News from Berlin and Germany, 17th February 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Dilan Sözeri and the racist attack

Several drunken men and women racially harassed Dilan Sözeri on the tram, some days ago. She had the presence of mind to film parts of the attack with her mobile phone. No bystanders intervened, as can be seen on the mobile phone video. Many  press outlets have presented the situation though as Sözeri was attacked because she was not wearing a mask. However, the 17-year-old, who has been hospitalised since the attack with a concussion, abdominal trauma and several bruises, does not want to let this go. Source: jW.

Life in the “Thermo”

According to a social study, the Lichterfeld “Thermometer” housing scheme needs “special attention”. Poorer people in Berlin are increasingly being pushed out of the inner city into the outskirts. This mainly affects Hartz IV recipients. According to research, in 2020 there were 35,000 fewer Hartz IV recipients living in the districts of Mitte, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and Neukölln than in 2007. In outer districts such as Spandau, Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Reinickendorf, however, the number of Hartz IV recipients increased by 28,000. The concentration of child poverty has increased dramatically in some Berlin neighbourhoods such as Reinickendorf, where about 6,000 people live, and the area around Maulbeerallee in Spandau. Source: Berliner Morgenpost.

Building without demolishing

Berlin was not her “place of choice”, but “one of the most fateful events of her life”, says the new Berlin Senate Building Director Petra Kahlfeldt (no party affiliation, for SPD). However, her appointment received sharp criticism in an open letter published on the website of the architecture and urbanism magazine “Arch+”. According to the letter, the architect does not stand for “participatory planning processes” and was co-author of a “Charter for Berlin’s Mitte” from 2014, which called for “extensive privatisation of public land” in the centre of the capital. Whether Kahlfeldt will be able to assert her convictions remains to be seen. Source: nd.

Rainbow flag and Hartz IV benefits canceled

The Berlin-based unemployment aid organisation “Ya Basta” reports on a case in which a job centre canceled the benefits of a recipient of unemployment benefit because of a rainbow flag attached to his balcony. The authority cited the flag as the reason the man formed a “community of need” with his flatmate, i.e. that he had an intimate relationship. In such cases, the authorities reduce or cancel the money that recipients of the basic income support would be entitled to if they were single. It remains the Job Centre’s secret why a rainbow flag on the balcony says anything about the relationship status of the person concerned. Source: queer.



Neo-Nazi march mars Dresden remembrance

77 years ago, up to 25,000 people lost their lives in a bombardment during World War II in Dresden. Meanwhile, in the city center, hundreds of neo-Nazis gathered to the sound of Wagner to “honor” those victims of war. According to police, at the Heide cemetery, the homage passed by without problems. Near Dresden’s Old Town, though, less than three kilometers from the commemoration, around 750 neo-Nazis gathered on Sunday morning, holding banners to “remember Dresden’s war dead.” And, at the Zwinger Palace, hundreds of counter-protesters loudly opposed the far-right “silent march,” which was accompanied by shouts of “Nazis out”. Source: dw.

Jörg Meuthen leaves parliamentary group in the European Parliament

Former AfD leader Jörg Meuthen has left the Identity and Democracy Group in the European Parliament. “A group that tolerates a head of a delegation who defiles the memory of someone who has just died makes it completely impossible for me to continue as a member,” he said. This week, the AfD members of the European Parliament elected Nicolaus Fest as their new leader. The election took place despite the scandal surrounding Fest’s remarks following the death of the Socialist President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli. Fest wrote about Sassoli, among other things: “Finally this filthy pig is gone.” Source: Zeit.

Wake-up call for the peace movement

The danger of war in Europe is greater than it has been for decades. But  slowly the peace movement seems to be waking up quite slowly. Calls for diplomacy instead of warmongering in the Ukraine crisis have found numerous prominent signatories from politics, academia and culture in recent days. The appeal “Ukraine crisis: peace policy instead of war hysteria!” by the initiative “Never again war,” helmed by the well-known peace activist Reiner Braun, was signed by more than 6,000 people within a week until last Monday. Protests on the streets are also being planned in the coming weeks. Source: jW.

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