Thierse, who grew up in communist East Germany and has lived for years in what was the East Berlin working-class neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg that has now become thoroughly gentrified, said the newcomers should adapt to Berlin culture – and not the other way around.
“I would hope that the Swabians finally get that they are in Berlin now and no longer in their small town” with all its traditions.
Thierse is not alone. Distaste for the Swabian newcomers is evident around his neighborhood and occasionally signs saying “Swabian get out” can be seen.
Thierse complained that the southwesterners came to Berlin because they found it so adventurous and colorful and out of the ordinary, but once they've been in the city for awhile that just want to have it “just as it was back home” in the state of Baden-Württemberg.
The Social Democratic Party politician says he gets annoyed when he goes to the bakery and the baker tells him that there are no Schrippen, the Berlin slang for rolls, but only Wecken, the word used by Swabians.
“I say: In Berlin you say Schrippen. Even the Swabians can get used to that.”
On that same vein it disturbs him when he's offered a Pflumendatschi, the Swabian word for plum cake.
“What is that supposed to mean? In Berlin it's called Plaumenkuchen,” the politician told the newspaper. Given these circumstances Thierse said he's become “a true defender of Berlin German.”
Some 90 percent of his neighbours arrived in Prenzlauer Berg after 1990. It's gotten so bad, he told the paper, that as one of the last indigenous species in the neighbourhood he should be declared an endangered species.
Thierse is not a native Berliner. He was born in 1943 in Breslau and his family settled in East Germany after the Germans were kicked out and Breslau became part of Poland. He's been a Berlin resident since 1964, when he came to the city to study at the Humboldt University, according to his biography.