Some 40 years after the pivotal West German political incident, and after four years of protracted legal debate, a section of Kochstraße will be renamed Rudi-Dutschke-Straße, or “Rudi-Dutschke-Street.”
Dutschke was shot three times by a right-wing extremist on April 11, 1968. He survived the attack but died in Denmark in 1979 from injuries sustained in the shooting.
Dutschke was born in the former East Germany and fled to the West with his family in 1961 just before the Berlin Wall was built.
He became the frontman for the left-wing student movement, advocating socialist reforms of state institutions from within as opposed to armed revolution.
The attempt to kill him followed a hate campaign by the conservative press, particularly the top-selling Axel Springer-owned Bild newspaper with its calls to “Stop Dutschke Now.”
The newly named street happens to meet Axel-Springer-Straße, or “Axel Springer Street.” Most of the German media giant’s building lies on Rudi-Dutschke-Straße, and the company took part in the class action suit against the grassroots name-change initiative.
Last week an upper Berlin-Brandenburg court struck down the suit, clearing the way for the new name.
“I think it’s a positive development,” Dutschke’s son Marek Dutschke, told The Local. “These two streets meeting is a constructive way of dealing with the history between these two opponents from 40 years ago – and naturally the Rudi-Dutschke-Straße has the right-of-way,” he joked.
Much of the Dutschke family will attend the ceremony to change the street sign, the 28-year-old Berlin resident said.