Neues Museum, Museum Island, Berlin
“WHAT THE GERMAN people have, they keep,” Adolf Hitler famously responded when Egyptian authorities suggested that the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti in Berlin ought to be returned to Cairo.
I was standing among other admiring visitors in front of the bust of the iconic queen in a long gallery at the north cupola of the Neues Museum, when I recalled the Fuehrer’s response. The suggestions from the Egyptian authorities had risen to the level of rancorous clamour in recent years, yet there were still no signs that Nefertiti was going back to Egypt anytime soon. The queen’s image was everywhere, on postcards, in books and on publicity posters. Nefertiti had the pulling power of a superstar.
Was it James Bond’s creator Ian Fleming who’d remarked that the ancient queen of Egypt could make an entrance today in a designer gown and give the beautiful people a run for their money?
I never thought I’d agree with Hitler on any subject, I reflected, shaking my head in wonder at her beauty. The timeless elegance, lovely neck and airborne eyebrows produced a powerful effect on the beholder. If I had Nefertiti I wouldn’t part with her either…
Excerpt from 'The Ibis Apocalypse', archaeological thriller, Amazon Kindle