Shitstorm after renaming: The Augsburg hotel “Drei Mohren” becomes “Maximilian’s

On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, the director of the “Drei Mohren” Hotel in Augsburg, Theodor Gandenheimer, let the cat out of the bag: the hotel in the city center is to be renamed “Maximilian’s”. “It’s a contemporary name to appeal to guests from all over the world and all cultures,” says Gandenheimer. In the social networks, many see things differently.

Hotel Drei Mohren Augsburg
Augsburg’s “Drei Mohren” hotel becomes “Maximilian’s”
Mattes/CC BY 2.0 DE

The debate about the name “Three Moors” began in July 2018: At that time the Augsburg Amnesty International youth group had started a petition to rename the hotel. “Mohr” was an outdated term for black people and was used to devalue the hotel over time. Therefore the term is to be classified as racist.

Petition after discussion

The petition was preceded by a conversation with the hotel management, which announced that the stereotypical heads would be removed from the logo. However, they wanted to stick to the name. This eventually led to the Amnesty International petition.

This was followed by a huge media response, from which the youth group hoped for a constructive dialogue on the subject of racism and coming to terms with Germany’s colonial history. However, this did not happen, according to Amnesty International Augsburg.

“The social media showed an accumulation of disparaging comments and insults against the members of the youth group,” criticized Amnesty International. Three articles and a comment in the Augsburger general one started a Shitstorm against the youth group and supporters: inside.

Many of the comments in the social networks showed at that time lack of understanding for the petition and found the request exaggerated. Similar comments can be found today also under the announcement of the hotel to change its name finally nevertheless.

Sudden change of mind

But where did the change of heart come from two years later? “We have decided that we are responding to social change with a new name,” Gandenheimer said in the announcement. One reason could also have been the departure of the black American singer Sidonie Smith last summer, who left the hotel early in horror when she saw the racist logos. In her original post the musical actress wrote that she was told that this was just tradition.

Tradition would also be expressed by the new name “Maximilian’s”, Gandenheimer emphasizes. It is named after Maximilian I, who is of outstanding significance for Augsburg’s history. In addition, one of the hotel restaurants is already named after Maximilian.

While the Ausgburg city councillor Frederik Hintermayr (Die LINKE) welcomed the hotel’s move, there were numerous comments on the hotel’s Facebook page criticising the renaming. There is talk of tradition and history, which comes to an end with this. Others are threatening not to spend the night in the hotel anymore. However, the hotel is sticking to its decision: The name change will be implemented this year.