The oldest and most exclusive hotel in Augsburg, a city of roughly 300,000 inhabitants in the Western Bavarian region of Swabia, finally folded under the pressure of social justice warriors and announced on August 5th 2020, that it give up the name used for over five centuries.
The “Drei Mohren” (Three Moors) survived the devastating Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) and two world wars. Although the building itself was destroyed during a massive Allied bombing raid on February 25th, 1944, business fully resumed in 1956.
As the story goes, an inn was founded in 1344 very close to the present location. In 1495 four dark-skinned monks from Abyssinia were among the first guests to be accommodated there. Their homeland, known as Ethiopia since 1945, officially adopted Christianity as a state religion in 330 and resisted the aggressive expansion of Islam in the region.
When the weather god bad, they decided to make their way home. One of them soon died in the cold, but the compassionate inn´s owner helped the remaining three exotic visitors through the winter. Before their final departure he had a portrait of them painted on a panel, which he then used as an early publicity sign.
The Latin term Maurus, itself derived from the Ancient Greek mauros for “dark”, originally referred to the non-black inhabitants of Mauretania in Northwestern Africa, not to be confused with the modern state of Mauritania.
Sometimes even found in poetry, in German the meaning somehow changed and “Mohr” became a synonym for “African”. It might have been used incorrectly, though without any explicit negative associations.
Nevertheless, in times of growing political correctness, the usual suspects started a long “antiracist” campaign. The management finally got tired of their open hostility. Therefore, it reluctantly decided to adapt to alleged social change, which in reality is just another leftist moral crusade.
At least, the new name “Maximilian’s Hotel” will allow to keep the “M” in the company’s logo and therefore safe costs. The central street where the “Drei Mohren” is located is dedicated to Maximilian I, born in 1756 and King of Bavaria from 1806 to his death in 1825.
As this nobleman belonged to the House of Habsburg, it’s probably only a question of time until somebody takes offense at his alleged imperialist background. Maybe “Drei Mönche“(Three Monks) would have been a better choice? In a secular, increasingly anti-Christian era that’s really hard to predict.
Maybe Augsburg 500 years ago was more cosmopolitan and tolerant than today? If not, how could three Africans become a relevant landmark there for so long? It’s particularly appalling that such campaigns are always started by people with no historical knowledge whatsoever.
How does the often quoted saying go, taken from Friedrich Schiller’s (1759–1805) drama Fiesco’s Conspiracy at Genoa? “The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go!” It’s a sad day for Augsburg, founded more than 2,000 years ago.