SPAIN has asked for the return of wartime gifts it sent to the Nazis intended to prove the ‘Aryan ancestry’ of Germany and Spain.
Dictator Francisco Franco gave several Visigoth artefacts to SS chief Heinrich Himmler, who had been tasked with proving the superiority of the Aryan race.
The gifts, presented to the Nazis following Himmler’s visit in 1940, included gold and bronze cups, necklaces and human remains that had been excavated from a Visigoth necropolis near Segovia.
Visigoths were German tribesmen who had conquered the Iberian peninsula between the 5th and 8th centuries.
The gifts were a bid by Franco and archaeologist Julio Martinez Santa-Olalla to prove the tribesmen’s presence in Spain, which would in turn prove that Spaniards shared the Germans Aryan heritage, making them, too, ‘superior to all other races’.
Spain wants to display the gifts at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
Sergio Vidal, head of medieval antiquities at the National Archaeological Museum, said: “Dozens of pieces were sent to Germany and they never returned. Now we are trying to find evidence to show that the material was sent to Germany only on a temporary basis.”