#20: Pankow fascists, 2G+, East Side Gallery
Germany's at record-level corona incidence but Berlin isn't. Yet.
Hello fellow Friday people,
Politics may make strange bedfellows but a golden rule in German politics is that the right-wing AfD may never be one of those strange bedfellows. The business-friendly FDP tried it at the state-level last year and got slammed and now - maybe - the left-wing Die Linke did it this week in Pankow to get their Sören Benn elected mayor of Berlin’s biggest borough.
The scandal is two-fold: Die Grünen won the recent council election. Tradition would have them appointing the mayor with the blessing of like-minded parties but the center-left SPD and Die Linke are unhappy with the Greens in Pankow, so they backed Benn instead.
Then last night, in a confidential vote of Pankow’s elected officials, he was crowned mayor by a vote of 29 to 24 (with 2 abstentions). But Die Linke and the SPD have only 23 votes, so 6 had to come from elsewhere. Though the vote was confidential, the AfD told Berliner Zeitung five of those votes came from them. Bedfellows!
In a further plot twist, election laws previously stipulated that only the winning party could appoint mayoral candidates but that law was changed in the ‘90s to prevent the PDS from appointing a mayor in newly unified Berlin (because the PDS was full of former East German party members). The PDS eventually merged with a western German party to become … Die Linke.
History, it seems, is always a bedfellow.
Have a good weekend,
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, November 5
Fully vaccinated: 67.2% (66.8% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 1,506 (1,500 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 3,709 (+9 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 180 (156.1 Tuesday)
🟢 7-day hospitalisation incidence (also per 100,000): 3.4 (3.8 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 10.9% (11.2% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona information page
Beating a pandemic with acronyms
Don’t give up your sketchy looking Covid test-center-on-a-bike just yet! Here comes 2G+. During a regular press conference Tuesday, still-mayor Michael Müller (SPD) said his caretaker government is considering passing legislation that would require people going out to not only be vaccinated but also present a negative same-day test as well. The proposal may pass at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senat. He (like us) is concerned about the skyrocketing incidence and increasing number of Covid patients in intensive care. We’ll let you know what exactly 2G+ means for Berlin (like a return to free tests) when we know.
Guys, it’s just football
Fans for Dutch club Feyenoord late Tuesday spray-painted over murals by artists Ralf Jesse, Hans-Peter Dürhager and Andreas Kämperon at the East Side Gallery ahead of the football team’s Thursday Conference League match against FC Union Berlin (Union lost, 1-2). They also besieged Hackesche Markt for several hours Wednesday because apparently they didn’t get enough attention from their parents and want it from us. The East Side Gallery vandalism was quickly covered up and two were arrested in connection with the vandalism. Fans from Hertha and Union eventually added their own efforts to the area, showing they are little different from their thuggish Dutch counterparts.
Margot Friedländer turns 100
The Holocaust survivor returned to Berlin just over a decade ago and is a vital link to Germany - and Berlin’s - dark past. Her story deserves more space than we have, so here’s an apt piece from Deutsche Welle.
Revier Südost reopening
The club in the former Bärenquell brewery in Schöneweide will re-open November 20 after closing in August following accusations of racism and homophobia. The club is run by the same people behind Neukölln’s Griessmühle, which lost its lease. They’ve now, according to Tip, hired legendary Berlin bouncer Smiley Baldwin to man the door to get things right. Sounds good.
Corona is messing everything up, even divorce. Last year 5,449 people got divorced in the capital, nearly 10 percent fewer than the 5,898 in 2019. Seems weird considering the stress of the pandemic but the city-state’s statistics office points out that courts weren’t running at full-speed last year and couples have to live separately for a year before they can file - difficult during a lockdown (and Berlin’s hosing crisis).
Stay dry this weekend!