And One With No Answers - Udo Renkes

As part of our feature on squatting we had reserved space for an interview with the Berlin Police. However, our numerous attempts to get this interview were unsuccessful.

Originally appeared in Bar Fax, August 1981.

The first attempt was made in June by our reporter Frank Jackson. He contacted the press officer Herr Schultz by phone and later on the same day he delivered a letter personally to the Polizei Presadium to confirm the request. No reply was received.

I made the next attempt two weeks later. I telephoned but was informed that Herr Schultz was not in and that I should ring back at half past four. I did so but was told that he had gone out again and was asked to ring back the following Monday at nine. I left him a message informing him that it was essential that the interview take place on the following Wednesday at the latest, if it was to be ready in time for the magazine to go to the printers.

When I rang on Monday, Herr Schultz was absent again, but I was informed that he would not have any time to give an interview on the following day or on Wednesday. I tried again on the following day but still unable to contact him. However, on the Thursday I did manage to speak to him.

His first inquiry was had the magazine been registered and on what subject did we wish to interview him. I replied that the magazine was a new publication and that it was in the process of being registered in Frankfurt, and that the subject of the interview was squatting. He said that he was not competent to answer questions on the subject and suggested that I apply to another institution.

He also wished to know what kind of a political magazine Bar Fax was. I replied that the magazine was not a political magazine and that since we already had an interview with somebody living in an occupied house, we wanted to have an interview with the police to get the other side of the story. I also said that since I had questions on the riots and demonstrations I was sure that I had the right institution. He said that he was not the other side of the story, but that if there was to be an interview he would have to see some of the questions in advance. I said that I did not have the sheet of questions with me and he then said that he had no time the next day, but that I should ring back next Monday and have the questions ready, and that we could discuss it again.

So, Herr Schultz, here are the questions:

How do the police see their role/position with regard to the squatting situation?

Do the police feel that they are being used to solve a problem which should properly be dealt with by the Senate?

Why are the occupied houses being searched?

The squatters claim that the police have been brutal and destructive during the searches?

In June, plain clothes police involved in a search wore masks. Who authorised this and why?

In the media the figures for injured policemen are always higher than the figures for injured demonstrators. But the police are well armed, well protected and well organised?

At the moment the police are using wooden batons instead of rubber ones, yet wooden batons are a lot more dangerous and can cause permanent head injuries?

I have been told by squatters that telephones in occupied houses are being tapped. Is this true?

Several of the people arrested during the demonstrations have been acquitted by the courts, despite the fact that there were several police witnesses. Does this indicate a lack of confidence by the judiciary in the testimonies of the police?

Once again people are talking about a ‘Revolte der Jugend’ (youth revolt). Many policemen are very young, especially those at the demonstrations. How does this ‘Revolte’ influence them?

Thank you Herr Schultz!

Several of the people arrested during the demonstrations have been acquitted by the courts, despite the fact that there were several police witnesses. Does this indicate a lack of confidence by the judiciary in the testimonies of the police?