News round-up 8th February 2020
Thuringia premier resigns amid rage at AfD support
Thomas Kemmerich, the newly elected minister-president of Thuringia state, has resigned. Figures from left to right, including Angela Merkel, had expressed outrage after the FDP politician was elected with help from the far-right AfD party. The apparent alliance breached the widely accepted policy of non-cooperation with fascists.
States debate ban on full-face veil for schoolgirls
A court has overturned a niqab ban at a Hamburg school. The ruling has triggered debate among Germany's federal states. A spokesperson for the Berlin school senator Sandra Scheeres (SPD) said pupils wearing full-face veils was incompatible with existing state law “as communication is more difficult and identification during exams is not possible”.
Stronger citizenship rights for victims of Nazis blocked
Parliament has rejected a motion to strengthen citizenship rights in Germany for descendants of people persecuted by the Nazis. Die Linke and the Greens said that guidelines issued by the government last year, widening the criteria for eligibility, needed to be enshrined in law. But the SPD and CDU said putting the guidance into law was unnecessary.
Fascists see opportunity in Dresden anniversary
February 13th marks 75 years since the destruction of Dresden in World War II. Neo-nazis are using the occasion to try to re-establish their annual march through the city, which had previously been driven away by counter-protests and blockades. A new coalition of anti-fascist, feminist and left-wing groups has been formed to stop them.
Neukölln residents oppose Karstadt redevelopment
150 traders and neighbours of Hermannplatz attended a meeting to discuss the future of the area. Austrian billionaire René Benko plans to demolish the 1920s Karstadt store and build a replica with more floor space. The €450m plan is opposed by residents who say it will drive gentrification, resulting in higher rents and forcing them out.
FU students want ‘Henry Ford’ building renamed
Not just a car manufacturer, Henry Ford was "an avowed antisemite and supporter of the Nazi regime", the Freie Universität Berlin students' committee (AStA) points out. The students want the university to rename the campus building bearing his name. Management claim it is named after his grandson Henry Ford II, who was not an antisemite.
Museum staff get tips on dealing with far-right
A new booklet for museum workers offers advice on handling the far-right “culture war” in institutions. Problems include right-wing extremist entries in visitor books, provocations during guided tours and disruptions to commemorative events. Writer Bianca Klose said Holocaust denial and revisionism were part of the far right's strategy.
250 Charité workers stage warning strike over pay
250 workers at Charité hospitals went on strike on Thursday. The staff of CFM, a Charité subsidiary, are demanding a better wages, shorter hours and more holiday. CFM is responsible for logistics, patient transport and security. It was de-privatized in 2019, but there is still no collective agreement. The union ver.di will negotiate this week.
Sources: Neues Deutschland