Repatriation of the remains of Klaas and Trooi

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13 Apr 2012

The Department of Arts and Culture is in the process of returning the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienar from Vienna, Austria. Klaas and his wife Trooi were exhumed from their graves by an Austrian Anthropologist Rudolf Poch in 1909 and illegally taken to Austria.  At the time of exhumation; Poch claimed to be doing research on Dwarfism. Klaas and Trooi Pienaar were not the only people whose bodies were stolen by this anthropologist. In addition to human remains, he also stole san rock paintings.

For over four years, the South African government has been negotiating the return of the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar, as well as other artifacts that were taken by Poch. The South African government, led by the Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Joe Phaahla, will lead a delegation to Austria on 16 April to fetch the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar. The delegation will return to South Africa on 20 April 2012. A press conference is planned on arrival.

The delegation will arrive with the remains of Klaas and Trooi Pienaar at OR Tambo on 20 April 2012.  In accordance with custom, community representatives will receive the remains from the plane and take them to a waiting hearse. Media will be afforded a photo opportunity as the delegation and the remains alight from the plane aircraft. Deputy Minister Phaahla will immediately brief the media inside the airport about trip and burial arrangements. Full details of arrival time and media briefing will released in due course.

Enquiries: Mr. Mack Lewele at 082 450 5076 / 012 331 3083 / Mack.Lewele@dac.gov.za