Germany has its first black mayor. The 40-year-old John Ehret, whose father was an African-American soldier and mother a native German, won the local elections in the small village of Mauer near Heidelberg on June 1st, Der Spiegel reported. With the election Germany has joined the ranks of other European countries.
Ehret who used to work for Germany’s equivalent of the FBI, the BKA, won in the town of 4000 inhabitants despite almost no campaigning. But Ehret profited from the “Obama” effect. Although he didn’t want to use his skin colour in his campaign, he did use the slogan “Yes we can” on his facebook page.
The new mayor didn't have a good start in life. The only thing knows about his African-American father is that he was stationed as a US soldier in Karlsruhe. His mother suffered a brain tumour when he was a toddler and gave him up to a children’s home at the age of two. At the age of six he was adopted by the Ehret family from Mauer.
In Mauaer he grew up as the only black resident and became star in the local football team. He was named Pelé, after the famous Brazilian soccer star.
Ehret insists he’s never experienced discrimination in Germany. He says his skin colour was never an issue – either in Germany or in the many places he’s travelled to as a member of the BKA, where he was its first black employee.
Tahir Della, chairman of the Black People in Germany Initiative, said, “Before Ehret there weren’t any black mayors in Germany.” There was however a mayor of Indian descent in an eastern German town in 1993.
But in spite being the first black mayor in Germany he doesn’t want to be a role model. “For that I feel I’m too German,” he said.
Read the full story at The Local
Update: According to an anonymous comment on Afro-Europe there have been black Mayors in former East Germany (GDR). He/she writes: "Steffen Gloge, is mentioned in this article, equally from 1993: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13681666.html (but of them in villages in the former GDR, by the way). As for the mentioning of Hans Eisold, who is said to have been mayor in Krumhermsdorf in 1948 (!!) I didn’t find an additional source yet ..."
Anonymous, thanks for the information!