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#170: Unhappy youngsters, Holocaust remembrance, racist tram trial
And the Postkutsche reader mail
Dear 20 Percent,
Some 18,000 members of the local SPD are voting on whether their party, led by still-mayor Franziska Giffey should form a “Grand” coalition with Kai Wegner’s conservative CDU.
Younger members appear reluctant, uneasy about Wegner’s pro-car policies, like extending the A100 autobahn, and his racist request to know the first names of people arrested during the New Year’s Eve chaos. Then there’s the provocative plan to build housing around edges of Tempelhof.
We’ll find out the result of the internal party vote Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, from tomorrow (Wednesday), around a 1,000 climate activists will be blocking and glueing themselves to streets, causing havoc for drivers across the city centre.
Simply put, a lot of younger Berliners ain’t happy with the conservative, law ‘n’ order, but let’s-not-piss-off-drivers approach of Wegner/Giffey.
TL;DR: Our potential CDU mayor = non-stop protests! Could be fun.
P.S. Check out our reader mail — and our answer — below. Do you have questions about why things are the way they are? Let us know and we’ll try to find an answer. And while you’re waiting for an answer, you can toss us a few euros over on out Patreon. We appreciate it. You can also buy a mug!
Racist tram thugs on trial
The trial of six people accused of verbally and physically attacking teenager Dilan S. at a tram stop in Prenzlauer Berg in early 2022 began at a court in Tiergarten on Monday, taz reports. Two of the alleged perpetrators didn’t show up. According to witnesses, the accused kicked Dilan, subjected her to racist insults and pulled her hair. Police initially believed the accused when they said they had confronted the 17-year-old because she was not wearing a mask, but Dilan contested that version of the story in a viral Instagram post composed from her hospital bed following the attack.
Holocaust remembered in Sachsenhausen
The Israeli Embassy in Berlin is commemorating the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Day Yom HaShoah at the former Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg Friday. Several survivors are expected to attend, along with Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor and German justice minister Marco Buschmann (FDP). Prosor and Buschmann will light candles at the Station Z memorial site, a building that housed a gas chamber and execution site. It was named after the last letter of the alphabet in reference to the end of prisoners’ lives.
The two Berliners who parked a destroyed Russian tank in front of the Russian Embassy in Berlin at the end of February are being fined €806 by Bezirksamt Mitte. Enno Lenze and Wieland Giebel are being billed for the “special use” of 43 square metres of street space. “We are fed up with the district. We'll just pay,” Giebel, founder and director of the Berlin Story Bunker museum, told rbb. Odd how quickly a protest piece gets a fine but SUVs double-parked on bike lanes don’t even get a stern look.
People paying too much to plant peonies
Renting is just ridiculous in Berlin. A 150-meter line for an apartment showing. A complex fraud involving a pregnancy test. And renters of urban garden allotments (Schrebergärten) asking for up to €80,000 for someone to take over their lease, ostensibly for buildings and equipment that will be left on the parcel (known as Abstand payments, like that kitchen you paid the previous tenant for). But the prices often exceed the actual value and violate local regulations, and the parcels are supposed to be divvied up according to wait lists, not by previous renters, RBB reports. Are you on a list to get a garden in Berlin? You’re just one of 19,000 waiting for 71,000 spots.
Kottbusser Tor, Oranienburger Tor, Schleßisches Tor … a few of the 14 gates in Berlin's long-gone customs wall live on in the names of transit stations. Between 1737 and 1860, taxes were levied on goods entering and leaving the city via the, if you’ll forgive our Denglisch, Tors.
📫Postkutsche (mail coach):
Reader Connie asked:
Is Berlin going to allow restaurants to take over parking spots for outdoor dining again this summer? I know it was popular in Xberg/F'schain, but haven't seen any news about it happening again this year.
And we have the answer: No! A spokesperson for Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg told us the “xhain-terraces” were part of the corona distancing regulations and expired on Halloween last year. He said they’re looking at ways bars and restaurants might be able to do something similar in the future but that it would take a law change.
Side note: The German bureaucrat term for parked cars is “ruhender Verkehr” — resting traffic.
Send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below (as Connie did)!