Host Nation Update, Jan. 22, 2024
Demonstrations in Stuttgart against right wing extremists
A highly symbolic date: Sunday, January 21, is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This is driving people onto the streets – all over Germany. Including in Stuttgart, which saw two major peaceful demonstrations for democracy and against the right wing past weekend with almost 30,000 participants in total. On Sunday afternoon, people stood close together on the market square. It is estimated that up to 8,000 people responded to a call from the Württemberg Jewish Student Union. Their slogan was “Stuttgart sticks together”. The initiative came from 34-year-old Lior Smith, who is deeply moved by the response and is amazed at what can be achieved: “It’s exhilarating.” Many familiar faces were seen in the crowd, including that of former Lord Mayor Fritz Kuhn. Stuttgart – you’re brilliant!” shouted Michael Blume, the state’s anti-Semitism commissioner, into the microphone in the face of the large crowd. Blume is combative: “We will never again bow to racists and anti-Semites. We will not make the same mistake as our ancestors and give up democracy,” he says at full volume. “If you want to stop right-wing extremists, you have to do it early and not run after them.”
Barbara Traub, spokeswoman of the board of the Württemberg Jewish Religious Community, gave an emotional speech: “I am impressed by how we as a city community stick together and how broad the alliance in defense of democracy is.” Diversity is a strength of the city and the state, she says and calls out: “We are all Stuttgart!” Traub is concerned about “how deeply anti-Semitism is seeping into society. Our Jewish history shows how dangerous this is.” The right-wing extremist fantasies of expulsion are not a game, “they are a fuse”. In 1933, people smiled at such things – with the well-known consequences. She resolutely declares: “We will manage to extinguish the fuse. Never again is right now!” The momentum of the demonstrations took the city administration by surprise The Stuttgart mayor for education is representing Lord Mayor Frank Nopper, who, according to his spokesperson, is “currently absent from the city for almost a week”. As a board member of the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation, Fezer is a very good representative of the city. Nopper himself had only taken a public stance on Friday when he signed a resolution against racism together with 29 other mayors. The representatives of the parties, Christian Gehring (CDU), Michael Joukov (Greens), Dajana Hummel (FDP) and Florian Wahl (SPD) are also in agreement on this day and on this topic: “Stuttgart and the state will continue to stand up against racism.” Wahl emphasizes “that the silent majority has become a loud majority” and announces at the end of the almost two-hour rally: “We will fight for this country. We will not retreat into the private sphere. We’ll be back next weekend!” (SN, Jan 22, 2024)
Another rail strike – GDL union called for another 6 days’ strike for train conductors starting Wednesday
The train drivers’ union GDL has called on Deutsche Bahn employees to go on strike again. This will begin early Wednesday morning at 2.00 a.m. in passenger transport and will last until Monday next week at 6.00 p.m., the union announced on Monday night. Union members at DB Cargo, which is responsible for freight transport, have already been called to strike from 6 p.m. on Tuesday. This means that commuters are facing another difficult day with thousands of train cancellations.
It was only on Friday that Deutsche Bahn presented a new wage offer to bring the GDL back to the negotiating table. Among other things, it also includes an option for one hour less working time for train conductors and train attendants from January 1, 2026. However, this was apparently not enough for new negotiations.
The industrial action now announced would be the fourth in the current wage dispute. Before the turn of the year, the GDL paralyzed large parts of passenger transport in two warning strikes, followed by a three-day strike with a similar effect in January. On Friday, DB Board Member for Human Resources Martin Seiler criticized the GDL for using strikes not as a last resort, but as a means of self-promotion.
The offer presented by Deutsche Bahn on Friday provides for a 4.8 percent pay rise for employees from August and a further 5 percent increase from April 2025. In addition, payment of the inflation adjustment bonus is planned immediately after a possible collective wage agreement. According to the DB offer, the term is to be 32 months.
According to the union’s public statements, however, a reduction in working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours per week with full wage compensation is much more important. Deutsche Bahn considers this demand to be unachievable to this extent, partly because too many new staff would then be needed. There is already a shortage of skilled workers among train drivers and in other railroad professions.
The wage dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL has been ongoing since the beginning of November. The GDL declared the talks to have failed after the second round of negotiations. Negotiations have therefore not taken place since November 24. After a ballot of GDL members, indefinite strikes are also possible. (SN, Jan 22, 2024)
Baden-Württemberg – Fasching celebrations in the Stuttgart district
When is carnival celebrated?
The best-known public holiday at carnival time is probably Rose Monday, followed by Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. True carnival fans know that the other days before Ash Wednesday have also been given names: before Rose Monday there is Carnation Saturday and Tulip Sunday. Shrove Tuesday is also called Violet Tuesday.
There are also celebrations on the Thursday in the week before Ash Wednesday: this is Women’s Carnival or, in many places also called, “Dirty Thursday”. The carnival days begins at 11.11 a.m. and according to tradition the town halls are stormed by unmarried women to cut off the men’s ties and take over reigns.
Carnival in Stuttgart 2024
February 8, 2024: Women’s Carnival
February 12, 2024: Rose Monday
February 13, 2024: Shrove Tuesday
Get into the carnival mood early in the south of Germany at the Cologne carnival party at the Mash Club. On February 2, there will be Kölsche music for real carnival fans. The party starts at 19:11.
On February 8, the carnival society Schwarze Husaren e.V. 1968 Stuttgart-Vaihingen will also storm the district town hall in Vaihingen to oust the district mayor.
The traditional weekly carnival market takes place in Bad Cannstatt. Dressed-up carnival fans spend a wonderful morning here with music and dancing. In Stuttgart city center, the Classic Rock Cafe is one of the places to celebrate from 6 pm.
On February 9, the 13th big night parade will take place in Stuttgart-Mühlhausen. It is organized by the 1st Donner-Hexen fool guild from Stuttgart-Mühlhausen. It starts at 7.11 pm.
On February 10, little carnival fans will get their money’s worth at the children’s carnival in Leinfelden-Echterdingen. The party starts at 1 p.m. at the Filderhalle, organized by the society for the promotion of dance sport and local customs
On February 12, Stuttgart’s first carnival club, Gesellschaft Möbelwagen 1897 e.V., will hold its annual Guggenmonster concert on Stuttgart’s market square. It’s worth watching from 6 pm.
In the morning, Mayor Nopper welcomes Stuttgart’s carnival clubs to the annual Rose Monday reception at 11:11 am in the town hall. The Rose Monday party starts at 10 pm in the club “BOA” in Stuttgart.
The big carnival parade through Stuttgart city center takes place on Shrove Tuesday, February 13, from 2 pm. Those who want to celebrate in costume afterwards can shake a leg in the legendary club BOA in Stuttgart at 3:30 pm. (SN, Jan 22, 2024)
A81 near Leonberg- Smoke in the Engelberg tunnel causes traffic jam on Friday
On Friday evening, there were considerable traffic delays around the Engelberg Tunnel in Leonberg due to smoke. According to the police, an obstruction of visibility due to smoke was reported at 6.47 pm. The Engelberg Tunnel was closed in both directions. According to the police, the smoke appeared in the direction of Heilbronn or was drifting in that direction. According to the police, the cause of the smoke has not yet been determined. However, there was no danger to drivers. The fire department was unable to detect any fire in the tunnel. The tunnel manager who was on site was also unable to detect any smoke or fire. (SN, Jan 22, 2024)