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Thursday 6, July

Berlin court rules for racist street name to be changed

Mohrenstraße or Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Straße? A decision has finally been made over the racist street name.

Photo: IMAGO / Sabine Gudath

Thursday 6, July

Berlin court to decide on racist street name controversy

It has been a point of controversy for years. The street known as Mohrenstraße in Berlin-Mitte has long been subject to complaints from those who see the name as a legacy of colonialism and an outdated, racist worldview. The offending word is Mohr, which means Moor in English. Originally it was used to refer to North African Muslims but it came to mean anyone with dark skin.

Two and half years ago, Berlin took the decision to rename the street. It would become Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Straße, taking the name of the first scholar of African descent to study at a Prussian university. Until now, there had been some doubt over whether that decision will come into effect. Seven residents had lodged an official complaint, arguing that the street should keep the original name. But on Thursday afternoon the Berlin Administrative Court permitted the renaming, rejecting the lawsuit filed by residents and interested parties.

🚩 Berlin finally changed colonial street names. What took so long?

One of the complainants in the well-known German historian Götz Aly. According to a report in the Tagespiegel, Aly wants to keep the controversial name. “I definitely think that German colonialism should be remembered critically,” he says, but goes to argue that the renaming violates the “principle of neutrality and objectivity”.