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Thierse welcomes Swabians after hate mail
Photo: DPA

Thierse welcomes Swabians after hate mail

Published: 13 Jan 2013 13:14 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Jan 2013 13:14 GMT+01:00

Former Bundestag President Wolfgang Thierse welcomed Swabians to Berlin in a newspaper article on Sunday after being shocked by the incensed reaction to his comments on the city's newcomers - he received over 3,000 hate emails.

“I've been called a snob, a racist, a Nazi [and] an arsehole,” wrote Thierse in a guest article in the Berliner Morgenpost on Sunday – the same paper which published his now notorious comments on New Year's Eve complaining about Swabians failing to adapt to Berlin's culture.

Thierse said he was fed up with being at the centre of what he called a “staged” outrage, being demonized for offhand comments taken out of context and exaggerated in skewed newspaper reports.

All he had done, was “mention two little observations about everyday misunderstandings between locals and newcomers,” when his interviewer had asked him about his constituency in the gentrified East Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg.

Some 90 percent of his neighbours arrived in Prenzlauer Berg after 1990. It’s gotten so bad, he told the journalist, that as one of the last indigenous species in the neighbourhood he should be declared an endangered species.

He had also happened to mention that in the bakery he would like to continue to order Schrippe - the Berlin slang for a bread roll - and not a Weckle, the word used by Swabians.

But the Social Democrat politician and long-time Berlin resident had never dreamed these “flippant” comments would prompt such a “torrent of indignation.” “Oh no!” wrote Thierse sarcastically. “How narrow-minded of me to play the role of the defender of Berlin dialect!”

The reaction has been particularly harsh in Swabia he said, where newspapers “are filled with rage and scorn” about him, he said.

“I would never have expected such a lack of humour,” wrote Thierse, who was surprised and offended by comments in the press asking why he had not taken Turkish immigrants to task, or suggesting that people as scruffy-looking as him should “kindly keep their mouths shut!”

Given how he had been misunderstood, wrote Thierse, he felt he should reaffirm he has nothing against the Swabians - has Swabian colleagues and friends, has visited Swabia on holiday and even eats Swabian food in the Bundestag canteen.

Although he remained a Berliner through and through, Thierse hoped “that Berlin's language and style will also become home for the many newcomers, also those from Swabia.”

“You're all welcome!” he added.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:58 January 13, 2013 by Sastry.M
Berliner or Swabian, any one as a German is religiously qualified as one belonging to the nation of holocaust creators.How come this occurs to date when the generation of that alleged period is receding into attrition? Better be a German working for peace and unity than fall prey for hate generated self centered recognition of segregated disunity.
15:48 January 13, 2013 by Englishted
Should have let sleeping Swabs lie.
16:37 January 13, 2013 by raandy
Ya true, but I like the guy.

¦quot;How narrow-minded of me to play the role of the defender of Berlin dialect!¦quot; good one Thierse. :-)
18:08 January 13, 2013 by burito
Who is a Swabians?,and who else is there if there is a Swabians?(Im little confused here..,never mind...,by...)
18:32 January 13, 2013 by treecat
Wow -, I had read his previous comments and smiled. His explanations are not 'PC' though.

'... nothing against the Swabians - has Swabian colleagues and friends, has visited Swabia on holiday and even eats Swabian food in the Bundestag canteen...'

I lived for 10 years in West Germany, (70's). Lived dreamed Swabian German.

When I traveled north, south or to Berlin. I found that speaking with a Swabian dialect marked me as a 'Hick'.

A redneck in Texas terms..................ah well.....get over yourself.
06:10 January 14, 2013 by RainerL
Isn't it strange How silly un intelligent People seek refuge in throwing the Nazi ridicule and deliberately will take things out of context at anyone who dare speak their mind. well" here comes another one so get ready >

Thierse is quiet right in what he is stating and is entitled to his views and they should be respected; Even if it means the truth hurts to so many in what he did state. The only point against him is ; I agree with is that he should have included the Turks as well. People who come to Berlin should adapt and not Berliners adapting to other who choose to live there!!! Amen
07:42 January 14, 2013 by bhess
I lived in the south for a few years and would take the south over the north anyday. I just thought that Bavaria/Swabisch was the best part of Germany.

It's also clear that Thierse looks down at the Swabians. His apology was hardly one.
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