Local news translated – Friday, Nov. 9, 2021

Host Nation Update, Nov 9

In the fight against the fourth wave, the Federal Coalition requests  free COVID tests for all again.
Looking at vaccine breakthroughs, Virologist Fickenscher said a distinction must be made between vaccinated people who became ill despite vaccination and those who became infected but did not develop symptoms. “A quarter of infections despite vaccination remain asymptomatic, and rarely result in hospitalization or intensive care.” So vaccinated people are very well protected by vaccination, he said, but just not fully protected. 

Fickenscher reacted rather cautiously to call for mandatory testing for everyone; including vaccinated and recovered people. “The golden road is still to increase vaccination rates, that’s what we need to focus on.” Mass testing is the second choice, he said. “Their benefit is clear, but the costs are immense.” In the virologist’s view, it would make more sense to consider compulsory vaccination, at least where there is close contact with vulnerable populations. “But since mandatory vaccination is politically difficult to enforce, testing is a particular option in areas where particularly high incidences are observed.”  (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Nov 9)

Non-Coronal related news 

Increased fines for traffic violations – Higher fines for speeders and parking violators
As of today, traffic offenders must pay higher fines if they get caught. After a long political dispute, the new catalog of fines came into effect on Tuesday. It provides tougher penalties for traffic violations. 

For example, those who drive 16 to 20 kilometers per hour (km/h) faster than authorized within towns, and are caught speeding will pay 70 Euros instead of previously 35. There are also higher fines for those who park illegally on sidewalks and bike paths, stop without permission on emergency lanes, or park and stop in second rows.  Also new is a fine of 55 euros for unauthorized parking in a parking space for electrically powered vehicles and for car-sharing vehicles.

According to the Ministry of Transport, the unauthorized use of an emergency lane will now be punished in the same way as failing to form an emergency lane. Fines between 200 and 320 euros and a one-month driving ban will be imposed. Truck drivers who violate the obligation to drive at walking speed when turning right within towns will be fined 70 Euros and receive a penalty point.  The new list of fines was preceded by long negotiations between the federal and state governments. (Stuttgarter Zeitung, Nov 9)

November 9 – Germany’s President Steinmeier recalls ambivalence of Germany’s fateful day
Berlin – Nov. 9 is a historic day for Germany – for better or worse: With an event at Bellevue Palace this Tuesday, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will recall the ambivalence of this day in German history.

The day stands for three incisive dates:

  • On November 9, 1918, Philipp Scheidemann proclaimed the republic from a window of the Reichstag building; the monarchy was a thing of the past.
  • November 9, 1938, went down in history as the day of the National Socialist pogroms and stands for the persecution and extermination of the Jews.
  • November 9, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall ushered in German reunification.

According to the Office of the Federal President, Steinmeier wants to give an impetus for a regular institutionalized commemoration on November 9, that does justice to all three events. For this has been lacking up to now.

Despite its great historical and emotional weight, despite its contradictory nature – or precisely because of it – November 9 plays only a subordinate role in public remembrance today. For Steinmeier, the day is a “real affair of the heart,” they say.  In 2018, the German president had described November 9 as a “day of contradictions” in a speech in the Bundestag. It was “a bright and a dark day, a day that demands of us what will forever be part of looking at the German past: the ambivalence of memory.” 

In the memorial hour, the youngest member of the new Bundestag, Emilia Fester (Greens), wants to turn the spotlight on the events of 1918. Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer, who just turned 100, will describe her experiences in Berlin in 1938. As well as the the civil rights activist and former federal commissioner for Stasi documents, Roland Jahn, will focus on the year 1989.  President of the Bundesrat Ramelow said in advance: “This fateful day in German history obliges us to take a responsible stand against forgetting history. Our joint commitment to democracy and human rights, to freedom and tolerance is indispensable.”  (Stuttgarter Zeitung, Nov 9)