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Public Information Event to Be Hosted by Freie Universität Berlin, Max Planck Society, and Berlin State Monuments Office to Address Human Remains Found on Campus of Freie Universität Berlin

Online Event on February 23, 2021, at 3 p.m.

№ 021/2021 from Feb 05, 2021

A public information event providing an update about human remains found on the grounds of Freie Universität in 2014 and the following years will be held online on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. Journalists as well as members of the public are cordially invited to attend. Please note that the event will take place in German. Advance registration is requested by February 18: www.fu-berlin.de/presse/informationen/PM_info-va-knochenfunde. Access data for the event will be sent by email no later than the day before the event. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and join discussions. The event will be moderated by the television host and journalist, Ms. Shelly Kupferberg.

In 2014 human skeletal parts and bone fragments were found during construction work on the outdoor area of the University Library of Freie Universität Berlin, in the vicinity of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society was the predessor of the Max Planck Society. For this reason, Freie Universität Berlin and the Max Planck Society, in cooperation with the Berlin State Monuments Office (Landesdenkmalamt Berlin), jointly initiated archaeological excavations that were carried out in 2015 and 2016. Experts at Freie Universität Berlin, supported by a working group set up by Freie Universität Berlin, the Berlin State Monuments Office, and the Max Planck Society, examined the remains. Their investigations have now been concluded. Their findings as well as considerations for how to handle the human remains will be presented at the information event.

The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics housed medical-ethnological collections of various types. Many had colonial origins. Among other things, it provided a “scientific” legitimation for National Socialist racial policy. In the past few years there have been numerous national and international discussions about the remains, both in the media and among experts. They were discussed, for example, at a symposium at the Yad Vashem memorial center in Jerusalem. The Central Council of Jews in Germany and the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma were involved in the deliberations on how to deal with the remains.


Prof. Dr. Günter M. Ziegler, President, Freie Universität Berlin

Zwischen „Schädelmesserei“ und „Phänogenetik“. Das Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, menschliche Erblehre und Eugenik (KWI-A) im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft und Politik, 1927–1945
Prof. Dr. Hans-Walter Schmuhl, Universität Bielefeld

Archäologische Grabungen, Skelettteile von Menschen und Tierknochenfunde am KWI-A
Prof. Dr. Susan Pollock, Freie Universität Berlin

Überlegungen und Vorschläge zum weiteren Umgang mit den menschlichen Skelettteilen
Prof. Dr. Günter M. Ziegler, President, Freie Universität Berlin

Ausblick: Kurzvorstellung des Projekts „Geschichte der Ihnestraße 22“
Dr. Manuela Bauche, Freie Universität Berlin


Please register by February 18 to participate in the event. (Please note: it will take place in German):


Further Information


Please address queries about the event to: presse@fu-berlin.de.