#71: Domestic violence murder, gas shortage, central heating
And should the royals be compensated for their dumb castles?
Hello 20 Percent!
Berlin has this thing once a year called the Long Night of the Museums and I hate it. The concept is that basically every museum in Berlin is open until late in the night and you can go to all of them on a single ticket. It leads to long lines of people battling to get into museums they don’t really care about just so they can save a bunch of money rather than stay home and watch some celebrity on TV battle to remain on a tropical island. It’s sweaty, chaotic and not much fun.
Imagine an all-you-can-eat buffet in rural America.
Vacation sites around Germany are now fearing Three Long Months of similar behavior after federal politicians agreed to sell tickets to local and regional public transportation for just €9 per month from June through August. They’re worried everyone is going to hop on a train and besiege their bucolic town just in the name of saving a few euros. Elitists on Sylt (a North Sea island where German celebrities you’ve never heard of make sure the press sees them vacationing) went public with their concerns, sparking a week of memes about how we’ll all meet up there for a quick frisbee throw. It’s a good image — Horst from the Späti bellying up to a seafood restaurant next to whatever overly tan, facelifted German celebrity you can think of.
Which is me saying start planning now which bucolic town you want to visit for €9 this summer because the Germans already have. Maybe Sylt?
And I also sympathize because it’s ice cream week right now, which means you can get a scoop of ice cream at one of 37 hand-selected Eisdielen for just €1. My favorite, Zagara on Köpenicker Straße, is in there and now I fear my evening ice cream will become a sweaty, chaotic event. More sweaty and chaotic than usual, that is.
Have a good weekend, y’all, you’ve earned it.
The Berlin corona stats for Friday, May 6
Received booster: 60.7% (60.6% Tuesday)
New cases in one day: 2,187 (2,938 Tuesday)
Total deaths: 4,509 (+20 over Tuesday)
🔴 7-day Covid-19 incidence (cases per 100,000): 369.9 (458.4 Tuesday)
🔴 7-day hospitalization incidence (also per 100,000): 10.3 (10.2 Tuesday)
🟡 Covid-19 ICU patient occupancy: 5.5% (5.7% Tuesday)
Source: Berlin’s corona page
Why didn’t police protect murder victim?
Relatives of a woman murdered by her estranged husband April 29 on a street in Pankow say Berlin officials didn’t do enough to protect the woman, who had pressed domestic violence charges against the suspect on three different occasions, either directly or via relatives. A police spokesman confirmed the trio of charges and told Berliner Zeitung the police had launched an internal investigation about its role in the case. Zohra Mohammad Gul was stabbed to death mid-day near a busy intersection in Pankow. She and the suspect, who was arrested in the vicinity a short time later, are refugees from Afghanistan and have six joint children. Gul’s family say racism played a role in the Polizei’s inaction — reportedly mocking her sister’s inability to speak German while she attempted to press charges against the suspect for threatening the entire family after he and Gul became estranged.
You should be taking the train anyway
Berlin and nearby regions of the former East Germany may suffer temporary gasoline shortages as part of a planned EU embargo against Russian oil, German economy minister Robert Habeck (Die Grüne) said late Wednesday. A Russian-owned refinery in Schwedt northeast of Berlin has a near-monopoly on petroleum products in the capital and uses solely Russian oil from the Druschba pipeline that flows through Poland and Ukraine. Germany now gets 12 percent of its oil from Russia, down from 35 percent before the war. However, that 12 percent is because of us.
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Police watching Russian war commemorations
Officials expect 50 different events May 8 and 9 either protesting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or commemorating the country’s role in the end of WWII though the Russian embassy refuses to announce the locations of its official events, according to the Morgenpost. Berlin politicians are not attending any of the annual events to protest the invasion despite their enthusiastic support in previous years, according to the Morgenpost. Signs of support for the Russian aggression are forbidden and police said they will impose special restrictions at 15 events. The largest event is expected to be at the Soviet war memorial in Treptower Park with others planned for similar sites in Tiergarten and Pankow.
What does Germany owe the kaiser?
A court must decide whether Berlin’s former royal family — the Hohenzollern — is due €1.4 million in restitution for assets seized following WWII after a raft of officials refused to negotiate a settlement with Georg Friedrich von Preussen, the current Hohenzollern patriarch, according to Tagesspiegel. Officials reject a settlement because of a 1996 German law that prohibits restitution to people who “substantially” supported the Nazi regime. The family wants damages for 60 Hohenzollern properties confiscated by Soviet officials despite a wealth of evidence proving their involvement with the Nazi government. While Brandenburg’s finance ministry supports talks, federal officials as well as politicians from Berlin reportedly refuse to negotiate with the would-be royal. Georg Friedrich is the great-great grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II. and lives in Potsdam, though not in a palace.
Buying back municipal utilities
The city-state of Berlin is debating purchasing a centralized heat network from Swedish utility Vattenfall that heats 1.3 million homes in the capital as Vattenfall attempts to eject its fossil-fired activities. If it sells the network, Vatenfall said it would try to find a buyer that would work to wean the network’s power plants off fossil fuels (they primarily use natural gas). Berlin’s previous coalition last year failed in a bid to force Vattenfall to sell the city the network, which sends hot water through 1,700 kilometers of pipes across Berlin, though the current government has mixed feelings on a purchase. Berlin for decades has been working to buy back essential utilities and has already bought back the water supply as well as the electricity grid.
Thirty years ago today, Marlene Dietrich, arguably one of the world’s most famous Berliners, died in Paris on May 6, 1992. Dietrich was born in Schöneberg in 1901 and rose to fame when she starred in The Blue Angel in 1930. She then followed Blue Angel director Josef von Sternberg to Hollywood where she became, well, even more famous. She refused to be used for Nazi propaganda in the ‘30s and, in 1939, became a US citizen. After her film career (just one Oscar nomination) she relocated to Paris. She’s buried in the cemetery in Stubenrauchstraße in her home borough.