Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#116: What Berliners think of cheap public transport
Plus the latest police scandal(s) and corona kooks corona kooking and the day the DDR became a thing
Hey 20 Percent!
When you’ve been a journalist for awhile in one spot, you get to witness some pretty impressive about-faces. Years ago I wrote about Deutsche Bank starting an online bank and folding in its retail banking business (the kind of bank you and I use). The idea was that people would just bank online and their hope was to eventually sell shares in the online bank and become even more rich. This was 2002 and Deutsche Bank said the cost for creating the company was €45 million.
Something like 12 years later Deutsche Bank gave up on the — admittedly — good idea because of a lack of interest. Germans, we know, are digitally shy, especially when it comes to money. How much did it cost to re-integrate the retail bank into the bank bank? Right: €45 million.
Oh did I have a good chuckle.
And I had a bit of deja vu this week when I saw an RBB report that one of Berlin’s public property companies was adding stories to East German Plattenbauten (modular apartment buildings) in Berlin Buch to make more apartments — because back when Deutsche Bank was creating its online bank, a friend of mine was a construction foreman in Hohenschönhausen knocking floors off of Plattenbauten because they were empty and a nuisance since no one was going to be moving in any time soon.
This time I didn’t laugh quite as much though I do still sometimes wonder at how much Berlin has changed (no she’s not the construction foreman this time around).
In any case, on to the news (and have a good weekend)!
Berlin corona and other stats for Friday, October 7 (compared with last Saturday because of the holiday)
New cases in one day: 3,165 (2,554 Saturday)
Total deaths: 4,843 (+9 over Saturday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 330.6 (289.6 Saturday)
🔴7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 11.4 (10.69 Saturday)
🟢 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 4.6% (5.6% Saturday, back to green! 😎)
🟢Days FC Union Berlin has led the Männer-Bundesliga: 26
🟡 Turbine Potsdam’s ranking in the Frauen-Bundesliga: 10
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Cheap public transport is popular, yo!
Surprising no one, the €29 AB ticket is proving extremely popular with 100,000 already sold by the BVG since sales started in late September. An additional 10,000 have been peddled by S-Bahn Berlin, according to the Morgenpost. BVG usually sells just between 5,000 and 7,000 new subscriptions per month. While releasing the figures, Berlin’s public transport authority said five-person teams of security personnel have also been enforcing mask regulations — they previously only checked for masks in addition to their usual security duties. Federal politicians are still promising a cheap nationwide ticket for early 2023 but no details yet. Quick note: It’s already possible to cancel your subscription and have it expire at the end of December rather than risk having it automatically extended to January, when you would have to pay full price again.
Police (again) accused of racism, brutality
An immigrant support organization is accusing the Berlin police of systemic racism and brutality after a clash with officers three weeks ago lead to a black man’s death. The 64-year-old was supposed to be transferred to a hospital from a Spandau care home for the psychologically disabled with the help of a doctor and three officers, according to the non-profit ReachOut. When he resisted, the officers took him to the ground and cuffed him — he was allegedly bleeding from the face and then lost consciousness as 13 additional officers arrived to provide backup. He fell into a coma after being resuscitated and then died Thursday at Charité hospital. The police are investigating the incident, according to Tagesspiegel.
Police (again) caught buying drugs
Police officers Wednesday went to arrest a man who had just exited a cocaine taxi on Unter den Linden only to discover the 47-year-old buyer was one of their own, according to RBB24. The suspect handed over a container supposedly containing blow — they then searched his office but found no further illicit substances. The female dealer was also arrested and the police union is already opening a backdoor for the officer to get out of the charges — they said an investigation will show if he had “professional reasons” for the buy.
Threatening corona letters to teachers
Sometimes I wonder why people even bother being teachers in Berlin: excessive class sizes, faulty infrastructure and now threatening letters from corona crackpots. 34 letters were sent to schools threatening teachers with violence if they enforce corona-prevention measures such as masks and testing in schools. They were also accused of being “corona Nazis”, according to RBB24. The letters primarily arrived at schools in Neukölln and were hand-written. Cops are investigating.
(Before we move on to what is a pretty interesting factoid, we’d like to remind you that we have a Patreon!)
The provisional East German government on this day in 1949 founded the Deutsche Demokratische Republik and made itself — wait for it — the provisional East German government. October 7 was from then on celebrated as Republic Day in East Germany until East Germany was no more.
A quick note from reader C.;
I'm a huge fan of you and your work and have supported it from day 1. But I'm a bit shocked that you skipped discussing the worldwide protests that happened this weekend to support the women and men of Iran. There were thousands protesting in Berlin this Saturday and many on Sunday in support of feminism and queer rights.
I hope you can look up what's happening in Iran if you haven't already and break the silence that many media companies like MSNBC and Fox News had this week.
And from Ali, who wants one of those card-sized residency permits:
About those eID cards: The last time my US passport expired, I had to go to a Burgeramt to get my residency permit (I have permanent residency) updated because the Auslanderbehorde didn't have any appointments for what I needed for another 10 months. So the Burgeramt took away my ID card permit, since it was expired, but they did not issue cards at that time, in 2017. So I got the sticker in my passport. Now that those ID cards are being issued, I can't actually get one until my passport expires, in 2027. Fun times. (Sorry about all the missing Umlauts.)
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