Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey is not satisfied with permanently flagging the city’s public buildings with Ukrainian flags or illuminating them in their colors. Now she has asked the districts of the city to name streets and squares in the federal capital after places in Ukraine.
Since the naming is the prerogative of the municipal level, i.e. the districts, she could only appeal to them. According to press reports, there are corresponding letters to the district mayors.
According to Giffey, this could be “another visible sign of solidarity with Ukraine”. Traditionally, street names referring to places in other countries refer to conquests or battles that took place there.
In several German cities (e.g. Berlin and Munich) there are “French Quarters” in which the streets are named after places where battles took place during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71. In many places, so-called “colonial quarters” have also been preserved, in which places from former German colonies and their conquerors are immortalized by name.
For her latest proposal, Giffey sees “streets and squares that have not previously had a name or only a numerical designation” as suitable carriers of such names. Such places are usually only found in new development areas. In addition, whole quarters are usually given a theme, i.e. a place name is not used in an area whose streets are named after flowers or poets.
Citizens’ comments on the report about Giffey’s request mainly point to the fact that Berlin has enough “real” problems that need to be taken care of.
Experience has shown that, even after the GDR was annexed, it takes several years for a street name proposal to become a decision by the respective district assembly to (re)name it. This circumstance, coupled with the fact that the state level does not have any responsibility for this, should probably ensure that Giffey’s request could only remain a press release in the 2022 summer slump.
Not to mention the question of which citizen’s office in Berlin would be able to make the change of address in the residents’ ID cards and company documents of the new streets.
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