• Germany's news in English
 

Thierse welcomes Swabians after hate mail

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

“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)

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.
Today's headlines
July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'
An asylum seeker reception centre in Trier. Photo: DPA

July asylum applications hit 'all-time record'

More people applied for asylum in Germany in July than in any previous month on record, the Ministry for Immigration and Refugees announced on Friday. READ  

This Week in History
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII
Germans fleeing from eastern Europe after the Second World War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The 1,000s of Germans massacred after WWII

Seventy years ago on Friday, a munitions depot exploded in the Czechoslovakian town of Ústí nad Labem. For the thousands of Sudeten Germans who lived in the town, the event was a death sentence. READ  

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'
In the center, Nazi lawyer Roland Freisler, who wrote laws that are partially still in existence today. Photo: German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons.

Minister seeks to rid laws of 'Nazi language'

Germany has made great efforts to purge legal system of remnants of Adolf Hitler's regime, but some laws still bear traces of the Nazi past. The Justice Minister wants to change this. READ  

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted
Netzpolitik published documents outlining the internal spy agency BfV's spy programmes and budget. Photo: DPA

Treason investigation of Netzpolitik halted

Update: Federal prosecutors announced on Friday they are suspending investigations of treason against 'digital rights' website Netzpolitik for 'the greater good' of upholding freedom of the press. READ  

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets
Munich Airport. Photo: DPA

Newborn baby found in Munich airport toilets

A newborn baby was found in a toilet in Munich airport on Thursday. Police so far have no clue as to who or where the mother is. READ  

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling
Photo: BVZ/Zoll

Brit arrested in Munich for meth smuggling

A 50-year-old British woman is being held in custody in Munich on suspicion of attempting to smuggle two kilos of crystal meth out of Munich airport disguised as sweets. READ  

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape
Hate waiting in line at the Bürgeramt? There's a company that lets you pay to get the perfect appointment. Photo: DPA.

Start-up helps new Berliners slash red tape

Why waste time jumping through the hoops of German bureaucracy when you can pay someone else to take the hassle off your hands? A new Berlin company is offering to do just that - and it's got city officials fuming in the process. READ  

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it
A fan visits the makeshift Michael Jackson memorial in Munich. Photo: DPA.

Michael Jackson shrine may have to beat it

A memorial set up in Germany by some of Michael Jackson's most ardent fans the day after his sudden 2009 death has come under threat in a strangely emotional turf war. READ  

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei arrived at Munich airport on Thursday, greeted by his son and son's mother, filmmaker Wang Fen. Photo: DPA.

Ai Weiwei in Germany as UK slammed over visa

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei arrived in Munich on Thursday on his first overseas trip since he was arrested nearly four years ago, after Britain denied him a six-month visa because he did not declare a supposed "criminal conviction" on his application. READ  

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Regulations for women's parking spaces differ from state to state across Germany. Photo: JG-NF / Wikimedia Commons.

'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?

Frankfurt Airport is one of many places in Germany to offer women their own 'bigger and nicer' parking areas. Is this sensible practice or plain sexist? READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Society
In North Germany, money sometimes DOES grow on trees
National
Hero mechanics stop Bavaria shooting spree
International
Denmark says that border controls are coming
National
Did hackers take control of German missile battery?
Politics
Munich gives gay pride green light
Business & Money
Berlin rent controls hit prices hard
National
Fighting to breastfeed in public without shame
Society
Ice cream for dogs 'gobbled up in one gulp'
Education
Are hotpants a feminist issue?
Rhineland
Lion cub reunited with mother
National
How the heatwave is cracking Germany's Autobahns
International
Why the French are more sympathetic to Greece than the Germans
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
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

7,212
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd