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"Wilhelm, they are not pleasant housemates!", said Erna Gretzer when she asked her husband to retire the 32 mummies out of her house in 1900. A total of around 28,000 objects were stored in three rooms in Gretzer's house, which served as private exhibition rooms.
In this video work, five German emigrants who have become large landowners in Peru talk to each other: Johannes Gildemeister, Wilhelm Gretzer, Erna Gretzer, Otto Elsner and a guest of honor, the culture patron Arthur Bässler. They meet in northern Peru, where most of them live. The emigrants dedicate themselves to archeology and collecting ancient Peruvian cultural goods in their free time, in addition to agriculture and textile industry. This work illustrates the circumstances under which the objects exhibited in the Humboldt Forum were brought from Peru to Europe.
Who collected them and how?
The conversation between the five Germans is interrupted by a short animation. This is made up of photographic archives from Gildemeister's sugar plantation and points to the resistance of the workers and the consequences of the exploitation and abuse of power in colonial relationships. A sign of this is, for example, an inscription on a clock tower that stood at the entrance of the corresponding sugar mill during Gildemeister's rule. It was "Tace, ora et labora", which means: "Be silent, pray and work".
About the event: Podium Discussion - Restitution & Self-Determination
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