“A grab at the can”

With a new brochure, the city of Frankfurt wants to woo guests – also for a visit to the red light district of the station quarter. Frankfurt's city dean is outraged and even calls the administration's action a "grab in the toilet".

Interviewer: TheMunicipal Tourism and Congress GmbH would like to attract more visitors to Frankfurt and the station district. There is also a brothel or two there. "If you want to market this city, you have to show the 'rough redlight district' too. It's a case of top or bottom," says the head of tourism to the FAZ. When you think of Frankfurt's station district, many people might have something like a Reeperbahn scenario of Hamburg in mind. Is that really how it is when you walk through the streets? Is there so much red light?

Dr. Johannes zu Eltz (City Dean of Frankfurt): From the red light point of view it is perhaps like on the Reeperbahn. But romantic and so that your heart rises and you like to be there, it is not at all. There the misery predominates and that swells there also from each crack.

Interviewer: There is now a brochure that is to be distributed in the future as an official tourism guide to foreign visitors and at trade fairs in order to promote "hip, trendy Frankfurt. In it, trendy restaurants, brothels and animation bars are advertised. What do you think?
zu Eltz: I am proud of my city and I like living in it. We also have a good, fit and efficient administration, where there is also inherent decency. Measured by this standard, this would be a real grab in the toilet. What the tourist office is doing is totally unacceptable.
Interviewer: You probably weren't asked as a church either, or?
zu Eltz: Not anyway, but you don't have to. But that's why I can give my opinion without being asked. I have to think of what happened in New York in the Gatsby era, when the rich white upper classes from the Upper East Side went to Harlem: Slumming was what they called it there, so going to slums and getting creeped out and then going back home and doing normal things afterwards. I find this peep-show tourism in the Bahnhofsviertel lowly.
Interviewer: One of these brothels has as a unique selling point that only transsexuals work on the fourth floor. Tourism strategists speak of a real marketing factor. The so-called "Bahnhofsviertelacht" in Frankfurt takes place today, with many visitors expected to attend. According to the FAZ, a brothel operator is to open his brothel so that visitors can see what it's like inside. What do you say to it?
zu Eltz: Bahnhofsviertel night has already been a success in recent years. What to say? If it should be so one, then I cannot understand how one can feast on the misery, the need and the exploitation of others. The edge to crime is wide and long. But it gets a new quality by the fact that it is really pushed by the city. This outrages me very much.
Interviewer: What then are the churches doing to minimize the overall misery in Frankfurt's station district?
zu Eltz: The Mother Teresa Sisters, who can be recognized even from a distance, are there with poor-feeding for the drug addicts. There are two prere rooms, in front of which the misery of the long-term addicts then really gathers. Nearby there is a church-inspired tea room, there is from the Protestant colleagues a former deacon church, which is now open to people from the station district. So, there are some offers. But in any case we are not engaged in the glorification of prostitution.

The interview was conducted by Uta Vorbrodt.

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