- Title: Berlin drops derogatory name for metro station after protests
- Date: 4th July 2020
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (JULY 4, 2020) (REUTERS) METRO APPROACHES "MOHRENSTRASSE" STATION PEOPLE GETTING OFF METRO SIGN FOR GLINKA STREET SIGN ON WALL OF STATION, READING 'MOHRENSTRASSE', AND METRO PASSING BY CHAIRMAN OF BVG (BERLIN PUBLIC TRANSPORT) ROLF ERFURT WALKING OUT OF STATION (SOUNDBITE) (German) CHAIRMAN OF BVG (BERLIN PUBLIC TRANSPORT) ROLF ERFURT, SAYING: "On occasion of diversity day we at the BVG have decided to rename the station. We have people from 51 nations working at BVG. Berlin is an open-minded city. And as BVG we welcome the world. And we thought in times like this it is appropriate to rename the station." TOURISTS LOOKING AT STATUES AT SQUARE (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY SYLVIA SCHUELER, SAYING: "Well, I have to take note of that, but I can't really understand it. Sorry, I can't understand it. Especially since we have some more pressing problems here in the city. Really. I can get worked up about people not being able to live of their pension and having to collect bottles (to return for money). Or that there is a housing shortage. That I totally understand. But this? I don' know." VARIOUS OF EXTERIOR OF "MOHRENSTRASSE" METRO STATION (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY AKWASI OSEI-DWOMOH, sAYING: "I think it's fantastic that they do it. Because it is not right in the 21st century to name streets after racist derivatives for black people. It is high time. And I wish that not only the station but also the streets gets renamed." "MOHRENSTRASSE" METRO STATION STREET SIGN "MOHRENSTRASSE" WITH "MOHR" CROSSED OUT AND "GLINKASTRASSE" (NEW NAME OF STATION) (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY JUERGEN MOHR, SAYING: "Well, it's a pity of the metro station "Mohrenstrasse" gets renamed but I can live with the fact that it might have soon a new name." VARIOUS OF SQUARE AT "MOHRENSTRASSE" METRO STATION (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY SYLVIA SCHUELER, SAYING: "I don't think it's right. Seriously. Because moors is not an abusive word as far as I am concerned. Not at all. I still know the "Mohrenkopf" (sweet baking good, now known as chocolate bomb) and "Sarotti Mohr" (little emblem on chocolate). And I can't see any discrimination in this. Of any race. Because it's not so bad. I also say negro, and I don't mean it in a bad way. It's just the way I've known it. There were also the moors. And there is a connection between "Mohr" and moors." VARIOUS OF NORTH KOREAN EMBASSY
- Embargoed: 18th July 2020 15:05
- Keywords: "Mohrenstrasse" Berlin George Floyd Germany Moor Street black live matters metro station protests race
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLE7CCN
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Berlin's public transport company BVG said it would rename a city centre metro station that has become notorious for bearing a name based on a derogatory word for Black people.
The announcement comes amid a world-wide reckoning with buried legacies of racism and colonial crimes underpinning many western societies that was sparked by the death in the United States of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a police officer.
Berlin's BVG said that the "Mohrenstrasse" metro station - literally Moor Street, using the medieval term for people from North Africa, would be renamed after another nearby street, the Glinkastrasse, named after 19th century Russian composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka.
The station, a few hundred metres from the Brandenburg Gate at the very centre of Berlin, has born a string of names since it was opened in 1908. It acquired its present name in 1991.
Though the word "mohr" is no longer used in modern German, its history - linguists say it had acquired a derogatory flavour by the 18th century - have caused complaints over its use in some street names.
Last month, unidentified activists taped over the station's entrance, temporarily naming it "George Floyd Street".
"Out of respect for the sometimes controversial debate about the street name, BVG has decided not to use it to name the metro station any longer," it said. "BVG rejects all forms of racism and discrimination."
(Production: Martin Schlicht, Ute Swart)
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