Occupying Grannies in Berlin

Retirees aged 67 to 96 have occupied their community centre in Pankow, North-East Berlin. They have moved into their community centre with mattresses and camp-beds when the authorities announced that their social club would no longer be financed by the local municipality of Pankow due to budget cuts.

The community centre exists since 1998 and offers a variety of leisure activities for about 300 retirees, including painting courses, English language courses, chess and card games. It was to be closed by the end of June 2012 so the elderly decided to occupy the building and stay until the authorities find a financing solution. The angry retirees are determined: “We will stay until the bulldozers come”. The community centre is located in a neighbourhood near the Chinese embassy, and various luxurious town houses have recently been built.

This unusual squat has received a huge amount of media attention, even abroad, and the Grannies and Granddads of Berlin have been compared to Spain’s old-age pensioners who are fighting austerity, the Iaioflautas.

On August 7th, as they were celebrating their 40th day of occupation, they even received a visit from Spanish activists from the 15M movement in Berlin. They were given a banner: “Nos quedamos todos” (We will all stay).

Under pressure, the local authorities are now looking for financing options like charity organisations or social institutions to secure the future of the community centre.

Some links:

Stille Strasse 10 bleibt!
Press review: http://stillestrasse10bleibt.blogsport.eu/pressespiegel/

photo: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/kietzmann/7747120742/in/photostream

Some selected articles:
9.8.12: http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/234942.bewegung-um-stille-strasse.html

NBC News 07.08.2012: ‘Life doesn’t stop with retirement’: Are these German protesters the world’s oldest squatters?

3.8.12: Berlin’s oldest squatters take a stand for their social club (FRANCE 24, AFP)

09.07.2012: Die Wutbürger von Pankow
Von Harry Nutt


Neues Deutschland, Mit Schlafsack und Matratze ins Klubhaus

taz, Oma macht jetzt Occupy

Berliner Kurier, Wut-Rentner besetzen ihren Club

Berliner Zeitung, Senioren als Hausbesetzer

Berliner Morgenpost, Senioren besetzen Freizeitstätte

rbb-Abendschau, Senioren als Hausbesetzer

de.indymedia.org, Hausbesetzung in Berlin-Pankow

linksunten.indymedia.org,[B] Senioren besetzen Haus

mietenstopp.blogsport.de, Hausbesetzung der Senioren in der Stillen Straße

Iaioflautas in Spanien: Revolte aus dem Ruhestand:

1 thought on “Occupying Grannies in Berlin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s