Friday, April 1, 2011

Why The City of Berlin Should Buy Tacheles and Preserve it as A Public Resource

My German Friends

As a scholar, and cultural activist, who has developed a deep affection for the City of Berlin, I would like to urge that the City of Berlin purchase the land on which Tacheles is located at the upcoming auction in April. Tacheles is not only a tremendous economic and cultural resourcefor the City of Berlin, it has been a source of inspiration for arts groups around the world seeking creative use of once abandoned urban space

I have seen this operate first hand when a musical group I helped bring to Berlin, Rebel Diaz, who performed several times at Cafe Zapata in Tacheles decided, upon their return to the Bronx, to transform an abandoned candy factory in the South Bronx into a community arts space. This has been repeated by arts groups around the world. Tacheles is an international symbol of popular creativity in the face of political upheaval and economic hardship. To artists and cultural workers, it is as important a symbol of Berlin as the Tower or the Brandenburg Gate

To allow this incredible cultural space to fall into the hands of developers and be transformed into an upscale shopping center or luxury hotel would

be an unspeakable tragedy, a negation of the creative spirit that has transformed Berlin the premier cultural center in Europe. It would also deprive Berlin of a precious cultural

resource, a center of artistic and musical create and a symbol of a heroic period in the global struggle for Democracy when ordinary people took history

into their own hands

So my German friends, please make sure that Tacheles survives in its current form, as a public resource. Now, with the global economiccrisis creating vacant commercial spaces crying out for creative uses, we need Tacheles more than ever


Mark D Naison Phd

Professor of African American Studies and History

Fordham University,

Principal Investigator, Bronx African American History Project

Founding Member, Bronx Berlin Youth Exchange.

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