Squat in Erfurt/Germany evicted on 16th April 2009

The squat in Erfurt/Germany was located at the area of the former company Topf & Söhne. During the period of National-socialism in Germany this company produced crematories as well as parts of the gas chambers for concentration- and extermination camps like Buchenwald and Auschwitz. In the early hours of 16th june 2009 the squat in Erfurt was evicted. The eviction started around 6 am with cops rappeling from helicopters to some roofs of the squatted area. At the same time they broke into the backside of the area with a special tank and demolishing gear. The eviction was lead by the SEK (a special force of the german police), with the use of teargas. In the upper floor of the squat some persons who were chained to a concrete block could delay the eviction for some time. Around 9.30 am all people had been removed from the squatted area. All the people from the area and the people from a sitting blockade in front of the squatted area were arrested. All of them were released in the next day, but there will surely be charges against them. Immediately after the eviction all buildings on the squatted area were destroyed - so now what's left of our squat is a heap of ruins. All other historical buildings on the non-squatted part of the area had been destroyed in the last months before the eviction. Now the former administration building is the only building which is left and should become a historical place.

In the days after the eviction there were a lot of actions in the city. Supporters organised several demonstrations and manifestations in the city, people burned stuff on the streets, buildings were squatted temoporary and the glass-entrance of the employment center was destroyed. Despite the lots of cops in the streets, there were a lot of people showing their anger and frustration about the menacingly eviction of the squat. We were amazed about the big wave of solidarity actions in other cities. In Weimar (20km from Erfurt) there were burned more than 40 waste containers to increase the expenses for the eviction, in Växjö/Sweden a police academy was temoporary squatted and there were unannounced demonstrations in cities like Leipzig, Nürnberg, Rostock and Hamburg. Until now there have been solidarity actions in more than 30 cities. We are really glad about all this support and we really appreciate that so many people care about the struggle for autonomous places like this.

The squat in Erfurt has been a autonomous sociocultural and political project for the last eight years. On the area of the former crematory-builders Topf & Söhne the squatters tried to inform about the history of the company. The squatters organized area-walkabouts, lectures and manifestations about historical issues. The project was involved in the fight against racism, sexism, antismitism and capitalism. It was always important for the squatters to aim for a social transformation and not only to create a consistent "niche in the system". Nevertheless the squat was an important refuge for many people, because Nazis were not tolerated here, and people who are in danger of sexual or racial harassment could find support. The squat also offered a lot of space to live, a trailer park, concert-, party- and rehearsal rooms, an information office, a cinema, a "forfreestore", a repair shop, a fitness centre and a "kitchen for everyone". The regular parties and concerts were attended by a lot of people.

Although the squatters were looking for another object for a longer time, there's no alternative building now. But the call for an autonomous space will not disappear after this eviction. We will continue to fight for autonomous places in Erfurt and everywhere. Now it's more clear than ever, that we can't expect any support from the city. The mayor often claimed that every new squat will be evicted immediately and the local media moans about the traffic jams during the eviction, about the burned waste containers and about the costs for all of this. So now we are facing the same problem, as a lot of other evicted squats before. Our squat is destroyed and the chances to get a new place are really bad. But the big support everywhere strengthens our sureness that we don't face this problem alone and that this will not be the last autonomous place in our city.

We will continue to fight for autonomous places in Erfurt and everywhere!