In Berlin, the restaurant Moskau (Moscow), on Karl-Marx-Allee, has just been renamed. From now on it is called Kyiv (kyiv). We are used to such changes here. Karl-Marx-Allee had narrowly escaped the wave of name changes after the 1989 “turning point”, but not far from there, Dimitrov Avenue, named after the leader of the Third Communist International, had quickly become rue de Dantzig, evocative of the Empire and greater Germany.
The street of the feminist Clara Zetkin, friend of Rosa Luxemburg, also very quickly took the name of the distant Princess Dorothée. In the district, formerly in the East, where many streets bore the name of anti-fascists, the latter were replaced, but not in the case where it was anti-fascists of Jewish origin. Fortunately, we have preserved the square bearing the name of this Red Army officer, Nikolai Berzarin, not a Jew to my knowledge, who died in a motorcycle accident shortly after his arrival in Berlin, capital of the Reich which had just to be liberated by Russian, Ukrainian, Kazakh and even Buryat soldiers.
The streets of Berlin have more and more Jewish surnames. From now on, the nearest tram to my house stops at Place Henriette-Herz, shortly after Square Jacob-Teitel. Hannah-Arendt Street is not far away. It is found in all German cities. But be careful, in the Schöneberg district, located in the former western part of Berlin, there is a Barbarossa street. It is, no doubt, the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, but one cannot help thinking of the operation of the same name launched by the Wehrmacht on June 22, 1941, when it invaded Ukraine…
Time and energy
After all, we are not going to rename Lake Wannsee on the pretext that it evokes for me the conference where the “final solution” was decided in January 1942! The fact remains that in Wedding, a former working-class district of Berlin in the process of gentrification but where many recent or old immigrants still live, the community of African origin is still struggling to obtain the change of names of streets which, this time, evoke , the colonial heritage: the streets of Zanzibar, Togo and Cameroon are still at the heart of what is called “the African quarter”.
Also read the forum: Article reserved for our subscribers “The Russians live petrified by the violence of propaganda. The political and economic elites are appalled”
Reawakening memories takes time and energy. In my street, they have just engraved two Stolpersteine, these brass cubes on which are inscribed the names of racial victims of the Third Reich. This time they concern an Afro-German couple, which is a first in Berlin.
You have 45.29% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.