[B] Squatting action Franz-Künstler-Straße

[B] Hausbesetzung in der Franz-Künstler-Straße

We squatted a house. Now it is empty again. It is empty while people are living on the street because of evictions. It is empty while refugees are living under inhumane conditions. It is empty while many people cannot afford to pay their rent anymore. It is empty while people get lonely and desperate. [deutsche Version]


We are friends,  neighbours and people who are living in this city (with and without the experience of a life with refugee status). We wanted the house for a self organized house  project. We squatted this house for living together ́ in a community, to break isolation and political chains. For acting in solidarity and to develop emancipatory  perspectives. To get us out of a defensive position. To stop the criminalization of refugees, for example by putting them in Lager. We want a life in dignity for  everyone, not one where people ́s lives can be illegalized.

We are tired of politicians' empty promises. Their only solution is listing people ́s names and offering accommodations under the same conditions as in the Lager. That is no solution. It is part of the problem! What happened?

Because of these reasons we decided to squat the house in Franz-Künstler-Straße in Kreuzberg. Meanwhile, there was a demonstration going on for the application §23 AufenthGXXX and against the announced eviction of the occupied school in Ohlauer Straße. When demonstrators wanted to get to the squatted building, four people got arrested. The police acted very violently and it seems that one person was beaten up. Others reached the building and started a blockade in front oft the entrance. Neighbours and people participating in the demonstration arrived and showed their solidarity strongly. With the blockade they protected the building from being evicted for this moment. Many more protesters from outside the ground were trying to join, but the arriving police did not let them pass, so they stayed on the street in front of the property.

At first the police was confused, but soon they surrounded the building. After some time Jana Brökmann, the financially responsible person of the district and therefore legal owner of the building and Hans Pannhof, Bezirksstadtrat of Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain, asked us to start negotiations with them. We decided to invite Canan Bayram (Die Grünen), who was present the whole time, and Jana Brökmann to speak inside of the building. We did not agree to talk to Pannhof because of a lack of confidence. With the example of the school he already showed us in the past that he is not willing to keep his promises. Furthermore we demanded that the police would not enter and should stop surrounding the building.

Also we asked for our lawyer, but for a long time the police did not let him pass to the house. During the negotiations the police kept surrounding the house with dogs, while the supporting group in front of the door kept up the blockade.

From the beginning on Brökmann told us that we could not stay in the building, not even until possible negotiations on the next day. The main reason was that the fire protection inside is not working. But that, if we would like to, we could raise 5 Million Euro which the renovation would cost – since the district seems not to have the money to do it. In general Brökmann stated that she likes the concept that we presented about how we would like to use the house, but also that in this building it would not be possible and that at the moment there are no other free buildings in Kreuzberg owned by the district.

So we had two possibilities: To be evicted by force and expect repression or to go outside before midnight without getting our identities taken down. The second possibility included further negotiations with Jana Brökmann on Monday, 16.6. Also we demanded our right for a spontaneous demonstration to Kottbusser Tor after leaving the building.During the negotiations we were put under time pressure constantly. If we wouldn ́t have decided quickly the police would have evicted us by force. In the end we decided to go out to avoid a violent eviction. It was no free decision. We went outside to join the blockade in front of the door and started a loud demonstration together. The police seemed to be aggressive but nobody was arrested.

In the house in Franz-Künstler-Straße, there would have been space for flats, language courses, a neigbourhood-cafe, cinema, concerts, political and cultural events, easily accessible counseling, Vokü and everything what we consider as sensefull or XXXXXwhich ideas we want to try to realize - it could have been a place with the possibility to XXXXgestalten our own lives, far away from the reality of Lager where there is not even the space to try it.

This house would have given us the opportunity to act against the present circumstances and for change. It would have been an XXXX„exterritorial space“, where people could have been save from racist controls for example and where it wouldn ́t matter if or which kind of passport a person has. But the fact that we could not stay in this house does not mean that there is no possibility to create these kind of places.

Politicians do not just want to evict buildings like the school in Ohlauer Straße or the house we squatted yesterday. In our opinion they want to evict movements, they want to evict the possibility of free decision making and self-organization. They are sneaking out of their responsibility on the cost of marginalized people.

Stop deportations!
Stop forced evictions, stop Zwangsräumungen!
Free spaces, no Lager!
This is our city, these are our lives!
Freedom is not given to us, we have to take it!

Squattinggroup, Berlin, Juni 2014