Friday, 5 November 2021, Berlin, Representation of Saxony-Anhalt to the German Federation: The state of Saxony-Anhalt returned cultural objects to Guatemala and Mexico at its state representation in Berlin. According to information provided by the former owner, the 13 artefacts (figurines, vases, plates and parts) were discovered on a plot of land in Klötze in the Altmark region. They date from around 250 to 850 AD and were probably sold by looters.
On the occasion of the handover, Premier Dr. Reiner Haseloff said as per statement below: “Illegal trade in cultural assets must be stopped and combated. It must not be profitable. Today’s handover is also intended to raise public awareness of this important issue. We must be aware of our responsibility to society as a whole. For the find has also shown: looted art is a topic that concerns us all; not only academics and the feuilletons. Looted artefacts and colonial looted goods are not only in museums and archives. They are sometimes also found in our basements and attics.”
Jorge Alfredo Lemcke Arevalo, Ambassador of the Republic of Guatemala, elaborated: “In 1945, the State of Guatemala began to regulate in its supreme law the prohibition of the export of all those goods that constitute its cultural heritage, its cultural property, and to protect and preserve them in the name of the State. Special recognition is due to those who were in possession of these artefacts and decided to return them voluntarily. This gives us hope that other owners of similar pieces in private collections can also follow this path.”
The Mexican Ambassador, Francisco Quiroga, emphasised: “Mexico is deeply indebted to the authorities of Saxony-Anhalt for their commitment to the protection and preservation of cultural assets. These goods are of great symbolic and cultural importance for the identity and history of our countries. Today’s handover of the two pieces by Premier Dr. Haseloff is an outstanding example for other governments in Germany and throughout the world. It has a groundbreaking character for all those who trade in and buy these goods: a country’s cultural heritage is not for sale. Let’s put a stop to the trade in cultural goods, because this is the only way to stop illegal transactions, theft and looting!”
For further information:
Saxony-Anhalt State Chancellery: https://www.sachsen-anhalt.de/bs/pressemitteilungen/?no_cache=1&tx_tsarssinclude_pi1%5Buid%5D=237333&tx_tsarssinclude_pi1%5Baction%5D=single&tx_tsarssinclude_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=Static&cHash=cf2a37ed2d3294a3983fe552178db422