Discover more from 20 Percent Berlin
#225: Paid Ausländerbehörde appointments, BVG security thugs at it again, bible trick
And why you can't get a psychotherapy appointment
Hey 20 Percent!
If your German is TV-watching good, I can recommend this ARTE Capital B documentary on the development of the Berlin real estate market from 1989 until today. The film effectively shows the over-ambitious politicians who fattened their egos and investors’ pockets while plunging our favorite city-state into billions in debt during the ‘90s.
It also adeptly illustrates the city’s rise from those ashes in the subsequent 20 years. The documentary focuses a little too much on club culture and the final episode descends into lefty navel gazing (and I say that as a lefty) but it’s a solid though superficial retelling of Berlin (kind of like this newsletter). And hoo-boy do they illustrate the institutional racism that accompanied it all.
If you have the patience, you can let YouTube translate the subtitles for you — or maybe we’ll get an English version soon.
Have a good weekend!
While I’m recommending things, I’m going to do an hour of stand-up comedy as my alter ego Drew Portnoy November 10 at Mein Freund Harvey, a cute Schöneberg bar with a stage. Ticket link! Now to find a warm-up act…
Thanks a million to today’s sponsor, death prep app, Whenn. More info at the end of the newsletter!
Losing your job because you can’t get an appointment
The Ausländerbehörde is so incapable even Berlin’s German-language media are starting to notice. People are paying up to €100 to get an appointment at the agency (officially known as the Landesamt für Einwanderung or LEA) from third-party services, because their Berlin livelihoods are often threatened by the LEA’s inability to offer timely appointments, according to Tagesspiegel (paywall). And by “third-party services” I mean some dude who can do a little code to regularly check the LEA’s site and steal appointments we need. RBB24 saw Tagesspiegel’s article and raised them an example of a woman who lost her job because she couldn’t get an appointment (if you are similarly affected, please let us know). The LEA says they’re trying to prevent appointment scraping but notes that it’s not against the law. They say the problem is that their workload has jumped by 80%. At least it will be easier to get the Blue Card visa for highly-skilled workers next month (allaboutberlin explains here).
BVG guards arrested after assault
The more things change … actually, in this case, nothing changes. Two BVG security guards are suspected of pushing a 33-year old man to the ground and then punching and kicking him at one of the exits to the Hallesches Ufer subway station Tuesday morning, according to the Berliner Polizei. They’re now under investigation for potential charges. Let’s remember that the BVG, one of Berlin’s two public transport companies, also had to pay one Berliner €2,000 after at least one security man was found guilty of assault in an allegedly racist incident and another €1,000 for pain and suffering after a similar attack.
Using a bible to defraud fraudsters
Who says Germans don’t have a sense of humor? A 27-year-old woman is facing fraud charges after trying to swindle a 78-year-old Berlin out of as much as €79,000. The defendant and two accomplices called the man in February and told him his daughter had killed someone in a traffic accident abroad, according to prosecutors. She could be freed if he ponied up the cash for bail. This particular kind of fraud is popular in German media and is known as the Enkeltrick (grandchild trick). The man told the woman he had 163 €500 bills at home he could hand over. He then contacted the police. When the woman arrived to collect the money he gave her a bag with a bible in it. Though it may have helped her on her path to redemption, the cops gave the man his bible back after arresting the woman.
You’re not going to believe this when I tell you but Germany actually has enough therapists for all those who need therapy in Germany. But like so much in Germany, the devil is in the details, according to public broadcaster WDR. The initial problem is that the number of therapists who can bill public health insurers was set in 1999 according to 1999 needs. Of the country’s 48,000 therapists, only 32,500 can bill the insurers — and half of those can only bill for half of their patients. Laws designed to spread therapists around the country have also led to some areas having too many public insurer therapists with others (hello Berlin!) have a desperate shortage. Although 800 new positions were added to the roles in 2019, a study shows an additional 2,400 are needed.
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