Court squatters in the Hallertau: "We won't let ourselves be expelled"

“That’s the first thing I hear!” Mayor Hans Sailer replies, a little perplexed, when asked if he knows that in a district of the market town of Au, a dilapidated farm has been occupied by young people. It is a four-sided farm between Au and the neighboring town of Nandlstadt. According to a statement, the activists had their “coming out” last Saturday, in which they announced the occupation of the empty building. The group gave itself the name “WDzwo”, after the address of the Wolfersorf 2 farm. In the message they made it clear: “We will not let ourselves be expelled!” They want to turn the property into a place of political exchange and cultural opportunities.

First of all, Sailer wants to get an overview. “It’s not easy to get there,” he says. The yard is very remote. That’s probably why no one noticed the squat. Sailer can at least remember the old woman who last lived alone on the property. In one of the videos that WDzwo published on Youtube, she is called “Elfi”. The mayor says that he first has to find out about current events on the property.

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According to their own statements, the up to ten activists have “quietly occupied” the four-sided courtyard for six months. They are working on “restoring the infrastructure of the old four-sided courtyard in order to create space for living, culture and political exchange”. After their official announcement, they expect a complaint from the property management and the eviction by the police. “This threat is completely incomprehensible to us,” explains Mia Finke, a resident of WDzwo. “We won’t allow one of the few freedoms that exist in the Free State of Bavaria to be taken away from us again. We won’t let ourselves be driven away that easily.”

Squatting in the Hallertau: The farm in the Hallertau seems deserted.  However, the ax in the chopping block seems to indicate that people are at least temporarily there.

The farm in the Hallertau seems deserted. However, the ax in the chopping block seems to indicate that people are at least temporarily there.

(Photo: Marco Einfeldt)

At the moment, the fear of an ad and an eviction is unfounded. This is assured by Christian Bidinger, head of the responsible Moosburg police force. From a purely legal point of view, the occupation is trespassing. However, there is currently no notification. “The beneficiary”, i.e. the property management or the current owner of the property, would have to provide this first. Bidinger said when asked that he had been “informed” about the occupation of the court, without giving the name of the communicator.

The four-sided courtyard has been empty for eight years, according to the letter from WDzwo. The group relies on information, including from the “responsible municipality”, that 15 to 32 heirs are constantly arguing about the estate of the former owner. According to a statement in the WDzwo videos, the authorities would first have to identify all possible heirs. That could take years.

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“Nobody takes care of the farm, it’s left to its own devices until it collapses,” regrets Mia Finke. “All the personal belongings of the previous owner are still in there, nobody seems to care what happens to them.” A video shows how two young people rummage through old photos of the former resident. One of the pictures shows her younger brother, who was the first in the family to die. Other photos show the former cowshed and the property itself. In one of the photos, a hop garden can be seen in the background.

Squatting in the Hallertau: objects in a garage are reminiscent of the woman who last lived alone in the yard.

Objects in a garage are reminiscent of the woman who last lived alone in the yard.

(Photo: Marco Einfeldt)

The young people recorded a longer video during a tour of the rooms. The house looks pretty messy. There are shards of glass and broken china plates on the floor. Apparently, roaming homeless people have often used the building to stay overnight. So-called “tines” that were attached to the house seem to indicate this. These are signs that symbolize experts that the building is suitable for spending the night. In a closet, the young people find clothes that apparently belonged to the former resident’s Sunday clothes.

According to the activists, the courtyard is one of the few free spaces that still exist in Bavaria. In the letter, the squatters formulate their motive. “We don’t want to watch valuable living space being wasted just because nobody feels responsible.” Living space is wasted. “We’re fed up with the housing shortage in Bavaria,” says one of the videos.

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In their letter, the activists accuse the community of heirs of speculative transactions. The heirs benefited from the constantly rising prices for building land and farmland. “The longer the estate negotiations last, the more valuable the ground on which the old farm stands becomes.” One of the videos shows that the property should also include 15 hectares of land. The community of heirs is probably trying to capitalize on this.

“We free the WDzwo from speculation. We renovate them and revitalize them. We do not enrich ourselves on land and real estate,” Mia Funke clarifies in the letter. The videos show how the group creates order in the chaos and makes the house reasonably livable again. The new residents have removed sexist writing on the house wall. Instead, a bird is now emblazoned on the house wall. And an N-shaped lightning bolt in a circle, a symbol that harks back to the 1970s squatting scene in Amsterdam.

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