“We don’t return, we don’t lend the Parthenon Marbles, Greece is not the legitimate owner,” said Hartwig Fischer, German historian and Director of the British Museum since 2016. Fischer has been actively involved in the debate over the last few years on the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, defending the Museum’s steady position that the Sculptures should remain in London.
In an exclusive interview with daily Ta Nea, Fischer claimed that the Parthenon Marbles belong to the trustees of the British Museum.
“The Marbles will not permanently return to Greece,” he said ruling out the possibility of an “indefinite lending, if Greece does not accept that they belong to the Britons.”
Fished expressed understanding that “the Greeks have a special and passionate relationship with this part of their cultural heritage and want to see all the Parthenon sculptures in Athens.”
He stresses that the British Museum lends thousands of objects each year to other museums, including the Acropolis Museum, providing that they acknowledge the ownership of these objects.
As for the view that Greece is the legitimate owner of the Parthenon Marbles, Fischer said “I would not accept it. The objects of the British Museum’s collections are under the ownership of the museum’s commissioners and trustees.”