From the Ausländerbeirat…

When the Ausländerbeirat met on Monday, 4th November, 2013, there were a number of guests present.

And it was one of those guests who asked the question, that I have been trying to answer for the past year: “Womit beschäftigen Sie sich immer?” – the ominous “what do you do?”

One of the things that the committee had been dealing with was the issue of taking rubbish to the tip (“Bauhof”), where a policy has been introduced of asking for ID to prove that those going there are also resident in Oberursel.

The point was raised, that foreign nationals do not have ID cards showing an address in the town, and one member of the committee reported how it took her quarter of an hour to get in.

Admittedly, she had refused to show her car registration document, which – according to the Thomas Eifert, the committee’s contact in the town hall, is sufficient.  Other documents, such as a bill for land owner’s tax, are also acceptable.  But that is not something that is usually kept in the car.  The committee therefore decided to make an official request for a list of accepted documents.

Once they have it, it will be distributed to the local press.  Stay tuned to our newsletter!

Finally, a member of the Ahmadiyya community requested a non-public meeting with the committee to discuss plans for a mosque in the town.  This was met with the question, why it could not be public, and ironically the committee members are no longer able to attend the non-public meetings of the building sub-committee where any land purchases would normally be discussed.

Moving on, and committee member Chantal Le Nestour pointed out that the committee had not received an answer to its request for information about the Muslim Barbeque issue in the previous meeting, in fact there were no messages from the town’s administration at all.

However Thomas Eifert had news about the committee’s current expenditure.  So far this year, they have spent around €100 of their €2,500 budget.  With only a few weeks to go, they have decided to order themselves calling cards, although not only were they unable to agree how many to order, I hope that the members of the committee do not change again too soon, or the money will have been wasted.

There was some discussion about the committee’s homepage, with one in Marburg being cited as a good example.  However in this case, Thomas Eifert admitted to not understanding much about the workings of such things.

The proposed closure of the youth centre (“Jugendtreff”) in Weißkirchen was also discussed, an issue it was felt was relevant to the committee because of the large number of children and teenagers who go there with foreign backgrounds.

Chairman Dr. Franz Zenker promised to make this known at the next meeting of the finance sub-committee.

Finally, the reports from other sub-committees were presented, although for the social and culture sub-committee the members were referred to the minutes.

Dr. Zenker gave a detailed report of the planning committee and also of the finance sub-committee, although the information seemed to be sufficient so that further discussion of the points was not deemed necessary.

However when it came to looking forward to the next planning committee meeting, it was Thomas Eifert who took on the job of explaining one of the plans and Dr. Zenker the other.  The official representative, Giannoula Kalargali, was unable to do so, because she had come directly from work and “had nothing with her”.

Why that should be a problem, I do not know, because all of the documents were available on at least two other iPads on the table.  Then again, two days later she did not attend the planning committee meeting anyway.

Which brings me back to the question asked at the beginning of the evening:  “What do you do?”


About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. Sorry, the information that members of the Ausländerbeirat “are no longer able to attend the non-public meetings of the building sub-committee where any land purchases would normally be discussed” is wrong. They can attend any time when the committee chairman decides that genuine tasks of the Ausländerbeirat are touched. Matters of the committees have to be discussed in public. The only exceptions are when the protection of personal rights overweighs the public interest. The building of a mosque is public interest anyway.

    • I am aware that the chairman takes the ultimate decision on that matter, but when the announcement was made on 26th August Christof Fink was present and made it clear that land purchases and sales were not topics that this would apply to, even if the purchaser or seller was a foreign national or company, as the nationality was not relevant to the sale and therefore it was not something for the Ausländerbeirat. (see: Öffentliche Niederschrift 26.08.2013 TOP 6.1)

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