What is Die WG?
Die WG is a campaign against the current housing politics and gentrification in Freiburg, with a focus on the direct action form of squatting.
What does Die WG want?
Die WG wants housing opportunities, for everyone! It cannot be that in Freiburg more than a thousand people are forced to live on the streets whilst countless houses and flats are empty, or whilst luxury villas and blocks of flats, built for several families, are registered for the personal use of a single person. It cannot be that the residents of whole neighbourhoods are ousted by gentrification and must reside in the outskirts of the city. Die WG would like to make this injustice visible, retrieve some housing opportunities and make this available to those who need it. Die WG stands for more democratic participation in the decision-making processes determining the city and its housing politics, so that the arrangement and organisation of housing is geared towards the needs of the people as opposed to the market.
What actions have there been in the past?
The first squat took place on the morning of the 8th December 2018, in 44 Guntramstraße. The owner of the house had kicked out the former tenants through terrorising methods such as cameras, the arbitrary turning off of electricity and the removal of heating in winter, with the justification that they would need the 4 flats for personal use. Through the squatting action the situation of these tenants came to light as well as the housing situation in the district Stühlinger, where more and more houses are bought at an alarming rate and are renovated into luxury flats, resulting in a gentrification process whereby families and individuals of lower income are forced to move out of the quarter. In the late afternoon the police evicted the house without any prior notice, during which 8 people were arrested and taken to the police station.
Dreikönigshaus, Schwarzwaldstr. 31
The 20th December 2018 saw the campaign‘s second action carried out, whereby 31 Schwarzwaldstraße was squatted. This house belongs to the city and has stood empty for years. Since 2013 there has been a discussion on its possibe demolition to make way for the building of a tunnel in 2025. The building right next to it is currently used to serve food to those who need it, amongst others homeless people, through which the contradiction of the empty house further symbolises the failure of the city’s housing politics. The aim of the action was to clean and fix the house in order to make it comfortably habitable once again, an aim that was never able to become a reality as the squat was evicted 2 house after it had opened, ordered by the city’s mayor and its financial mayor.
Party in Kappellenweg 15
In the evening of the 2nd February 2019, a group of people made their way to an empty house on the Lorettoberg to open a new dance space. Until the early hours of the morning this space, which had been unused for the last 2 years, was revived through music and dancing. This not only sent an important message against vacancy and housing shortage, but also drew into focus the suffocating of subcultural public spaces and club culture through the city.
Klaratr. 17 & Mozartstr. 3
On the 28th February 2019 17 Klarastraße was squatted. The ground floor of the house was brought back to life through the opening of a café with the name “Alles Klara?!”. The house belongs to the owner of a real estate company who has plans to renovate the house. It is dubious that after this procedure, the artist who has lived in the top floor for the last 20 years will still be able to afford the rent. The owner declined a carefully calculated offer to buy the house at a price in line with the market, proving their desire to make a profit off others’ basic need of housing and thus furthering the process of gentrification. The following days saw the café filled with a cultural programme including concert, films and talks. On the 4th March a second house, 3 Mozartstraße in the district Herdern, was squatted. Through this action the house was protected from further deterioration and the issue of vacancy was brought to a new quarter where it is just as prevalent. Both squats were evicted on the 7th March, in the barricaded Mozartstraße through police units with machine pistols, specialised technical units and civil cops.
Mozartstr. 3 again
The Mozartstr. 3 was resquatted roughly a month later on the 4th April. People planted flowers and enjoyed a concert and a bonfire. It was evicted a day later during the afternoon.
PoWA aka Fehrenbachallee 52
An old police station was squatted on 25th of May