The east of berlin aint "dangerous",
like some of the People above me wrote, I am from BERLIN and this kind of "half-knowledge"
realy pisses me of, cuz it simply aint the truth.
First of all, most of u guys forgot that eastern districts like "friedrichshain", "Prenzlauer berg"
are the places to be if you are interessted in berlins nightlife, art and music.
Furhter i would like to commit that most of berlins skinheads are actually anti-racist,
( "Berlin got one of the biggest antiracist skineheadscenes all over Europe")
Even tho im very "amused" about all this dont go to "east-berlin" crap.
First of all i am a skinhead from east-berlin, i got a lot of colored friends living next to me and i havent seen someone gettin beaten up for things like Religion, Race or what ever since many many years. I dont want to say that there are actually no "dangerous" spots in Berlin but u can find em in WEST and EAST Berlin / Subburb and inner city.
Berlin is a multicult. city with growing differences between "rich" and "poor" people, and this is (like everywhere else)
the only reason why some areas arent as safe as others.
Today the chance of gettin beaten by anyone for being black,chinese,Polish or what ever is much smaller then the Chance of gettin robbed cuz someone likes your mobile phone :P
So before telling ppl not to visit East Berlin or places like Berlin-Ostbahnhof
( wich is actually a joke if you are talking about neo nazis, cuz this district is "dominated"
by people from the mid east / russia / serbia and so on )
what about telling them about "real" dangers like gettin robbed in Neukölln or Tempelhof ?
Just dont Judge people for theyr outfit or the fact that u cant understand
(or dont know *** about ) theyr way of life, like u dont want to be judged by others aswell.
so what about a lil. bit more respect and tolerance ?
Thatz all folks, have a nice stay in Berlin and collect your "own" impressions.
Just be careful also when labeling people. Not all skins are racists...some of them are quite the opposite. In fact, I'd say less than 30% are racists. And you won't look very smart when you're gobbing at someone who you think is going to beat you up cos your black or a turk, when the poor guy is probably just some football hooligan. Skinheads orginated in England in the 60's as a counter-cultural move against the Torries, Maggie, and poshies who didn't give a damn about the poor. Skinheads more or less lived in Jamaican dancehalls (and football stadiums) when they weren't working...which, if I'm not mistaken...would be full of Jamaicans...who are BLACK. It's got nothing to do with racism. Skinhead today are about music, footie, and ale. "Neo-nazis" adopted the look because it was tough...and mean looking. So, my warning tip would be: Don't judge a book by it's cover, because you're more often likely to get it all wrong.
While there are many foreigners in Berlin, they do not tend to mix with so much outside of their neighborhoods or groups (one exception is Kreuzberg). If you are darker people will stare and point at you in the all-German neighborhoods. Things are always getting better, but I still get surprised or offended at things that people around me say. It is a very safe city, but do be aware that there are skinheads and racists.
Don't go off wandering in the poorer areas of East Berlin. Skinhead activity is growing, and you never know what kind of mood they might be in. Just be careful. And remember: It's still safer than Atlanta.
You must be aware that if you are a minority person, especially when it comes to racial extraction other than European, you have to be cautious in Berlin and certain parts of the former East Germany. I had some serious and embarrassing incidents in the train, at the border check in point. When I was coming in from Poland. I did feel the strong racial discriminatory overtones from the German officials. Bad habits are hard to loose, I guess.