Interview mit Mark Haxthausen ("Berlin 1963")

Real Audio 11 min

Prof.Dr. Charles Haxthausen



Nachkriegszeit (Peter Penewsky)

Real Audio 3 min



The Turkish Market

The slanting palettes of fruit and vegetables are ranged around the edge of the sidewalk all along the perimeter of the shop, it is freezing cold and people are pushing past on their way to the busstop, walking their dogs, pushing baby strollers, smoking. It is so cold one wonders whether the oranges have not become sorbet. But the market is secretly an interior-when I walk past on the sidewalk, one of the vociferous salesmen immediately begins addressing me, not only a pitch ("Bitte schön, bitte schön") but already a conversation. To step under the range of the awning - which is extended only in rainy weather, but even on sunny days exists as a potential delineator of space. He weighs my kaki and tells me "Die Kasse ist da drüben," pointing to the end of the alley of foodstuffs as though the cash register were located not where it is (inside the shop proper, separated from this street space by a door kept adjar in all weather) but within this same space that is neither inside nor outside. Inside, the young man behind the deli counter feeds me sample olives off his slotted spoon, each time grinning over at someone beyond my range of vision - as if this feeding of olives is somehow illicit - because I am a woman? Because he is encouraging me to eat during the daylight hours of Ramadan? Most of the bags of prepackaged food are labelled only in Turkish - an outsider is an outsider, fremd bleibt fremd.

The Cobbler

There's a shoe-repair business on the ground floor of the building next door. The shopwindow is partly obscured by a faded banner reading "Sonderangebot," and filled with shelves of dusty, unwanted objects: decades-old shoes, a child's backpack, cheap plastic toys. I have a simple repair job that needs doing, replacing a buckle on a bag, and decide to give the cobbler a try. He's a middle-aged Russian with a heavy accent who sits all day in his shop watching television. Rarely are there customers. The large TV set stands in front of the window, which is why his face is usually turned toward the street when I glance in on my way past. Often, other men from the neighborhood congregate in his shop for a chat-he's got plenty of chairs and, apparently, the means to make tea. The TV shows soap operas and disco music. He does an awful job on the repair, punching asymmetrical holes for the buckle and inadvertently slicing through part of one strap, but nonetheless demands DM 50 for his
services. When I protest, we get into a long conversation, in the course of which he admits that he isn't a cobbler at all, he was trained as a Friseur but wound up somehow acquiring a shoe-repair business. Slowly, clumsily, he repairs the damage. Every time I pass him in the street, he grins at me and asks after the buckle.

Ordnung muss sein I

My apartment building doesn't have a superintendent, but when I moved in my landlady told me to watch out for the guy who thinks he's the Hausmeister. But I can't figure out which one of my neighbors she meant: so far, three of them have stopped me on the staircase to comment on my behavior. First it was the old woman who tends the patch of gray bushes in the courtyard that passes as a garden. She asked me to stop putting my garbage in the wrong dumpster. At first I thought she was concerned that I didn't understand the building's recycling rules, but then it turned out that the tenants from the left-hand wing of the building are supposed to
put their trash in the left-hand dumpster, etc. "I've seen you use the wrong dumpster several times!" I continue to use the wrong dumpster, in the hope that she's watching me out the window. Then there was the old man with the very straight back who stopped me on the stairs to ask my name, apartment number, landlady, length of stay. I pass him in the hall at least once a week, and he never smiles. Just today another one of the building's old men passed me as I was unlocking the courtyard door to bring out the trash. Coming back in, I was careful to double-lock the door behind me because I could sense him still standing there half-a-flight up, listening for the key-and then there he was, all cardigan and houseslippers, wanting to know why I always slam the door behind me when I go in and out. "Because it's fun!" I tell him, "Have a nice day!" The door to the courtyard is kept double-locked at all times, the door to the street only at night (after 8 p.m., according to the home-made sign affixed to the door)-so you can't get out of the building without a key. If there's a fire, all the superintendants will go up in smoke.


A crowd is gathered near the front steps of the city administrative building at Kleistpark, a revolving light dyes the scene blue in flashes, it looks like a demonstration of sorts, something about the war in Afghanistan and the German soldiers who are to be sent as part of a UN troup. At one edge of the crowd stands a group of policemen, gathered around what appears to a life-sized Santa Claus sculpture holding a branch in one hand. But then someone shouts "Ruhe, wir drehen!" the Nicholas figure begins to move, the policemen to apprehend him. A lady in a fur coat standing beside the police van into which St. Nick is about to be loaded begins a speech to the old man standing next to her, audible only to her and the microphone. People with briefcases push through the policemen to enter the office building, the rest of us disappear into the park with our bags of groceries.

Susan Bernofsky, Berlin 2001/2


Interview mit GŁnter Neusel ("Berlin 1951-53")

Real Audio 13 min

Günter Neusel


Im Tiergarten bei Dr. Schäfer und in der Akademie (mit Peter Penewsky)

Real Audio 2 min




"An einem Sonntag lag ich mit meinem Freund im tiefen Gras des Tiergartens. Als uns so richtig warm wurde, sahen wir plötzlich einen Schatten, der uns fast verdeckte. Ich drehte den Kopf, blinzelte wegen der Sonne und erblickte einen berittenen Polizisten.
Der Polizist sagte zu uns: Ich störe ungern, aber es gibt auch Kinder und ältere Leute im Tiergarten. Bitte kommen Sie herunter und ziehen Sie sich an. Ich war im Dilemma und sagte zum Polizisten: Ich bin gerade nicht in der Lage aufzustehen. Dann warten Sie eben ein bisschen ab, sagte der Polizist und ritt davon."
Claus D. (Sommer 1984)

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