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Élisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus

, massacres which continually widen our notions of these human catastrophes. Asia, for instance, has been scarred not only by the Great Chinese Famine, which, according to some estimates, claimed up to 40 million victims during the policy of the ‘Great Leap Forward’,5 but also by the Cambodian genocide, which resulted in 1.5 million deaths between 1975 and 1979,6 along with the mass violence committed in Indonesia under the Suharto regime, which has to be considered in terms of both its political and its ethnic character.7 HRMV.indb 1 01/09/2014 17:28:32 2  Élisabeth

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Corpses of atonement

The discovery, commemoration and reinterment of eleven Alsatian victims of Nazi terror, 1947– 52

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Devlin M. Scofield

Adenauer first signalled his government’s willingness to compensate Jewish victims.8 On 27 September 1951, Adenauer announced, ‘In the name of the German people, however, unspeakable crimes were committed which require moral and material restitution [Wiedergutmachung]’.9 This readiness to offer financial restitution to the Jewish survivors of the genocide was codified by the Luxembourg Agreement with Israel in 1952. In a gesture of goodwill and in an effort to reconcile themselves with their Western European neighbours, the West German government would also subsequently

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Jerry Weinberger

’s concerns in telling this story is to establish the veracity of miracles. The Bensalemites, although they approach the pillar as a heavenly sign, must have been sensitive to a significant problem for believers, which is the sceptics’ claim that miracles can be faked or explained away as misunderstood natural phenomena. The Bensalemites’ answer is to rely not just on the internal evidence of the experience of faith, but also on the power of science to determine that an apparent miracle is not a natural, artificial, or illusory or deceitful event. This reliance Price_06_Ch

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Sabine Clarke

projects that can be partial and even erroneous in its claims. By the 1950s, the priority for most governments, academics and agencies concerned with the advancement of low-income countries was identifying the necessary incentives for industrialisation. In exploring the inspiration for such measures, scholars have focused on models provided by economists such as W. Arthur Lewis, Raul Prebisch and W. W. Rostow. 3 In contrast, this account shows how ideas about industrial development were worked out in a period before the advent of famous theoretical interventions such as

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Death and dismemberment

The bodyand counter-revolutionary warfare inapartheid South Africa

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Nicky Rousseau

-humanizing gesture.38 But were the bodies of those claimed to be terrorists reduced to mere animal matter or dead meat? Here, perhaps ironically, by staging such incidents as the deaths of ‘terrorists’ who had blown themselves up, the security police attached an identity that remained essentially human, part of a political community, even if, for some, they may have been regarded as inhumane. Indeed, what has been termed here as the routine bureaucracy of death served only to reinforce the fact that these were humans. Thus, for instance, the pieces of flesh from blown-up bodies