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?
http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/07/13146282-life-doesnt-stop-with-retirement-are-these-german-protesters-the-worlds-oldest-squatters?lite

3.8.12: Berlin’s oldest squatters take a stand for their social club (FRANCE 24, AFP)
http://www.france24.com/en/20120803-berlins-oldest-squatters-take-stand-social-club

09.07.2012: Die Wutbürger von Pankow
Von Harry Nutt
http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/meinung/leitartikel-die-wutbuerger-von-pankow,10808020,16574158.html

http://pankowsolidaritaet.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/stille-strase-dieses-haus-ist-besetzt/

Neues Deutschland, Mit Schlafsack und Matratze ins Klubhaus
http://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/231277.mit-schlafsack-und-matratze-ins-klubhaus.html

taz, Oma macht jetzt Occupy
http://www.taz.de/Rentner-besetzen-Freizeitstaette/!96432/

Berliner Kurier, Wut-Rentner besetzen ihren Club
http://www.berliner-kurier.de/kiez-stadt/aufgebrachte-senioren-wut-rentner-besetzen-ihren-club,7169128,16512686.html

Berliner Zeitung, Senioren als Hausbesetzer
http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/berlin/protest-senioren-als-hausbesetzer,10809148,16511618.html

Berliner Morgenpost, Senioren besetzen Freizeitstätte
http://www.morgenpost.de/bezirke/pankow/article107305235/Senioren-besetzen-Freizeitstaette.html

rbb-Abendschau, Senioren als Hausbesetzer
http://www.rbb-online.de/abendschau/archiv/archiv.media.!etc!medialib!rbb!rbb!abendschau!abendschau_20120629_haus.html

de.indymedia.org, Hausbesetzung in Berlin-Pankow
http://de.indymedia.org/2012/06/331992.shtml

linksunten.indymedia.org,[B] Senioren besetzen Haus
https://linksunten.indymedia.org/de/node/63054

mietenstopp.blogsport.de, Hausbesetzung der Senioren in der Stillen Straße
http://mietenstopp.blogsport.de/2012/06/29/hausbesetzung-der-senioren-in-der-stillen-strasse/

Iaioflautas in Spanien: Revolte aus dem Ruhestand:
http://publik.verdi.de/2012/ausgabe-05/spezial/jugend/seiten-20-21/A0
http://publik.verdi.de/2012/ausgabe-05/gewerkschaft/titel/seite-1/A0

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