Berlin gripped by family feud over sausages

BERLIN Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:57pm IST

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Call it the battle of the bangers. A family feud over sausage succession rights is adding some spice to Berlin's summer.

This week, after months of bitter legal wrangling with his mother, Mario Ziervogel opened a fast-food outlet serving Berlin's famous dish, the currywurst - fried pork sausage sliced up and smothered in ketchup and curry powder.

His shop is just a few blocks away from his family's restaurant, Konnopke's Imbiss, one of the city's most famous eateries because it was the first to introduce the currywurst to then-communist East Berlin in 1960.

Hungry Berliners would queue for up to an hour to buy the spicy sausage in communist times and Konnopke's remains a popular tourist destination to this day.

Ziervogel's mother Waltraud, 76, has sued him for wanting to name his new outlet "Ziervogel's Cult Curry - since 1960". Her lawyer Fabian Tietz argued that the son, 48, was not even born in 1960, let alone serving sausages.

The local court ruled on Tuesday that Ziervogel could keep the name for his new restaurant but must drop the year.

"In this regard, Ziervogel was anti-competitive," Tietz told Reuters. "We are glad that we won."

The son's lawyer, Christian Weizberg, also claimed victory, saying the mother had also wanted to prevent him naming his shop Ziervogel's Cult Curry.

At the court hearing, Waltraud Ziervogel revoked her son's inheritance rights and said she would hand over the reins of the family business instead to her daughter.

"In the end, it will be for the clients to decide whose currywurst tastes better," said Weizberg.

On Thursday, under the headline "The new currywurst invasion", Germany's best-selling daily Bild said four new outlets serving the snack, including Ziervogel's, had opened in Berlin in the past week alone.

The dish is said to have been invented by the late Herta Heuwer in 1949 after she obtained ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers based in West Berlin.

(Reporting by Sophie Duvernoy; Editing by Gareth Jones and Pravin Char)

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