#19: Crap cops, Querdenker mole, corona worries, Humboldt Forum, Alex fire
A podcast recommend and why Vergangenheitsbewältigung should never end.
Hey 20 Percent,
It looks like poor old Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) - well-earned retirement within reach - will have to concern herself with another wave of corona. It could still be a month or two before Olaf Schloz (SPD) takes over the reins. In a rare interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine, Merkel said rising hospitalisation and death rates should “worry all of us.” Germany has seen more than 1,000 Covid deaths over the past two weeks.
While she opposes mandatory vaccinations, the outgoing chancellor said, “the fact that 2 or 3 million Germans over 60 are still unvaccinated makes me very sad, because that could make a difference, both for them personally and for society as a whole.”
Outgoing Berlin mayor Michael Müller (SPD) also worries about the rising hospitalisation rate. “It is mainly unvaccinated people who have to be treated in hospitals with severe cases of the disease. I appeal to all those who have not yet been vaccinated to take up this offer. We have a good vaccination rate, but it is not enough to stop the pandemic, especially in the colder months.” He appealed to health and care workers to get booster jabs.
Right now, it feels like we’re in Covid purgatory: we have enough freedom to get a taste of the end of the pandemic but, at the same time, we’re feeling dread about being potentially thrown back into another depressing winter shut down. If you’re not vaxxed, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Whatever happens, 20 Percent Berlin is here every Tuesday and Friday to help you make some sense of this mess.
Below: more Berlin news, not all of it encouraging. But at least Christmas markets are back!
The Berlin corona stats for Tuesday, November 2
Fully vaccinated: 66.8% (66.5% Friday)
New cases in one day: 1,500 (1,073 Friday)
Total deaths: 3,709 (+9 over Friday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 156.1 (137.9 Friday)
🟢 7-day hospitalisation incidence (also per 100,000): 3.8 (3.9 Friday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 11.2% (10.9% Friday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Cops work out at the Holocaust memorial
The tacky selfies by tourists are bad enough. But this takes the cake. A video obtained by BZ shows Berlin police officers doing push-ups at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The cops in question belong to precinct 26 in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf and were in Mitte to police a demo in late May this year. Police union GdP reacted with a statement: “The behavior of our colleagues cannot be surpassed in terms of tastelessness. The Holocaust memorial is not an adventure playground. This inexplicable action belittles the genocide of millions of people and tramples on the values for which our Berlin police stand.” Only recently were far-right chat groups uncovered within the Berlin force.
Hildmann tipped off by justice department worker
The rot isn’t limited to the police. At the end of 2020, Attila Hildmann - Berlin’s celebrity anti-semite, conspiracy nut and cookbook author - left Germany for Turkey to evade prosecution on multiple charges such as inciting racial hatred. Broadcaster ARD has revealed that a woman working in the state prosecutor’s IT office known only as M. passed on confidential information regarding the criminal investigation to the culprit. It was also revealed that M. was a member of the Querdenker movement (which believe corona is a hoax or at least overdone) and had visited Hildmann in Turkey.
Humboldt Forum funded by far-right banker?
Continuing in a smiliar vein, it’s come out that one of the main private donors of the rebuilt city palace, aka Humboldt Forum, was known for his far-right views and was considered a Holocaust denier by Germany’s Central Council for Jews in Germany. Ehrhardt Bödecker, a former executive at Berlin’s Weberbank who died in 2016, had said in interviews that Germany's “national self-confidence” was being undermined by the critical politics of remembrance, that the country was suffering from an alleged “Talmudic never forget” mentality, and that Germans were subjected to national “brainwashing” by the Allies after the Second World War. A relief and an inscription in a passageway in the palace honor Bödecker and his wife Anneliese’s financial contribution. In a letter to Berliner Zeitung, the Bödeckers’ daughter-in-law Elvira Tasbach defends Bödecker, writing that he might have been “argumentative, often polemical, sometimes unbearably provocative” but was no right-wing extremist. Germany: where the Vergangenheitsbewältigung never ends.
Meta logo almost identical to Kreuzberg start-up's
Facebook makes money off of everyone else’s content so it’s no surprise their new logo isn’t exactly original. Berlin migraine treatment app M-sense went viral after its makers pointed out that Facebook virtually copied their logo for its Meta rebrand. The smaller company twisted a knife in Meta’s data privacy wounds and reaped plenty of social media love for it. M-sense’s Diana Hagenberg says the Kreuzberg outfit will be re-designing its logo as it doesn’t want to be associated with Zuck’s data-devouring behemoth.
A 26-year-old man was arrested Sunday on allegations that he started a fire in Galeria Kaufhof department store on Alexanderplatz. The suspect allegedly set products alight on the fourth floor and injured a man with a burning blanket. Two teenagers were treated with smoke inhalation. Kaufhof was evacuated and closed for the rest of Saturday. The suspect was taken to a psychiatric ward for treatment.
Factoid: Das Anwerberabkommen
On October 30, 1961 West Germany and Turkey signed an Anwerberabkommen, or “recruitment agreement” allowing Turkish “guest workers” to move to the Federal Republic to fill labour shortages. By the time the agreement had expired in 1973, about 867,000 people had come. Around half a million Turks returned to their home country. Previously, West Germany had signed similar contracts with Spain, Italy and Greece.
Podcast: Tommies and Jerries
To be honest, I find the name of this pocast off-putting. World War II lingo in 2021? Seriously? But having enjoyed historian Katja Hoyer’s book Blood and Iron, I gave it a chance and was pleasantly surprised. Hoyer and Times’ Berlin correspondent Oliver Moody’s witty banter delves into every imaginable historical and cultural link between Germany and Britain. I especially enjoyed the recent episode on British-German pop music history: Ze Beatles, Bowie, Kraftwerk - they’re all in there. Listen here.
That’s it for now. See you Friday!