Germany's colonial history has recently been the subject of intense debate. It is about colonial street names, the holdings of museums and the question of cultural heritage in general. The focus is on former colonies in Africa such as today's Tanzania and Namibia. But the perspective must be broadened both in time and in space. German colonialism did not only begin in 1884 with the Berlin Congo Conference, but already in the early 16th century with the activities of the Fugger and Welser trading houses in Latin America. And it by no means only took place beyond the salt water. Germany's expansionary efforts towards the East (Poland) as well as towards Southeast Europe and the Ottoman Empire also had a colonial or imperial dimension. Mark Terkessidis, a renowned migration and racism researcher, suggests a broader framework for the history of German colonialism. Only in this way will Germany's position in the world and current migration and flight movements become comprehensible. In a globalised society, the space of memory must be democratically expanded.
Terkessidis is a freelance author and has written for the taz, Tagesspiegel, Die Zeit and Süddeutsche Zeitung, among others, as well as writing radio reports for Deutschlandfunk and presenting them on WDR radio. He was educated on the banality of racism and taught at the universities of Cologne, Rotterdam and St. Gallen. His most recent publications are Interkultur (2010), Kollaboration (2015) and Nach der Flucht (2017).