AFN Berlin - The Bear

Berlin -
and the consquences

The factory

When I stood at Tempelhof Airport in mid-May 1969 with my travel bag and 191.60 DM in my pocket that I had earned from slaving for weeks my at home town’s Jadedienst ship’s store, I knew that there was no picnic in front of me. But what did that mean compared to the fact to be finally FREE!?! I found lodging in a Kreuzberg he factory floor , near the famous Kottbusser Tor (Kotti). Its residents were exclusively people from my hometown who gave me temporary accommodation. I got fully involved in the alternative scene and got to know people whom I had previously only read in the newspaper: poets , painters , Musicians and other artists, political activists, deserters , even terrorists . And quite a few psychological cases. Got to know whole new books and music . I was – politicized – in moderation demonstration s were my daily bread. Unfortunately, after a few months I had to move out of the commune  and started looking for an apartment. Finally I found a one and a half room apartment at Dresdener Str. 16, backyard, side wing, 2nd floor. Although I turned every penny three times, my savings were soon gone. To buy a household, also for a dump with an outside toilet ,like mine, cost money. So it was time to get jobs. At first things went pretty well, my friends got me some. I remember Boye Kuhlmann’s publishing house , where one of them was a warehouse worker. At some point I ended up with the dregs of the Berlin job market: express service from the employment office on Beusselmarkt . 40 DM a day. Or, even worse: slave traders , more poshly called loading services. After a short time, my shack became the contact point for Wilhelmshaven young people. At times eight people lived with me. They were all stoners and other drugs  like LSD not averse. It wasn’t long before I became a member of the drug scene. Wonderful times!

At some point I decided to look for an apprenticeship as a forwarding agent in order to complete my professional training. I found what I was looking for at Schier, Otten & Co. After a year it was done. Best of year! However, I was not interested in a job in the industry. I left Kreuzberg and moved to Wedding . In September 1970 I became a deliverer to post office 19 , later to 12 . My goal was second education. With the admission to the Berlin-Kolleg   (1972) it was done. I received BAFöG and was able to join the student employment agency TUSMAconnect. The jobs were well paid and mostly not too strenuous: tutoring, typing theses, etc. In 1974 I graduated from high school and began to study geography at the Free University of Berlin ( FU ) . I specialized in tourism and wrote my thesis in Sri Lanka. 

I was an untalented student and it was foreseeable that I would not finish my studies in the regular time – goodbye BAFöG! What to do? What will live on in the future? I received the answer on my first trip to Southeast Asia : start a trade in goods from Asia! It started at the flea market and ended on Berlin’s Kudamm , where we opened our first shop in 1983. But before that I had to pass the toughest test of my life. True to the motto: if it comes, it will be big! In April 1983 I failed the last diploma examination at the FU . That meant: punitive excursionin the Alps. In addition, there was the stress of opening the store and an exhausting shopping tour to Asia. When I came back from the tour, my mother had died. To make matters worse, the house in which I lived was being renovated. Including moving. The biggest hammer, however, was that my girlfriend, whom I dated for three years, had married someone else during my six-week trip. I was really amazed that my house didn’t burn down or that I had a serious accident. Hard times in Berlin ! At the end of the year I was on top again. Never give up! Our shop was a great success, especially since we moved to Bahnhof Zoo . In 1996 I sold my share to my business partners and emigrated to Myanmar.