Police Clear Famous Berlin Arts Center Tacheles

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An era ended in Berlin on Tuesday when bailiffs cleared Tacheles, a derelict artists’ squat. The graffiti-smeared, bomb-damaged building was a major tourist attraction because it gave visitors a taste of the chaotic, heady days of freedom Berlin enjoyed after the Wall fell. But the city has moved on.

Spiegel: “Tacheles, the grungy Berlin art center housed in a derelict former department store that became a trashy symbol of the capital’s post-unification freedom, was cleared on Tuesday after years of legal wrangling between the owners and the occupants.

“This is art theft under police protection,” said artist Martin Reiter. As the building was cleared, artists stood on the sidewalk with their belongings. One man played the blues on the saxophone. Two men clad in black hummed a funeral march.

“We are bowing to force,” said Linda Cerna, spokeswoman for the 40 to 60 artists who had exhibited their work in the rooms and corridors of the five-story concrete building, located in the heart of eastern Berlin’s trendy Mitte district.

A bailiff, accompanied by police and lawyers for the owner, HSH Nordbank, and the artists entered Tacheles at 8 a.m. to inspect the rooms and seal them off. Some 80 people stood outside demonstrating against the closure. Police were on standby but there was no trouble.

For years, Tacheles was a firm fixture on tourist itineraries. It exuded a nostalgic atmosphere of Berlin as it was immediately after the fall of the Wall in November 1989. Visitors came here to get a taste of the city in those carefree, anything-goes days.”

Read on at Spiegel.

Image by dapd