In the evening of Friday the 22nd of August 2014, activists occupied the former St. Albertus Magnus church in Dortmund which was unused for over 7 years. Only minutes after the occupation was made public, nearly 40 supporters came to the area and held a gathering in front of the church in solidarity with the project and the squatters. Of course, it didn’t take long before the cops also arrived at the location, but they didn’t attempt to raid the building, and instead controlled the supporters outside. The next day, a priest in charge of matters of the church building spoke to the squatters and stated he will tolerate the occupation for one week. Immediately activists began to form work groups, trying to renovate the building to establish a social center. Read the rest of this entry
The resistance of a group of refugees against the eviction of an occupied school building in Berlin is exemplary of migrant struggles across Europe.
For eight days, a small group of about forty refugees from different but mostly African countries have been occupying the roof of a vacant school building in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood. The former Gerhart Hauptmann School on Ohlauer Strasse had been home to more than two hundred people since October last year, ever since a nationwide wave of refugee protests culminated in a six-hundred kilometer long protest march from the Bavarian town of Würzburg to the center of the country’s capital, Berlin. The refugees first set up camp at the central Oranienplatz, and later moved on to occupy the vacant school building where they were holding up, awaiting the slow processing of their asylum applications. Read the rest of this entry
East Berlin’s squatter movement erupted across the city after the fall of the wall in 1989. But what role did housing activists in the 1980s play in shaping an alternative vision for the contemporary city?
In September 1988, an anonymous report appeared in the East German underground magazine Umweltblätter describing the plight of a group of squatters who had occupied 61 Lychenerstrasse in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. In the squatters own words, they had “occupied the house in order to overcome the contradiction between, on the one hand, the many vacant and decaying houses [in Berlin], and on the other, a growing number of people in search of housing”. As “squatters (Instandbesetzer),” they proclaimed, “we will resist the further cultural and spiritual devastation of the country.”[i] Read the rest of this entry