Berlin Calling, Paul Hockenos
en
Paul Hockenos

Berlin Calling

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Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
Dutschke saw the world’s urban centers in revolt, West Berlin one of the fronts. His vision was to transform all of Berlin into an open metropolis, independent of both East and West Germany. All of the city’s walls would come down, not just the concrete monstrosity cutting across the city. The Free and the Technical Universities (in the west), the Humboldt (in the east), and all of the city’s other academies would be dissolved in favor of a sprawling, unstructured “learning city.” Berlin would be governed by local councils and communes; workers would take over the factories while police and bureaucracy would be abolished. Self-organization would prevail from schools to hospitals. If it worked, it could be a model for a unified Germany, argued Dutschke, who, as a former GDR citizen, was one of the few student rebels who cared a fig about uniting Germany.
Nadya Yurinova
Nadya Yurinovaje citiralaпре 2 године
Like most of the Wahlberliner, or Berliners-by-choice
Nadya Yurinova
Nadya Yurinovaje citiralaпре 2 године
the nighttime demimonde
Nadya Yurinova
Nadya Yurinovaje citiralaпре 2 године
By the mid-1980s, a broad society of new wavers and punks, the whole queer community, house squatters, student rebels, and artists had, in terms of quantity, reached a critical mass.
Nadya Yurinova
Nadya Yurinovaje citiralaпре 2 године
At the height of the Cold War, West Berlin was as far as one could travel east without leaving the Western world.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
“Hey, I have a totally cool idea,” he bubbled the next afternoon at the Fischbüro. “Let’s throw a party on the Kudamm [West Berlin’s pricey shopping mile]. We’ll say it’s a demonstration and call it the Love Parade.” The only way the group could occupy such a prominent street in the middle of the day was as a political demonstration. So they registered the party as a protest against the Berlin Wall.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
Strolling through Friedrichshain’s Mainzer Strasse neighborhood in summer 1990 was a taste of what the afterworld would look like were God an anarchist. In a matter of weeks, squatters had transformed the tranquil environs around the two-block-long street north of Boxhagener Platz into a teeming boho paradise
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
One afternoon, out mushroom picking in rural Brandenburg, they came upon a prize even more sensational than the panzer: two abandoned Soviet MiG 21s, fighter aircraft, stripped of their weaponry and engines but otherwise intact.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
On Prenzlauer Berg’s Schliemannstrasse, a group of rock climbers from the East German university town of Jena squatted one building, the edifice of which was turned into a climbing wall. The house became the headquarters of East Germany’s first independent climbing club.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
At one in the morning, Lippok and his relatives returned to the Wall where the revelry was in full swing. “It was like everybody was on drugs. The vibes were super strange,” he remembers. “The [GDR] border guards, the biggest bastards ever, were waving and smiling. It was like everyone was on ecstasy.”
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
The backdrop was the International Monetary Fund’s annual meeting, taking place in September 1988 in West Berlin, which was cause for left-wing activists from across West Germany to rally in West Berlin, their aim being to impede the works of international capitalism. For safety reasons, the city of West Berlin took the extraordinary move of requesting that its communist counterpart, East Berlin, put the fund’s officials up for the nights, fearing belligerent demonstrations outside a hotel or even an attack. Apparently, West Berlin officials felt that only a proper police state could provide the requisite security
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
For the things they couldn’t stitch together themselves, they called upon their grandmothers. Seniors were often granted travel privileges to West Berlin, as their likelihood of running was lower—and if they did, it was simply one less pension the state had to pay. Thus punk shops and record stores in West Berlin (the names and whereabouts of which the GDR kids knew exactly) became accustomed to timid grannies in East garb pulling out shopping lists for record albums, Dr. Martens, and secondhand leather jackets.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
It was East German neo-Nazis—another current of the new subcultures—who had burst through a side entrance in attack mode just as the concert crowd was exiting. The thirty or so young men armed with bottles and clubs screamed, “Sieg Heil!,” “Attack!,” “Jews out!,” and “Skinhead power!” and swung wildly at anyone in their path, dropping bodies to the floor. The skinheads were immediately recognizable to the Prenzlauer Berg set: closely shaven heads, green bomber jackets, high black jackboots. They’d been terrorizing the scene for years but had never entered a church or struck so boldly at such a well-attended event. Members of the terrified audience rushed out to the police officers standing at the edge of the church’s property and pleaded with them to intervene. But the police wouldn’t budge even as shrieks pierced the night air.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
In one sense, East Berlin was awash in free space as abandoned apartment buildings and disused factories dappled Prenzlauer Berg and neighboring districts; but the GDR dictatorship policed it vigilantly, on guard for anything that looked “conspiratorial.” In the church sanctuaries, the punks held ear-splitting concerts, alternative clothes makers staged far-out fashion shows, and an array of democratic oppositionists printed samizdat. The activists of the Umweltbibliothek, or Environmental Library, even had an open-to-the-public café and gallery in parish rooms on the second floor, the only one of its kind in the GDR.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
I found Prenzlauer Berg on one of the maps that showed East Berlin’s streets and public transportation lines. A testament to the completeness of the city’s division, some West Berlin maps included only the western side of the city. Almost all of the GDR’s maps showed just the east side, with West Berlin as a blank space labeled “Special Political Entity West Berlin.” (This posed problems when the Wall fell. Lost easterners could be found wandering the streets in the West with East Berlin maps that showed nothing in West Berlin save green spots for unnamed parks and blue spots for lakes and rivers.)
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
§ In fact, it was the German artist Joseph Beuys who broke the ice in 1964 by proposing that the Wall be raised five centimeters (two inches) in order to maximize its aesthetic proportions. The gag generated an outcry from those who failed to pick up the irony, and laughs from those who did. His aim was to neutralize the Wall by turning it into readymade art à la Marcel Duchamp.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
I wasn’t the only non-German baffled by many West Berliners’ disinterest in East Berlin. The scene dwellers were guilty of viewing the entire GDR as one lump pack of badly dressed, authority-abiding clones. The West Berlin DJ Motte told me there was no reason to care about it, other than the fact that East Berlin’s existence made West Berlin’s possible.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
“Everyone in Berlin said they were an artist, a musician, or a designer,” he says. So, when asked what he did in Berlin, the soft-spoken Frenchman responded, “I’m an artist,” even though he hadn’t produced a piece of art in his life.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
The new Kreuzbergers dubbed their stomping grounds the Free Republic of Kreuzberg when in 1988 the city cordoned off much of the already isolated district and shut down public transportation in order to keep protesters from disrupting the annual congress of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as they had Ronald Reagan’s visit the year before. As long as they were fenced off by the Wall on three sides and the West Berlin police on the other, the Kreuzberg habitués celebrated their now complete seclusion by declaring their own mock republic complete with papier-mâché border posts, phony visas, and, of course, a big party in the empty streets.
Pavel Grozny
Pavel Groznyje citiraoпре 2 године
Parts of Kreuzberg were so depopulated that the U.S. Army leased them for house-to-house urban combat exercises. Helicopters buzzed overhead as GIs scampered from building to building as if seeking cover from Soviet sharpshooters.
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