Since the start of the summer bathing season, violence and sexual assaults at Germany’s public swimming pools by the country’s migrant community have made national headlines and become a red-hot topic. Now, one of Germany’s top newspapers has attempted to explain away the violence due to rising french fry prices.
“The price of fries is rising in outdoor pools. It’s a tragedy — they’re one of the mainstays of summer. No wonder many bathers go nuts,” reads the article from Zeit. The article proceeds to glorify french fries as a staple of every German’s swimming experience and makes further claims about what kind of effect rising prices are having on “unrest” in the pool system.
Many in Germany were quick to pounce on the article. After all, there have been serious incidents inside Germany’s swimming pools, including seven girls who were sexually assaulted in the course of two days at just one location. To critics of the french fry theory behind pool violence, using such a claim to explain severe sexual assault or riots took the debate to a new level of absurdity.
Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD), which is currently the second most popular party in Germany after soaring in the polls — in part due to its strong anti-immigration stance — has been hammering the political and journalist class on the chaos seen at some of the country’s swimming pools.
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Many worry that these swimming pools may need police protection to function
“Zeit blames ‘french fry prices’ for violence and sexual assaults in outdoor pools, ZDF claims an interplay of heat and the meeting of many people, Deutschlandfunk writes about too high ‘expectations’ that cannot be met. The degree to which the media trivializes migration problems no longer knows any limits,” wrote Alice Weidel, parliamentary leader of the AfD party.
The AfD leader was likely referring to an article from last year, which claimed that climate change and associated temperature increases could explain away the violence at Germany’s swimming complexes. At the same time, Deutchlandfunk argued that bathers had expectations that were impossible to meet, which was sparking mass violence.
However, the actual workers at the swimming pools have offered an entirely different reason for the increasing violence. Just last week, employees of the Columbiabad outdoor swimming complex in Berlin penned a letter to the Der Tagesspiegel newspaper complaining about perpetrators they describe as “mainly Arab migrants and Chechens” who are engaging in the sexual harassment of women and mass brawls on the premises, while also leaving the complexes in disgusting conditions. As a result, the entire pool was shut down for an indefinite period of time due to workers calling out sick from stress.
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Remix News has long reported on this trend, including mass brawls and sexual assaults, as well as attacks on police, security officials and even lifeguards working at the pools.
In 2022, Remix News covered how the president of the Federal Association of German Swimming Champions (BDS), Peter Harzheim, said he can no longer recommend that families visit such facilities on weekends. Harzheim claimed he would be “acting irresponsibly” if he attended an outdoor pool with his own three grandchildren due to violence and assaults, which the Remix News article details.
Some individuals have been seriously injured. Last year, for example, a woman had her nose broken when she was caught in the middle of a mass brawl involving foreigners.
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Another outbreak of mob violence and disorder at Berlin’s increasingly dangerous public swimming pools
The beginning of this year’s summer bathing season has seen another wave of mass brawls, and this time, a variety of news services have seen ratings successes in their coverage, including a video from Welt that garnered over half a million views.
Welt’s report details how the entire Columbiadamm swimming pool in the multicultural neighborhood of Neukölln, Berlin, was closed down due to over 40 warring youth. Welt lays the blame squarely at the feet of “macho culture” from immigrant youth. In Pankow, a swimming pool had to be shut down twice in one week due to mass brawls between young people.
In the German city of Celle, 20 “rampaging youth” attacked swimmers and sexually assaulted them, including beating one female who rejected their advances. When lifeguards attempted to stop them, they threatened them as well. As a result, the entire swimming pool was shut down.
Now, Germany’s left-wing government is proposing around-the-clock police forces at problem locations and increased security screening. However, the AfD has called for stronger borders for Germany in order to have no “borders” at Germany’s beloved public swimming pools.