Carl Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg
By Contested Histories Initiative •
The zoo Tierpark Hagenbeck in Hamburg, Germany, was founded in 1907 by Carl Hagenbeck, a trader of wild animals who was notable for his exhibitions of people of colour in Völkerschauen or ‘human zoos’. Since 2020, petitioners and protestors have been demanding a critical reexamination of Hagenbeck’s legacy, calling for the removal of a statue of Hagenbeck from the zoo’s entrance; the installation of a memorial; and the renaming of the street Carl-Hagenbeck-Straße in Stendal, Saxony-Anhalt. This case study explores the role of activists and members of the public in generating and shaping the ongoing debate while also pointing to similar controversies to demonstrate how colonial legacies have been dealt with elsewhere in Germany.