In summer 2019, the collectives pappsatt and orangotango redesigned the old mural on the front of the building at Waldemarstraße 81 in Berlin-Kreuzberg together with the residents of the house. The original mural at Waldemarstraße 81 was one of the first murals in Berlin ever. In 1975 it was painted by the former residents of the house in just three hours without scaffolding directly out of the windows. The mural was at that time a new form of protest and resistance against the prevailing urban development policy with the concept of clear-cutting, which was expressed in the slogan “WIR BELEIBEN DIR” (We stay inside). The tree as a motif was intended to express that it was not just the house but the whole neighborhood in which the house is rooted. Thus the inhabitants showed solidarity with other people in Kreuzberg who were affected by displacement and supported them directly, among other things, through legal advice on tenancy law.
Thus the house and the mural stand for the achievements of the urban political struggles of the 1970s and 1980s, when residents fought against the clear-cutting renovation of the Berlin Senate Administration and were thus able to partially preserve the old building structure and the current appearance of Kreuzberg.
While the clear-cutting redevelopment as an urban planning concept is a thing of the past, the content of the mural and the fight against displacement are, as is well known, still highly topical in view of the current housing situation in Berlin.
Due to the necessary renovation of the façade, the old mural disappeared in the summer of 2019. It was of great concern to the residents as well as to us that the mural be preserved as a contemporary document and protest image. And so, during the redesign, the motif of the tree (including the large banner) was retained, which was painted in exactly the same areas as the original tree. In order to bring the mural from the time of the squatting movement into the present, the picture was supplemented with numerous Berlin city animals, which symbolize the diverse urban society of today. In 10 different languages of Kreuzberg they shout the slogan of the squatter movement “The houses to those who live in them!”
You can find more information about the action in the article in the taz “History is being painted“.
Many thanks for the cooperation and support to the residents of Waldemarstr. 81 and to the Luisenstadt Genossenschaft for the colors and material!
And many thanky also to the “Umbruch Bildarchiv” for report and photos: