• Germany edition
 
Germany elects first ever black mayor
Photo: P. Schmelzle (Wikipedia)

Germany elects first ever black mayor

Published: 02 Jun 2012 09:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 02 Jun 2012 09:50 GMT+02:00

The 40-year-old Ehret, whose father was an African-American soldier and mother a native German, took over running the village of Mauer near Heidelberg, southern Germany on Friday, Der Spiegel reported on his inauguration.

Despite almost no campaigning, he picked up slightly more than 58 percent of the vote, beating out a civil servant in the village of about 4,000 residents. Observers said Ehret profited from a so-called “Obama” effect, though the trained police inspector didn’t seek the comparison.

Ehret’s first days suggested that he was unlikely to end up as head of anything. The only thing he knows about his American father is that he was stationed as a US soldier in Karlsruhe. His mother suffered a brain tumor when he was a toddler and gave him up to a children’s home at the age of two.

At six he was adopted by the Ehret family from Mauer. John became a star in the village and was the village’s only black resident. He was known as Pelé, after the Brazilian legend, at the club where he played football. John’s new dad was a respected Social Democratic Party member on the local council.

Ehret says his skin colour was never an issue – either in Germany or in the many places he’s travelled to as a member of the BKA, where he was its first black employee. His employer even once sent him to observe a neo-Nazi concert, apparently unconcerned about his skin colour.

Ehret was sent abroad many times, including on several United Nations missions. He served as an investigator into attacks in Lebanon, as a mentor in Sarajevo to help expand the village’s finance office and as an advisor to help rebuild Afghanistan’s police force. He is trained in civil service administration.

But deep down he was a boy from Mauer, so when he saw that the mayor’s job was vacant, because the previous mayor took a post elsewhere, he applied for the job.

“I didn’t hesitate for long,” he told the magazine.

Tahir Della, chairman of the Black People in Germany Initiative, said, “Before Ehret there weren’t any black mayors in Germany.” There was however a mayor of Indian descent in an eastern German town in 1993.

Ehret, who insists he’s never experienced discrimination in Germany, is now in an odd position in which black Germans want him to be an example to others. But he’s not interested in that role.

“For that I feel I’m too German,” he said.

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

19:42 June 2, 2012 by AClassicRed
As a minority who was born in Germany, I would express also that I've never felt myself to be the recipient of discrimination. Never in the overt sense, but perhaps I may have experienced some in a covert sense, maybe not getting a job or flat or something which might later found to have been based on the color of my skin, but I have never chose to focus on that. Life has enough issues without analzying and picking apart any gesture, glance or rejection as being based on color.

From the story, however, it would seem to suggest that the man's position was aided by his having German adoptive parents simply based on acceptance and probably how he behaved, language proficiency, etc. Just as I would say, I have been someone who was fortunate to have close German friends and support that did seem to bring me more opportunities than if I had sequestered myself within a sole ethnic group, culture and/or language. This could be the same for anyone. I would hesitate to say if a German with African American ancestry might have been elected or held various positions if he had come from an African-American primary family. There could certainly have been more challenges in that situation.

That other black Germans want him to be representative somehow is like asking someone to be a poster child for any and all movements from a certain group. I would feel uncomfortable with that role as well, though certainly I might find occasion to speak up on some applicable issues. I could also commiserate with his statement, ¦quot;For that I feel I¦#39;m too German."
21:11 June 2, 2012 by Lisa Rusbridge
Germany has a black man as mayor of a village, while the USA has a black man serving his nation as President and Commander-in-Chief.

I didn't realize that Germany and the USA were so vastly different in terms of racial diversity and opportunity for minorities. A real eye-opener!
00:32 June 3, 2012 by rosebudnv
Good for him. No reason why he cannot do a great job. In Canada we have had a black lieutenant governor in Ontario and a black female Canadian governor General (Queen's represenative in Canada) and they were wonderful.

One less obstacle to overcome it seems.

Congratuations.
00:40 June 3, 2012 by coffmap8
Obama what is he not a true american! This guy is a true German!
04:15 June 3, 2012 by DOZ
Obama is Black! I thought he was a "Man" who became President.
05:31 June 3, 2012 by Alofat
Lisa, Germany had no need for slaves, so no there aren't that many black Germans around. I believe the total comes in at about 0.6 % of the entire population.
22:15 June 4, 2012 by deftlefthand
"Germany had no need for slaves"

1. apples and oranges 2. this statement isn't 'entirely' historically accurate..
23:03 June 4, 2012 by disconizeme
Germany already has a gay foreign minister, gay mayors in the biggest cities Berlin and Hamburg, a Vietnamese born economics minister and a female Chancellor - so where's the news?
05:58 June 5, 2012 by Powell
If his mother was German and he was born and reared in Germany, how is he "black"?
20:42 June 7, 2012 by Englishted
"His employer even once sent him to observe a neo-Nazi concert, apparently unconcerned about his skin colour."

Where are the heath and safety people when you need them?

Next trip is to a KKK meeting in Mississippi.
16:29 June 8, 2012 by McNair Kaserne
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:58 June 8, 2012 by nocebo
05:58 June 5, 2012 by Powell

"If his mother was German and he was born and reared in Germany, how is he 'black'?"

Possibly the stupidest question I've read on this site yet... or any site. Thanks for posting.
19:30 June 8, 2012 by darkwisdom
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
02:57 June 9, 2012 by bebosa
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
14:01 June 9, 2012 by McNair Kaserne
Nice job with the censorship there, "Local". Anyone reports "abuse", you delete their post.

It seems your standard for what constitutes a violation of your terms is so low that almost any non-politically correct post could qualify, as well as any criticism at all of things like multiculturalism or immigration.
09:21 September 5, 2012 by German Worker
Bad news for Germany.. We're going to be the new Haiti in a few years..
Today's headlines
'Germany can handle more refugees'
Refugees in emergency accommodation in Baden-Württemberg. Photo: DPA

'Germany can handle more refugees'

Germany is the most popular destination in the EU for those fleeing the brutal onslaught in Syria. The country’s interior minister wants other European countries to take in more refugees, but some groups think Germany should do more. READ  

Hostage horror in Yemen, hostage hope in Somalia
Johannes Hentschel, Sabine and their son died in Yemen. Michael Scott Moore (r) was released on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Hostage horror in Yemen, hostage hope in Somalia

UPDATE: American-German journalist Michael Scott Moore was released on Tuesday from more than two-and-a-half years in the captivity of pirates in Somalia. His release came the day a German family was confirmed dead, five years after being captured in Yemen. READ  

Iraq denies entry to German military trainers
The seven trainers boarded their plane in Germany on Friday. Photo: DPA

Iraq denies entry to German military trainers

UPDATE: Seven German military trainers, who flew to Iraq on Friday to train Kurdish fighters battling Islamic extremists Isis, have been denied permission to enter the country. READ  

One in 10 voters support anti-euro AfD
AfD leader Bernd Lucke celebrates with supporters during the Brandenburg state election. Photo: DPA

One in 10 voters support anti-euro AfD

Eurosceptic party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) is supported by 10 percent of voters in Germany, a poll on Tuesday showed. It is the first time the fast-rising anti-euro party has polled nationwide in double digits. READ  

Analysis
Why Germany fears US digital disruptors
Angela Merkel with her official Blackberry phone

Why Germany fears US digital disruptors

Every week brings a new headline pitting German politicians, businesses or unions against a US digital company. What is the country's problem with US tech businesses? READ  

Quiz
Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: DPA

Can you pass the German citizenship test?

Since 2008 anyone applying for German citizenship has had to take a test on their new country's history, politics and values. Do you know enough about Germany to pass it? READ  

Rent caps are coming in 2015
Photo: DPA

Rent caps are coming in 2015

A move to cap rent rises in German cities has been agreed by coalition parties, Germany's justice minister announced on Tuesday morning. READ  

Boy, 6, among Berlin train attack victims
Photo: DPA

Boy, 6, among Berlin train attack victims

Two vicious acts of violence on Berlin trains over the weekend have shocked passengers, with the youngest attack victim aged just six. READ  

Gerst and crew get 3D printer and some mice
Gerst is waiting the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon which launched on Sunday. Photo: NASA TV/DPA

Gerst and crew get 3D printer and some mice

UPDATE: Alexander Gerst, Germany's man aboard the International Space Station (ISS), captured SpaceX's unmanned Dragon craft with a cargo of supplies on Tuesday. READ  

Father, 75, tries to dynamite son
Police searching the area after the TNT discovery in Nußdorf. Photo: DPA

Father, 75, tries to dynamite son

A Bavarian pensioner is being investigated on suspicion of attempted murder after planting 3.5kg of TNT in his son's garden, next door to his own home, police said on Monday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: DPA
Munich
Fights and a skinny dip kick off Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA
Sport
German Fifa exec: 'Qatar won't host World Cup'
DPA
Gallery
The best photos from Oktoberfest's opening weekend
Photo: DPA
Munich
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's food
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,343
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd