Berlin was as busy as ever in 2015, and 11 issues of Exberliner have the proof. Among all our stories big and small, these are the ones that stood out, either because they were uniquely moving, unusual even for Berlin's standards or under-reported elsewhere in the media. Here are our top stories from last year. Do you agree? Is there something we missed? Tell us in the comment section...
Asked why she didn’t have the blurred, bluegreen SS tattoo on her left arm removed: “Why should I do more pain to myself? I forgive Hitler, I forgive Mengele... I forgive them all.” Photo by Robin Orlando
Last year marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Eva Kor knows the camp well: as a little girl, she and her twin sister Miriam were subjected to the gruesome experiments of Josef Mengele. She returned on a quest that brought her on an unexpected and controversial path: forgiveness.
Photos by Jason Harrell
What does it mean to be a trans man? What does it mean to be a man at all? In our April queer issue, Jayrôme, Finn and Skyler shared their perspectives on masculinity.
Photo by Rosalind O'Connor
On October 11, Berlin said goodbye to its last-ever "city bear" – a 34-year-old named Schnute, kept in a special cage in Mitte. Three months earlier, we reported on the animal rights activists and "friends" battling over the old bear's life.
Photo by Francesca Torricelli
This past summer, Roma colonies – originally a phenomenon confined to Neukölln – sprouted up across Berlin, with cynical speculators using Roma migrants to drive out long-term, low-rent tenants and transform their properties into top-end luxury flats. One example: Grunewaldstraße 87 in Schöneberg.
Illustration by Pol Guillen
Is it safe to wear a kippa in Neukölln? Anti-Israel protests and headlines about "no-go zones" have sparked new debate on the nature and reality of anti-Semitism in Berlin and triggered uncomfortable questions on the dangers of scapegoating the Muslim minority. We tackled the issue in our October Jewish issue.
Top interviews of 2015
Aside from gripping reportage and investigative journalism, Exberliner met up with some of Berlin's most fascinating personalities this year, from Germany's queen of rock to a Ukrainian doctor thrust from Prenzlauer Berg onto the front lines of war in his home country.
Photo by Esther Haase
Germany's never lost its love for the girl behind "99 Luftballons" (and so much more!). With this year's new album Oldschool touching on her past, Nena opened up to us about now, then and her West Berlin musical roots.
After 17 years of dedication to his Berlin patients, his band and his army wear shop, Ukrainian doctor Sergey Steuer suddenly got caught up by the politics of his home country. He embarked on a mission that would take him from the barricades on Maidan square to the front lines in Donbass.
Photo by Francesca Torricelli
In a breakthrough like no other, American-born author Nell Zink skyrocketed from obscurity to literary phenomenon in less than two years. The eccentric expat novelist and “next big thing” chatted with us about her meteoric rise, sex as a fiftysomething, and the stuffiness of Berlin’s American Academy.
Photo by Viktor Richardsson
Ever wonder what it was like to be a Jew in East Germany? After fleeing Nazi Germany as a child, Salomea Genin returned to the land of her birth to live in East Berlin, expecting a utopia free of anti-Semitism – an illusion that would soon shatter.
Photo by Viktor Richardsson. Makeup by Magdalena Cichonska /MC Artist
Born here in Berlin, Blixa Bargeld has been making thunderous sounds since Einstürzende Neubauten was founded in 1980. With wild performances and ear-shattering records like Halber Mensch, Haus der Lüge, Alles Wieder Offen and many more, his band redrew the boundaries of popular music. He spoke to us about Neubauten's latest magnum opus Lament.