7am, Saturday morning, we have occupied Guntramstrasse 44 and thus opened the vacant house for the neighborhood and whoever else is interested. In a relaxed atmosphere outside the front of the house we chatted with passers-by about the precarious living situation of many in Freiburg. In the first hours of the occupation, there were mainly meetings with neighbors, but also ‘Kirchbach’, the Mayor of Culture and Social Affairs, paid us a visit and after a conversation with the squatters sent pictures to the city council Whatsapp group. Gabi Roland also came to chat and we talked about the current rental situation in Stühlinger. The situation remained relaxed. At some point, a few police officers appeared, filmed the events briefly and then disappeared again, before they later arrived with one hundred to evict.
In the meantime, the “owner” Bertram Feil appeared, who first pretended to be one of the ousted tenants and only reveled himself after we demanded it. Bertram Feil and his family came to the supposedly planned home visit. Bertram Feil, who in discussions with the squatters repeatedly moved into the victim role, using his children to illustrate this in contrast to the barricaded house. As part of the discussion, he claimed that he had earned his status and that the former residents had not worked hard enough. True to the motto: “Only those who work hard, deserve good.” He also constructed a big conspiracy of media that in the past portrayed him as a liar rather than a benefactor. Later, he was also violent against a person from the squatted house, and tried to dismantle our barricades. After a phone call he gave us an ultimatum at 12:30pm of one hour, and then left the house.
At 2pm, despite the expiry of the deadline, the press conference was held in the newly furnished living room. In addition to city councilors from the JPG and the SPD, there were also two former tenants who shared their experiences with the Zurich doctor and how they were kicked-out last year. Contrary to his claims, the former tenants provided detailed insights into the futile struggles against terrorizing methods, such as camera surveillance of certain parts of the house, the arbitrary shutdown of electricity and the Internet.
Walter Krögner (SPD) gave thanks for the “long overdue action” and remained in the house together with City Councilor Sergio Schmidt (JPG).
Later in the afternoon we got a visit from Dr. Fell, (despite giving him an invitation to the press conference, he did not appear for the press conferance, but later) who tried again by force to come into the house. After another request to leave the house, he left it and it was time to rest again. Around 4 pm, however, his words were followed by deeds, in the form of 40 policemen, with helmets, shields and dogs. Without announcement, or calling us on our dedicated police contact phone, the police smashed down the entrance. The people in front of the house were subjected to kicks, shoves and strangleholds to force them out of the way. Despite the people outside protesting, the police cleared the house, eight people were arrested and later driven to the Police Station. Following this, the people in front of the house made a spontaneous demonstration in front of the station.
Looking back, we see the day as a success, due to the many positive discussions with local residents and their numerous support and the attention by local press and local politicians. Throughout the occupation, we were able to draw attention concretely to the displacemenandts happening, and to point out alternatives to this situation.
They will continue to hear from us in the future, because our goal is a city for all in which everyone can live where they want, where living means space to live and not as an investment and people can express themselves freely. To achieve this it is necessary to continue to occupy houses, to enter into a social discourse and to live utopias. We think it is legitimate and necessary to break laws and question property. We definitely have more houses in mind.
So: Onto a new door!
The WG (create living spaces)