Rio-Reiser-Platz in Kreuzberg: Berlin honors the "King of Germany"

Heinrichplatz in the middle of Berlin-Kreuzberg is a well-known hot spot.

Rio-Reiser-Platz in Kreuzberg: Berlin honors the "King of Germany"

Heinrichplatz in the middle of Berlin-Kreuzberg is a well-known hot spot. Soon, however, pub-goers and tourists will find it at a new address. The square on Oranienstrasse is renamed in honor of singer Rio Reiser.

A self-proclaimed monarch moves into Berlin-Kreuzberg. The long-awaited event is even being celebrated vigorously in the Kiez, which is still considered left-wing alternative. The musician Rio Reiser, who died almost 26 years ago, gets a place named after him in the heart of SO 36, as the district is still called by many after the old postal delivery area 1000 Berlin 36.

The plans of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district office were published in the Official Journal in April last year. There were four objections from local residents. These were rejected as inadmissible in October.

On the other hand, there have been no complaints with the administrative court within the relevant periods, a spokeswoman said. Thus, Reiser's honor is over. The decision was controversial, for example because the notoriously male-dominated list of streets and squares should actually be loosened up by women's names.

The scene's popular square on Oranienstraße with many pubs, bars and clubs has so far been called Heinrichplatz. It is named after Heinrich von Prussia (1781-1846), a younger brother of King Friedrich Wilhelm III. (1770-1840).

Now the "King of Germany" Rio Reiser is to be celebrated. The new street signs are ready. The district is also expecting Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth on August 21. In the 1980s, the Greens politician was for a while the manager of the political rock band Ton Steine ​​Scherben, whose singer Reiser was before his solo career. For a while she lived with other musicians in a flat-sharing farmhouse in Fresenhagen, North Friesland.

"With this inauguration, we are celebrating Rio Reiser's symbolic return home, to a district that has been his home for years," Roth said of the renaming of the square. "Rio's Kreuzberger time was a creative, rebellious and difficult time, politically, artistically and personally. His private and artistic life was avant-garde in every respect."

According to Roth, it was his political conviction to openly and confidently admit to his own homosexuality. "Like hardly any other artist in Germany, he has shown that the private is political."

Rio Reiser was born Ralph Möbius in Berlin in 1950. From 1970 to 1985 he was the frontman of the rock group Ton Steine ​​Scherben, which drew attention to itself with socially critical and left-wing lyrics. Her best-known songs include "Destroy what destroys you" and "No power for nobody".

After the group disbanded, Reiser pursued a solo career and now also celebrated commercial success with songs like "Junimond" or "König von Deutschland". Reiser died in 1996 at the age of just 46. The official cause of death was circulatory failure due to internal bleeding. First he was buried on his private property in Fresenhagen. In 2011 his body was reburied. Since then it has been in the old St. Matthäus-Kirchhof in Berlin-Schoeneberg. In 2021 Reiser's final resting place was declared a grave of honor by the city of Berlin.

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