BERLIN (AP) – Germany is returning hundreds of artifacts known as the Benin Bronzes that were mostly looted from West Africa by a British colonial expedition and subsequently sold to collections around the world, including German museums, authorities said Friday.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas welcomed a deal reached with museums and authorities in Nigeria to work on a restitution plan for a substantial number of artifacts, calling it a “turning point in dealing with our colonial history.”
Germany´s minister for culture, Monika Gruetters, said the Benin Bronzes were a key test for the way the country deals with its colonial past.
“We are confronting our historic and moral responsibility,” she said.
Gruetters said the goal is to contribute to “understanding and reconciliation” with the descendants of those whose cultural treasures were stolen in colonial times. The first returns are planned for next year, she said.
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