German Archaeologist Susanne Osthoff Taken Hostage in Iraq

Susanne_Osthoff_hostage_iraq_small.jpgThe Jawa Report has learned that the name of the German woman shown in a hostage video is Susanne Osthoff. Osthoff is an archaeologist working in Iraq and was abducted with her driver last Friday. Osthoff was presumably working on a dig at the ruins of Isin when she was abducted.

UPDATE: Chad at In the Bullpen e-mails me about a NY Times report that Osthoff had been targetted by Abu Musab al Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq over the summer. If she has been abducted by al Qaeda then her only hope lies in a quick rescue and your prayers.

After news of Ms. Osthoff's kidnapping became known here, a German newspaper, the Neue Osnabrücker Zeiting, reported that Ms. Osthoff had been targeted by extremist groups close to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the summer, when she was living in Mosul in northern Iraq. At the time, the newspaper said, Ms. Osthoff was escorted by American soldiers to Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone. Since then, Ms. Osthoff has been negotiating both with the German Embassy in Baghdad and the local Kurdish-dominated government in the northern town of Arbil to build a German cultural center there, the newspaper said.
Osthoff was active in documenting archealogical sites looted in Iraq after the U.S. led invasion and was widely quoted in the media at the time.

More information about Susan Osthoff below and in the Susan Osthoff archives.

In a 2003 NY Times piece Osthoff says:

"In two weeks, they have ruined all the work that was done over 15 years," said Susanne Osthoff, an archaeologist who worked with a German team that excavated at Isin from the mid-1970's until 1989....

Ms. Osthoff, who returned to Iraq shortly before American forces overthrew the government of Mr. Hussein, was alerted by local villagers who were horrified by the destruction at Isin.

Protected by old friends, Ms. Osthoff waded into the mob of heavily-armed diggers four days ago and then escorted two journalists to the site again on Wednesday.

"They [the looters] are poor people, and they are desperate to make some money," she said today. "But they do not understand what they are doing."

According to ADNKI , Osthoff was abducted with her driver near Ninevah.


The kidnappers sent a video to the broadcaster's offices in Baghdad in which they showed the hostages and threatened to kill the woman if the German government does not suspend every form of cooperation with the Iraqi government.

The video shows a woman and a man blindfolded and on their knees. Nearby are three armed men with their faces covered. The woman has a chain around her neck, with her passport attached to it.

The German Foreign Ministry has confirmed that the archaeologist and her driver have been missing since Friday. "We are doing everything possible to guarantee the safety of the woman," a spokesman said. "We are in contact with all the offices of the government of Iraq to confirm what has happened."

So, archeology is considered "collaboration" by the salaafist jihadis these days?

Hat tip to Dread Pundit Bluto who has more.


Posted by: Rusty at 09:51 AM


1 Michael Moore's "minutemen" strike again. He would be proud.

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at November 29, 2005 10:10 AM

2 I suspect the real reason the Frauline was nabbed was because she was digging for idols. You know how strictly the jihadists interpret their quran! It is simply more convenient to apply some vague political rationale, i.e. kaffirs doing business with true believers, because that is the trend these days. I have no doubt the kaffir coffers will be opened by Germany and a handsome ransom paid for the comely frauline. she'll be back digging and grubbing with security guards on hand before you know it!

Posted by: goesh at November 29, 2005 10:15 AM

3 Look at that wanker in the photo with the rocket launcher...he obviously has little manhood to offer. What's he gonna do, blast their heads off at close range. These pricks really need sorting out.

Posted by: Jester at November 29, 2005 01:18 PM

4 She was abducted in 1900 B.C.?! Man. She's been held a long time.

Posted by: Hucbald at November 29, 2005 01:28 PM

5 greg,

lol! your "shocking and aweing" have been getting progressively less shocking and aweing. I'm not complaining though :-)

Posted by: Jesusland Carlos at November 29, 2005 01:40 PM

6 I know it's not civil to mock the retarded, but in greg's case, I think we can all have a good laugh.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at November 29, 2005 01:59 PM

7 again, a destructive effect of the real Islam. A barbarian gang kidnapping people in the name of Islam? These people are evils.
Same to you Bush.

Posted by: Dan at November 29, 2005 02:55 PM

8 Hey, she has a daughter. What does the father say? Her daughter looks turk. Anyone know the ethnicity of her daughter?

Posted by: jamu at November 29, 2005 04:35 PM

9 I am really interested in why someone would be involved in an archeological dig in the middle of a war zone while the war is going on. Seems as if there should be some way to keep that from happening. Once the war is over, OK dig to your heart's content. While the war is going on then the diggers are just in the way. Guess they got in the way of the other side and got taken. Shame about that!! More of a shame that the US troops will probably have to go after them now as well as the others that have been taken.

Posted by: dick at November 29, 2005 06:36 PM

10 I wonder how many brave islamic pigs in takes to kidnap a woman scienist? Probably a lot.

Posted by: greyrooster at November 29, 2005 06:42 PM

11 According to the news this morning (I live in Berlin):
(a) She was married to a Jordanian.
(b) She has been in Irak since before the first Gulf War. I do not know if that is continuously, or on and off.
(c) She was a fluent speaker of Arabic.
(d) She was warned by the German embassy and US Forces that she was a target, as well as threatened by Al Quada.

It is evil that she was kidnapped. But, her decision to stay was stupid.

Posted by: dmpaulus at November 30, 2005 05:14 AM

12 Susanne Osthoff was a true hero who devoted her life to protecting Iraq's cultural heritage for future generations. As soon as the 2003 invasion ended, the vultures swept in from all over the world, bringing hired mercenaries to intimidate the locals and offering vast sums of money to anyone who would loot Iraq's monuments. Coalition Forces were unable and or unwilling to stop the looting, and have left it to the locals to try their best to save their country's history. Mostly this happens outside the view of international journalists because few journalists are willing to risk their lives travelling to the remote desert sites where the looting is happening. Susanne Osthoff died while working with Iraqis to try to fight off the thieves and to try to get financial and NGO help from Europe to protect their monuments, history and heritage. She was putting her own safety on the line by actually visiting the looted sites -- many of them in places Coalition soldiers are afraid to tread. She was not stupid by any means. She was a dedicated archeologist who looked mortal danger in the face and decided that she was willing to die in order to protect Iraq's history. She has said as much many times over the last few years, in the face of direct threats from the many powerful people who benefit from stealing Iraq's heritage and wanted to stop her from protecting it by any means possible. Osthoff deserves our respect, not our mockery. I pray for her safe return. The world needs more people like her. Iraq certainly needs more people like her. The people who kidnapped her are no friends to Iraq or to Islam. Wittingly or unwittingly, they are serving the interests of rich art dealers and collectors who have used the chaos in Occupied Iraq as cover for pulling off what looks likely to become the biggest archeological theft of the century.

Posted by: jmr at November 30, 2005 08:04 AM

13 Amen to that, Saddam Hussein had done lots of work trying to excavate and recreate Babylon (reportedly because he believed he was a reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar?) it is very important both the sites, and artifacts discovered in Iraq are protected from private collectors, and art thieves.

Posted by: dave at November 30, 2005 01:21 PM

14 Poor woman, hope she returns safely.

Posted by: jonny at December 01, 2005 12:07 AM

15 susanne osthoff?
i know she was warned from many persons to go to iraq.
i know she is only one but where are the people in this world
where will really help the iraq.
i see not much how susanne.

Posted by: winfried at December 02, 2005 01:09 PM

16 Damned idiots , I hate the americans for this war but I hate even more these cowards who take hostages and on top of that a GERMAN woman hostage who had nothing to even do with USA

Posted by: Mohammed at December 04, 2005 02:34 AM

17 I don't understand why people just don't listen? Everyone has been told to leave Iraq or to not travel there. People are just to damn hardheaded to listen! What are people thinking of while they live there or travel there? Oh, there is no chance they can catch me? Thats why people get into situations like this. Staying in Iraq or travel there is basic suicide! All I know is that if I was kidnapped at gun point, I sure as hell wouldn't go! I would rather put up a fight and make them shoot me! I would know where they would be taking me if I allowed them to kidnapp me at gunpoint. Straight to get my head cut off while I'm still alive! I rather have them shoot me because I put up a fight.

Posted by: yvonne at December 11, 2005 03:20 PM

18 We need to just leave and tell the people of Iraq, If you need us and want us to come back, call and leave a message. We will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you.

Posted by: Pat at December 14, 2005 10:23 AM

19 The Germans let a Hamas Terrorist out in exchange for their fraulein. The man took part in a cold blooded killing of an American serviceman. The sentence: 19 years. Under German law the absolute minimum in his circumstances. The fraulein's freedom didn't cost a mark, not a pfennig. It cost Germany what little dignity and valor it had left.

Posted by: Chuck Yung at December 20, 2005 09:54 PM

20 Susanne is back. Hallelujah.
I know she will back in the iraq some people think
this is wrong. I don't think so.
Why this?
She will help the iraq and that the reason why.

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