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Does Squatting Belong to the Past? The Mainzer Straße 1990 until Today

6. January 2023 19:00

The Mainzer Straße in Berlin-Friedrichshain stands as a symbol for the wave of squats that swept the eastern half of the city in the spring and summer of 1990. A wide variety of political groups lived together in twelve squatted houses. There was a women’s and lesbian house, a Sponti-Haus with its own Späti, and the legendary Tuntentower with the gay bar “Forellenhof” on the first floor. The squatters were united by the desire for a self-determined life beyond social conformity. But the more the German unification began to loom on the horizon, the more the prospects of being able to stay in the buildings worsened. In November 1990, Mainzer Strasse was cleared, despite fierce resistance.

Today, Mainzer Strasse has become a myth. Hardly an anniversary passes without press articles recalling the violent eviction of that time. Contemporaries process the experiences in books and exhibitions, and historians are also increasingly addressing the topic.

But how far away is this past? And what does it have to do with us today? What does the discussion of the squats tell us about German unification in 1990? And what is it like for contemporary witnesses when their experiences become the subject of historiography?

After a short lecture by Tom Koltermann and Jakob Saß (historians; ZZF Potsdam), the authors of the book “Traum und Trauma. Die Besetzung und Räumung der Mainzer Straße 1990 in Ost-Berlin” with Andrej Holm (author, ex-squatter, urban sociologist; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Bastian Krondorfer (inhabitant of the Forellenhof Squat 1990, curator), Jakob Mühle (historian; ZZF) and Anette Klumb (inquired; historian; Mainzer-Straßen-Archiv); moderator: Christine Bartlitz (historian; ZZF Potsdam).


Event information

There is the possibility to visit the exhibition in the Gay Museum beforehand. The event will take place in German spoken language. The wearing of FPP2 masks in the exhibition halls is mandatory. If this is not possible due to access reasons, please inform us before your visit. Entry: 4€

Access Information


The museum is accessible by public transport (details provided below).
There are no barrier-free parking spaces in the area.
There are a few public paid parking spaces in the immediate area.

Step-free entry for all visitors is possible via the courtyard. Please use the open gate to the left of the main entrance door. The entrance door to the museum is located on the right and will be open too.
If you encounter any problems ring the bell, or ring the contact phone number: 030 69 59 92 62

The path into the courtyard is paved.
It has a slight incline of less than 5%.
The entrance is the first door on the right. This is the café.
Wheelchairs or walking aids can be parked in a guarded area.
The exhibition rooms, café and library are accessible at ground level or via ramps and lifts.
There are two wheelchair-accessible toilets with fold-up grab bars.
The movement areas of the toilets are 130 x 150 cm in front of the WC.
The toilet in the foyer has 70 x 90 cm space to the right of the WC.
The toilet between rooms 3 and 4 has 70 x 90 cm space to the left of the WC.
The exhibits and information are mainly visible while sitting down.
The doors and passages in the museum are at least 90 cm wide.

Other information

There is a cloakroom with lockers.
Assistance dogs are permitted in all rooms.
The entrance is not designed to be visually contrasting.
Toilets are all-gender and single cubicles usable by function.
There is a beanbag seat for the audience, which can be reserved. If you need a specific seat or a more relaxed entrance due to visible or invisible disabilities, please come 20 minutes before the performance starts.

We strive to make information on barriers transparent and are working to reduce them further. If you have any tips or questions, please feel free to contact us: kontakt@schwulesmuseum.de or call 030 69 59 90 50

Public Transport

U Nollendorfplatz: U1, U2, U3 & U4, Bus M19, 106 & 187
U Kurfürstenstraße: U1
Lützowstraße/Potsdamer Straße: Bus M48 & M85


Organized by Schwules Museum Berlin (SMU), Leibniz-Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam (ZZF) and the Forellenquintett/Foundation between Bridges

Photo: Burned-out Trabant on Boxhagener Straße, November 14, 1990. Photographer: Holger Herschel ©