• 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
Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride
Photo: DPA

Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride

Dozens of bikers from pro-Kremlin gang the Night Wolves on Saturday set off on a ride to Berlin ahead of the anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II, despite Poland and Germany barring the riders. READ  

VW patriarch Piëch resigns
Photo: DPA

VW patriarch Piëch resigns

Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piëch, has resigned as head of the German auto giant's supervisory board with immediate effect, the company announced Saturday. READ  

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name
Schumacher Jr is too young to drink any of that champagne. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name

Mick Schumacher Jr did his famous father proud on his Formula Four debut on Saturday by claiming a trophy as the best rookie and finishing ninth, despite starting 19th. READ  

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank
Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2008. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank announced late Friday it was seeking to sell its Postbank subsidiary as part of a revamp to improve profitability. READ  

Far left activists attack immigration office
Photo: DPA

Far left activists attack immigration office

Far-left extremists attacked an immigration office in Leipzig early on Friday morning. It was the second targeted attack on an official building in the city in recent months. READ  

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted on Friday that calling Armenian massacres genocide risks belittling the Holocaust, after President Joachim Gauck broke a taboo by using the word on Thursday. READ  

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career
Mick Schumacher on test day earlier in April. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career

Michael Schumacher's 16-year-old son starts his Formula Four career this weekend, under the pressure of living up to the famous family name of the seven-time Formula One world champion. READ  

Property of the week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Mr Lodge

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

A highly sought-after location, great connection to public transport, and a very stylish interior – Does that sound good to you? Then you’ll love this week’s property! READ  

Germany's most polluted cities
The sun rises behind a coal-burning power station in Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

Germany's most polluted cities

The Federal Environment Ministry has named the most polluted places around the country, with Stuttgart claiming the undesirable title of Germany's most polluted city. READ  

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets
Edda Göring photographed in 1942. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets

The Bavarian government rejected on Thursday an attempt by Hermann Göring's daughter to win back her father's assets, which the government seized in 1948. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
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

7,180
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd