Aktion Hellmutstrasse

Projektgruppe Community Media

1979, 44 mins, U-matic low band, black-and-white, 15 mins (excerpts), original online: video collection Stadt in Bewegung (Swiss Social Archive and Memoriav)

Documentary about the occupation of houses. The first part shows the squatting of Hellmutstrasse by the action group Luft & Lärm. The video became popular due to the pithy remarks councilman Max Koller made about the “ameba-like groups,” that hindered him in going about his governing duties.

Councilman Max Koller
When the group (Luft & Lärm) approached us regarding the Hellmutstrasse, we said: We won’t be investing anything in these houses that are still up for demolition. That would be a waste of money. It’s cheaper for us to forgo the rental revenues that we could have than to invest any money. But fine, if they are willing to take over these ramshackle hovels, they shall have them. We won’t ask for rent. They are free to choose to either live in a dump or invest something themselves.
What we don’t want are these ameba-like groups that keep changing every day. The crucial point is always: Do you have a partner who can maintain a certain order, who has a sense of justice, that is, do you have a certain mutual exchange? But today we are always faced with people who are only interested in a one-sided relationship. They only take!
They behaved reasonably, that’s why we negotiated with them. Otherwise we wouldn’t even have bothered, because I have never let anyone blackmail me in my whole life. We did not research the back story of each one of them.
Promises aren’t worth anything anymore today. Someone is given an apartment, and you tell  them they can stay for two years, but they don’t want to leave after two years. All the promises of those who pass through this office and say: We know it, we will move out by then, as long as I have a roof over my head now, they count for nothing after two years!