• Germany's news in English
 
Thierse welcomes Swabians after hate mail
Photo: DPA

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
'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister
A Yazidi woman at a Hannover demonstration against Isis in August.

'We have to take care of Isis victims': minister

The government plans to set up a trauma centre for victims of a mass rape campaign by the Islamic State (Isis) militant group, Overseas Development minister Gerd Müller said on Monday. READ  

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts
World Cup-winning manager Joachim Löw accepts the award at a gala in Baden Baden on Sunday Photo. DPA

Adidas sells three million World Cup shirts

Football fans have snapped up a total of more than three million replica kits of their world-cup winning heroes, Adidas announced, with much of that boost coming in the run-up to Christmas. The team were also honoured as Germany's "Sportsmen of the Year" on Sunday. READ  

Good news for your Christmas overdraft
Photo: DPA

Good news for your Christmas overdraft

Shoppers who go into the red on their bank account over the Yuletide period have received some early festive good news, with a plan to clarify Germany's complex rules on overdrafts. READ  

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive
Striking Amazon workers outside a distribution centre in Leipzig on December 8th. Photo: DPA

Amazon pledge: Xmas pressies will arrive

Online retailer Amazon said on Monday that walkouts at distribution centres across the country wouldn't affect Christmas orders as the strike spread across Europe. READ  

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store
The aftermath of the raid at Berlin's luxury department store Photo: DPA

Armed heist at Berlin's top department store

Stunned shoppers looked on in horror as masked robbers made a daylight raid at Germany's most exclusive department store on the busiest shopping day before Christmas. READ  

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport
Security checks at Frankfurt airport in July 2014. Photo: DPA

Security tests find holes at Frankfurt airport

Weapons and dangerous objects were successfully smuggled through security checks 50 percent of the time at Frankfurt airport, in a probe by European Commission inspectors, it emerged on Sunday. READ  

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life
Kibaya before her fatal fall Photo: DPA

Breakfast stumble costs Berlin giraffe her life

One of Berlin Zoo’s most popular attractions has had to be put down, after tearing a muscle in her leg. READ  

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers
A demo in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. File photo: DPA

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers

There's little to break the monotony of communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. READ  

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat
Photo: DPA

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. READ  

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
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

3,128
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd