From the Berlin-based newspaper taz, never shy to use unusual language, comes this fragment:

Damit wären wir bei der anderen Seite: Ich wünsche jedem islamischen Vorbeter und seinem Nachbeter, der der Verurteilung des Mordes ein „Aber“ hinterherschiebt, lebenslang Dresden an den Hals.

The author wishes those islamists Dresden an den Hals. From context, that is clearly something undesirable. Literally it means Dresden at the throat. But what does it mean really?


4 Answers 4


He uses Dresden as Pest is used in:

jemandem die Pest an den Hals wünschen

which means to curse somebody, because Pegida is a Dresdner-born islamophobic movement. And because these 'wishes' are directed to those who dare justifying the Charlie Hebdo attack with an "aber", that make sense.

It's just a firm, if somehow hilarious, way to condemn assassination – unconditionally.

  • 1
    after reading the linked article I understood your answer. Do you think you can write more details to "catch" future reader by "puzzling" the facts / relevant points together without using metaphoric description? I don't wanna copy your answer just for that. My "linguistic knowledge" is that an "aber" usually negates the previous statement. Sep 2, 2019 at 13:35
  • @ShegitBrahm Why not? All answers here are quite incomplete. As the writers seem to have low interest in explanation, go ahead, add your aspects in your own answer. Sep 2, 2019 at 16:38
  • 1
    @ShegitBrahm I don't see dichotomy leading to you copying an answer if I don't complete mine. Why don't just adding a new answer completely of yours?
    – c.p.
    Sep 2, 2019 at 21:10
  • @ShegitBrahm If you decide to write your own A, be sure to also include the really ugly sides of "Dresden". not really grouping the Yücel-article really in the kind and friendly camp, but explicating local realities, alluded to, culminating in the not so isolated case of Marwa al-Sherbini, which is just one example, but an important one. Sep 2, 2019 at 23:38

I suppose the TAZ is referring to the PEGIDA (1), which are espcially successful in Dresden.

(1) "Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes" (Wikipedia)


In the sentence

Ich wünsche ihm lebenslang Dresden an den Hals.

the name Dresden is used in analogy to a punishment or similar bad thing.

Furthermore, the analogy is based on a contamination or blending of two expressions:


lebenslang Dresden
lebenslang Gefängnis (life imprisonment)


Ich wünsche ihm Dresden an den Hals.
Ich wünsche ihm die Pest an den Hals. (jemandem die Pest an den Hals wünschen is an idiomatic expression for ‘to curse somebody’)


lebenslang Dresden + Ich wünsche ihm Dresden an den Hals.
Ich wünsche ihm lebenslang Dresden an den Hals.


There is an even darker possible interpretation of "Dresden" as a bad thing to happen to someone - the allied bombing raids on Dresden in WW2 and the resulting catastrophe. Someone not aware of the Dresden-Pegida context would not unlikely assume that interpretation.

  • 1
    My thoughts, also. Dresden is ambigous. Sep 3, 2019 at 9:53
  • But the article mentions repetitively Pegida. The paragraph cannot be (unambiguously) analyzed outside that context.
    – c.p.
    Sep 3, 2019 at 11:14
  • Not even every German would associate Pegida with Dresden - especially those that merely consider Pegida a very ephemeral organisation that does not matter. Sep 3, 2019 at 11:46

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