Today – despite many protests by inhabitants, despite a successful collection of signatures – a traditional Berlin pub, which was built in the 19th century and which was constantly in operation up to last year – a survivor of two world wars – was torn down. The current plans are to substitute it with a “kleinteilige Shopzeile” (clustered shop row).
Shame on: Real Estate Developpers Grotjan GmBH , Bezirksamt Marzahn in particular Department for “city development” in Marzahn-Hellersdorf (Head Christian Gräff), Deutsche Bahn AG (who sold the estate, without any regard for their own history) and the socalled “Landesdenkmalamt” (CHM department of Berlin) who acted in my opinion absolutely incompetent and totally against for what they are paid for, namely defending historical buildings, instead of furthering their demolishment.
I had invested a lot of time and energy in trying to save the pub. The pub was one of the few locations, where relaxing discussions could be made also without tons of money. The death of this pub is unfortunately symptomatic for an ongoing demolishment of a very important piece of european culture. From my neigbours I heard similar things from Poland and here a link to a Guardian long read about the death of pubs in Britain.
update 2.3. 2016:
On November 19, 2015 I had made an official question in front of the district assembly wether the district could buy the pub/restaurant in order to avoid the tear down. I got the answer: No the district won’t buy the pub.
The day before yesterday the head of the department for city development Mr. Gräff invited the inhabitants of the neighbourhood to a party promotion event, which was set up as a kind of townhall meeting in a local church. Questions and comments to local politics could be made. I asked Mr Gräff why the department of city development and in particular he, Mr. Gräff finds that supporting the 500.000 Euros/year running costs of the castle which is right next to the former pub/restaurant is considered more important than buying the pub/restaurant, which would have probably costed -including renovation- 500.000 Euro once and would have then caused no further running costs.
Side remark: In emails to him and other local politicians I had also tried to make clear that tearing down the restaurant was a shock for many, that there are not many similar public places to go to anymore and that a lot of those shocked may not be the kind of people who usually protest openly and loudly. I had also proposed that if the district buys the pub/restaurant one could for example turn it into a pub/restaurant/cafe-like meeting point which includes the people who had usually been there and likewise have some integrative approach, which could also include refugees.
His answer to my question at the townhall meeting was about (recorded from my memory):
Well – one can have different opinions about the pub/restaurant and I had another opinion than you. Like there are old ladies for whom it is easier if there are shops in the vicinity. Furthermore 500. 000 Euro is still a lot of money and one can use this money better for e.g. preschools and schools.
Remark 1: The size of the clustered shop row is about 60 sqm, so there will be about two small shops, where the pub/restaurant had been. Moreover there are already existing and prospected shops in the ultimate vicinity.
Remark 2: Mr. Gräff is a member of the supervisory board of the company who just recently got the mandate to run the the castle.