Berlin cafe accused of racial discrimination
15 July 2005, BERLIN - A popular cafe in Berlin's fashionable Prenzlauer Berg district is under fire from anti-racism activists for banning young black people from the premises.
15 July 2005
BERLIN - A popular cafe in Berlin's fashionable Prenzlauer Berg district is under fire from anti-racism activists for banning young black people from the premises.
The newly-formed protest group 'Nie wieder Sonntag' plans an "action day against racism" on Sunday 17 July outside the Kastanienallee cafe 'An einem Sonntag im August', to protest against what they claim are the café's discriminatory practices.
According to press reports, the manager of 'An einem Sonntag im August', Claudia Humeniuk, required café employees to sign an internal memorandum with instructions on how to deal with suspected drug dealers.
The 12 April 2005 memorandum, which was obtained and published by 'Nie wieder Sonntag', begins "Today we threw three black people (probably dealers) and one white person (probably a buyer) out of the café and banned them. From now on we will ban everyone belonging to this group from the premises."
It goes on to give advice on how to recognise people who belong to the banned drug dealing group, specifying "young black people up to the age of 25". Excluded are "black students with clever eyes, black tourists, older black people, black men with girlfriends."
According to 'Nie wieder Sonntag', who are encouraging a boycott of the café, employees who did not sign the memo were forced to leave the café.
In an open letter, Humeniuk, clearly aware of the damage caused to the café's reputation by the negative publicity, says "I expressed myself in a very stupid way," adding "I would never write this kind of memo again."
She claims she wanted to take measures against the dealer gang because the local authorities had threatened to take away the café's license - a claim which is however disputed by the authorities, who say they never made such a threat.
Humeniuk has tried to meet 'Nie wieder Sonntag' for a face-to-face discussion, but has had her requests to meet turned down by the group, who only communicate with the café's manager via open letters. The group's spokesperson Roman Schneider told the Taz newspaper that "the owners are racist and shouldn't have any space in our neighbourhood."
The 17 July action day takes place from 10am until 10pm at U-Bahn Eberswalder Straße, next to the café, and features live music, DJs, and food. A demonstration will take place at 4 pm.
More information on 'Nie wieder Sonntag' and the action day at http://www.gwebspace.de/nie-wieder-sonntag/
The original memo can be seen at http://media.de.indymedia.org/images/2005/06/121848.jpg
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: German news, racism