In the crime scene “On the Day of Wandering Souls” (Sunday, May 5th, from 8:15 p.m. on Erste), Mark Waschke (52) as Robert Karow and Corinna Harfouch (69) alias Susanne Bonard investigate the Vietnamese community in Berlin. Their second joint case takes the detectives to a pagoda in the Lichtenberg district, where “the souls of the ancestors have their place.” However, the building is threatened with demolition, which hits a sore spot for Karow. Does this cultural center of Vietnamese culture really exist in Berlin?

The Pho Da Pagoda is actually located in the middle of the Lichtenberg district of Hohenschönhausen. It is one of three Vietnamese pagodas in the capital. For over 15 years, the Vietnamese community has been gathering here to commemorate their dead. The members meet here on Sundays to pray and eat together – the ingredients for the dishes grow in the garden next to the building. They meet to hold their death and birth rituals. And just like in the “Tatort” there are problems here too: the real pagoda has also been threatened with demolition for a long time.

The cultural site is only “tolerated” by the city, but is not approved. The Vietnamese have been arguing about their religious house for years: because it is located on commercial land and therefore does not comply with German planning law, it should disappear. This is reported, among others, by the Berlin daily newspaper “taz”.

In December 2023, the application for closure was withdrawn again and the toleration was extended until 2026. Until then, there should be a long-term solution for the pagoda and its ancestral altars. Perhaps the insight into Vietnamese life in the “crime scene” – after all, director Mira Thiel and her team were allowed to film at the real Vu Lan Festival on “Day of Wandering Souls” – can contribute something to the debate.