Germany to return Cape Cross column to Namibia


Since 1953, the Cape Cross Column – a stone column with a heraldic motive and a cross on top – has been part of the collection of the former East German Museum of German History in Berlin.

The museum was absorbed into the German Historical Museum after reunification.

On Thursday, the museum’s advisory board agreed to a proposal by Museum President Raphael Gross to return the column, dpa learned.

As the proposal is spearheaded by the Berlin regional government’s Minister of State for Culture Monika Gruetters, this approval was considered a formality.

The museum said the comprehensive research into the column’s provenance was a key factor in its decision.

A symposium in 2018 had discussed the history of the pillar and the moral responsibility of Germany for dealing with the country’s colonial past.

The museum said earlier it acknowledged the “outstanding significance which an artefact like this pillar has for the people of Namibia and which special contribution it can make on site in the future to understanding Namibia’s history.”

The column of Cape Cross was erected in 1486 by the Portuguese navigator Diogo Cao as a marker with Portuguese and Latin inscriptions on the coastal strip of what is today Namibia.