July 2020


Eat Me! Ich bin ein Berliner!

Today I crossed a line—an important line—by moving into my own apartment.

I’ve moved from Kreuzberg to Schöneberg, from a hippy-left-wing-trash-on-the-streets, drug-dealers-in-the-park, earthy neighborhood to a more sedate neighborhood where the streets are clean, and it’s quiet.

Seriously, I am sitting at my dining room table, it’s 8:15, and I cannot hear a single stereo. Nor have I seen any drug dealers and deals today. I don’t doubt that there are drug users near by—there’s no escaping that, and quite frankly I don’t care unless they affect my life—but the dealers are either more circumspect or the customers are travelling over to my old neighborhood to buy their drugs.

But enough about that, I started writing this with a purpose in mind, to say Ich bin ein Berliner.

This is, of course, the line made famous by US President John F. Kennedy during his 1963 speech in West Berlin.

Rathaus Schöneberg

Rathaus Schöneberg

Now for the longest time I didn’t know where this speech was given but had I been asked, I would have guessed some place traditionally triumphant, like in front of Brandenburg Tor. Now I know that Brandenburg Tor was in East Berlin, but I imagined that it was like Ronald Reagan’s speech: in front of the wall, but with very, very thick glass protecting the president from East German sharp-shooters.

It turns out I would have been wrong.

John F. Kennedy gave the speech at the Rathaus Schöneberg—that is the Schöneberg City Hall, which is, coincidently a very short walk away from my home.


Eating a Berliner.

I’ve actually visited the Rathaus twice in the last week. Last Thursday after picking up my guest at the airport, we went there and I explained its importance—and then I opened up my bag and pulled out two Berliners: one for each of us.

You see it turns out that the way President Kennedy said it, he actually said “I am a jelly filled donut.”

Today I returned to the Rathaus in the late afternoon, and thanks to having booked an appointment online I was there for no more than 15 minutes. I registered my presence, but my German was really lacking since I had just finished moving and was exhausted—and the lady nicely switched to English to tell me I needed to sign the form. I should have understood that request, but I didn’t. She also told me that she really liked my t-shirt.

I also asked her to take the photo below because I wanted to mark the day that I became, in my own way, a Berliner with a home.


Right after my Anmeldung into Schöneberg.

Ich bin Berliner.

12 comments to Eat Me! Ich bin ein Berliner!

  • mateo

    Congrats, Adam! I also like the shirt…very cool!

  • cv79

    Your t-shirt is very cool. May I ask where you got it?

    • I picked the t-shirt up at Tegel Airport three or four years ago from the magazine/gift shop at the high end of the A-terminal. It’s one of the few non-food and non-reading things I’ve ever bought at an airport.

  • I thought that in Berlin jelly donuts were called Pfannkuchen instead of Berliner…

    Could you now please have your picture taken eating a Currywurst?

  • Michele J

    Movin’ on up, to the east side… Congrats Adam. FWIW I think the younger Willy Brandt was hot.

  • Welcome to Berlin Adam. Settle in, it grows on you even more!

    Scott’s got it right. That’s what is so funny about it. The rest of Germany calls the jelly donut a Berliner… here in Berlin we eat Pfannkuchen.
    Poor JFK. But it was a sweet speech.

    I volunteer to be the photographer of the Currywurst event… I even have the perfect place – Curry 36 in Kreuzberg!

  • I had heard the same thing but also heard it was an urban legend.



  • Bravo, sire!

    And consider Berlin warned!

  • Martin – Thanks!

    Mateo – Thanks!

    Cliff1976 – Vielen Dank!

    Scott – Perhaps in the past, but I bought these at a shop and specifically asked for Berliners. I can’t help but feel that the name’s been changed because of JFK.

    Michele J – He is a hottie!

    Snooker in Berlin – As I noted before, I think the Berliner name works here now, thanks to JFK. The Berliners were even labeled Berliner at the bakery I visited.

    MT – Thanks!

    Yelli – Dammit! I can’t handle the truth. 🙁

    Nonickname – Danke!