Russian composer wins Berlin change of ‘racist’ street name

Russian composer wins Berlin change of ‘racist’ street name


norman lebrecht

July 05, 2020

The Berlin transport authority is planning to rename the Mohrenstraße metro station after a nearby street, Glinkastraße.

Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka was a controversy-free Russian composers.

BLM protesters have claimed that Mohrenstraße (Moor Street) is insulting to people of North African origin.

Next they’ll be rewriting Shakespeare and Verdi’s Otello.


  • RW2013 says:

    Ending a debate lasting since the 1990s –ße_(Berlin)
    Glinka lived the last months of his life close by (in the Glinkastraße which crosses the Mohrenstraße).
    Only the metro station will be renamed. It seems as if the street will retain it’s offensive name (until further notice).

    • V. Lind says:

      God help Market Jew Street in Penzance — the anti- crowd will probably not check the actual provenance of the name.

  • John Borstlap says:

    A bizarre form of PC protest….. the description ‘moor’ has, in itself, nothing racist about it, and is nowadays never used to relate to N-African people, it is a historic term.

    N-African people in Berlin should be proud of the Mohrenstrasse:

    “The intellectual achievements of the Moors in Spain had a lasting effect; education was universal in Moorish Spain, while in Christian Europe, 99 percent of the population was illiterate, and even kings could neither read nor write. At a time when Europe had only two universities, the Moors had seventeen, located in Almeria, Cordova, Granada, Juen, Malaga, Seville, and Toledo.”

    The derogatory meaning of the word only got some prominence during the colonial era (16th century). But even then, N-Africans could still find respected positions in Christian Europe. In England there were so many of them that Queen Elisabeth I felt the need to do something about it:

    Reactions to racism should be based upon knowledge, and not mere populist attention seeking which undermines the cause.

  • christopher storey says:

    That will be the North African population which invaded and enslaved Southern Spain in the Middle Ages will it ?

    • John Borstlap says:

      The moors did not ‘enslave Spain’, but installed an enlightened regime where Christians, Muslims and Jews could live in peace and even intermarry. The reconquest by the Christians resulted in severe suppression of both Muslims and Jews, all in the name of the universal love of Christ.

    • Tamino says:

      The Moores enslaved Spain just like Europeans invaded and enslaved America.
      I think all references to America should be deleted everywhere.

  • Eduardo says:

    Dear Christopher,
    enslaved southern Spain???? this is news to my jewish ancestors who used to be advisers to the arab rulers…….


    During the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra European tour my wife and I had dessert in Vienna’s famous Cafe Demel. She had “Mohr Im Hemd” (Moor in His [white] Shirt). I guess they would have to rename that, too.

    • V. Lind says:

      When I was last in Cuba one of the standard meals of the poor was “Moros y Cristianos: (beans and rice).

      What are we going to do about José Limon’s exquisite little ballet, The Moor’s Pavane? I remember seeing Nureyev perform it in Hong Kong on a late leg of his “farewell” tour. (Can’t remember if he “blacked up”).

    • John Borstlap says:

      In the small village of Kircherhofen in Upper-Austria they served Schwarzer Küss, a local very popular sweet kind of dark rye bread, up till last month when the entire village was arrested and put into jail for refusing to rename their traditional dish. The empty dwelling, picturesque spot in a romantic alpine valley, has since been designated as an abode for Syrian refugees, who enthusiastically began to produce the very same dish because it reminded them of the Ma’arouk of their homeland:

      So, in the end equilibrium was restored together with the dish, without racist overtones.

  • James Weiss says:

    One wonders where this will all end? Will some not be happy until Western Civilisation is completely erased?

  • PaulD says:

    Any chance of their renaming the Eissler music school? After all, it is named for a communist who wrote the music to the national anthem of a murderous regime.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Will the Hungarian composer, pianist and inventor Emánuel Moór (1863-1931) have to change his name posthumously?

  • According to Wiki, “Moor” descends from “Mauretania”

    Odd that they should be named after an ocean liner.

  • Hermann the German says:

    Cant we solve the whole matter like the Brits tried to do it in the TV comedy The Overzealous Policeman many years ago?


    My well-informed confidential sources categorically deny that any plans to rename the famed Viennese dessert “Mohr im Hemd” are in the works. The extensive research of the Austrian Imperial Archives has revealed that the creator of this delicious concoction was none other than Ludwig van Beethoven himself, a premier gourmet of his time, in whose honor this remarkable dessert was named, thus giving further credence to the popular theory about the famous composer being of North African descent.

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