Solidarisches Netzwerk von Nachbarschaft und Gewerbetreibenden in Berlin-Kreuzberg

The neighborhood bookstore against the billionaires – petition

The petition was started by #Volle Breitseite für unsere Buchhandlung Kisch & Co and is addressed to
Bundesregierung und Berliner Senat
Victoria Immo Properties V S.a.r.l.
Christine Lambrecht Bundesjustizministerin

Save our local bookstore Kisch & Co! Save our inner cities and neighborhoods as living, social and cultural spaces! No! to speculation with rental and commercial spaces!

While ten thousands of cultural institutions are experiencing immense difficulties in securing their survival due to corona, internationally operating real estate speculators continue to be on the move in almost all major German cities. Their business model applies equally to residential and commercial space. Purchase prices and rental income do not seem to matter: The investors want to avoid taxes and make profits by reselling. In doing so, they rely on vacating the old structures in order to either demand vastly inflated rents or to be able to directly offer lucrative vacancies for sale.

Our neighborhood bookstore Kisch & Co. in Berlin-Kreuzberg is also threatened by this. At the beginning of 2020, a Luxembourg real estate fund, Victoria Immo Properties V S.a.r.l., bought into the commercial property with predominantly cultural facilities in the center of Oranienstrasse. Behind this are presumably heirs from the Swedish Rausing family, which owes its fortune to the invention of the Tetra Pak. For this single building, the fund put an incredible 35.5 million Euros on the table. We did the math: Even with a 300 percent rent increase, this amount would take more than 40 years to refinance.

Kisch & Co.’s lease expired in May 2020. Normally, negotiations on a renewal would have been on the table long ago. But the new owners apparently did not want to keep the bookstore as a tenant. The first long-time customers then explained in YouTube videos what Kisch & Co. meant to them. The reaction of the opposing side: a contract until the end of the year, but only if Kisch & Co. publishes a YouTube video about it that is positive for the real estate fund. Politicians as well as the media were to be equally informed and otherwise there should be maintained silence – on threat of a contractual penalty. Of course, Kisch & Co. could not accept such a death sentence and the store remained in its premises, now without a rental contract.

With great support from the neighborhood, customers, initiatives and local politicians, Kisch & Co. began its protest. The alliance „Volle Breitseite für Kisch & Co.“ organized rallies and cultural programs in front of the bookstore throughout the summer. Hundreds of people took part in each of the events, which featured political statements and readings, discussions and music.

Nevertheless the bookstore received an eviction notice on 22th Sep. 2020. The eviction trial at „Landgericht Berlin“ (Berlin Regional Court) was scheduled for the 5th February 2021 and recently postponed to April 2021.

Support from the neighborhood and politics: residents, bar and shop operators, urban political groups, Die „Linke“, „SPD“ and the „Grüne“ – all of them speak out clearly in favor of the urgently needed preservation of the bookstore. The attempted suppression of the bookstore in the media is gaining widespread attention. Media coverage of the fight for Kisch & Co.

We demand from the owners/responsible persons of the building Oranienstraße 25:

  • the immediate withdrawal of the eviction action
  • the extension of the rental contract or a new arrangement under acceptable conditions
  • a guarantee of location for all other cultural institutions and businesses in the building under acceptable conditions.

We demand from federal and state politicians:

Protection for small businesses and social and cultural institutions through:

  • the introduction of a commercial tenancy law analogous to the tenancy law for housing
  • Protection against dismissal, the removal of time limits on contracts
  • measures to limit rents
    introduction of a binding commercial rent index and
    a commercial rent brake

To get an impression of the protest and resistance activities so far, a few links are attached (in german language):

To finance the further campaign and the process costs, „#Volle Breitseite für Kisch & Co“ a calendar for 2021 was produced. A 16-page calendar in A3 format with 12 monthly pages and plenty of illustrated information has been created from a pool of over 100 artistic A1 format pictures from our supporters. This can be ordered here at the soli price: Volle Breitseite Kalender 2021

150 people from politics, culture and organizations as well as various initiatives have already supported this petition as first signatories:

  • #200 Häuser
  • 23 Häuser sagen NEIN
  • Vernetzung der Akelius-Mieter*innen
  • Reza Amiri, DIE LINKE, BVV FHXB
  • Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Arlt, Autor und Publizist
  • Jim Avignon, Künstler
  • Heike Avsar, Autorin
  • Simone Barrientos, DIE LINKE, MdB
  • Leonie Baumann, weißensee kunsthochschule berlin
  • Canan Bayram, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, MdB
  • Arndt Beck, Künstler
  • Meret Becker, Schauspielerin
  • Berliner Hefte zu Geschichte und Gegenwart der Stadt e.V.
  • Elvira Berndt, Jugendkulturarbeiterin
  • Prof. Dr. Elisa T. Bertuzzo, weißensee kunsthochschule berlin
  • Dieter Bertz, Bertz + Fischer Verlag
  • Josef Bierbichler, Schauspieler
  • Klaus Bittermann, Verleger
  • Bizim Kiez
  • Thilo Bock, Autor
  • Die Buchkönigin, Buchhandlung
  • Matthias Coers, Filmemacher und Stadtaktivist
  • Planungsbüro coopdisco
  • Cosimo, Künstler
  • Georg Daniels, Journalist
  • Buchhandlung Dante Connection
  • Pizzeria De Noantri
  • Deutsche Wohnen & Co enteignen!
  • Drea, Künstlerin
  • Chris Dreier, Künstlerin
  • Egotronic, Musiker
  • Susanne Ehlerding, Journalistin
  • David Ensikat, Journalist
  • Klaus Farin, Schriftsteller
  • Bäckerei-Café Filou
  • Katrin Fischer, Bertz + Fischer Verlag
  • Julius Fischer, Autor
  • Nanette Fleig, Fotografin
  • Fünf Häuser
  • Katalin Gennburg, DIE LINKE, MdA
  • Nina George, Schriftstellerin
  • Kathrin Gerlof, common Verlagsgenossenschaft e.G. („OXI“)
  • GloReiche Nachbarschaft
  • Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel, Autorin
  • Gaby Gottwald, DIE LINKE, MdA
  • Thomas Gralla, Vorstand Landesverband Börsenverein d. dt. Buchhandels Berlin/ Brandenburg
  • Matt Grau, Künstler
  • Raphaël Grisey, Künstler
  • Gregor Gysi, DIE LINKE, MdB
  • Ralph Hammerthaler, Schriftsteller
  • Harry Hass, Vagabund
  • Lebensmittel Hillmann
  • Ulrich Hopp, be.bra verlag
  • Laura Horelli, Künstlerin
  • Johannes Jansen, Dichter
  • Elfriede Jelinek, Schriftstellerin
  • René Jokisch, DIE LINKE, BVV FHXB
  • Katja Jösting, DIE LINKE, BVV FHXB
  • Johannes Kahrs, Maler
  • Antiquariat Kalligramm
  • Ursula Kamischke, Kulturschaffende
  • Dota Kehr, Musikerin
  • Cansel Kizeltepe, SPD, MdB
  • Marc-Uwe Kling, Autor
  • Florian Günther, Autor und Verleger
  • Jochen Knoblauch, Autor
  • Lars Knuth, Performancekünstler
  • Korbinian Verlag
  • Alfons Kujat, Schauspieler
  • Verlag Antje Kunstmann
  • Ralf G. Landmesser, Publizist
  • Protestoper Lauratibor
  • Caren Lay, DIE LINKE, MdB
  • Sebastian Lehmann, Autor
  • Markus Liske, Autor
  • Kristine Listau, Vorstand Landesverband Börsenverein d. dt. Buchhandels Berlin/ Brandenburg
  • Boris Löbsack, Musiker
  • SC Lurich 02 e.V.
  • Geburtshaus MAJA
  • Maik Martschinkowsky, Autor
  • Sigrun Matthiesen, common Verlagsgenossenschaft e.G. („OXI“)
  • Manfred Maurenbrecher, Musiker
  • Pascal Meiser, DIE LINKE, MdB
  • Kerstin Meyer, Volkswirtin
  • Mieterpartei
  • Modern Graphics
  • Steve Morell, Musiker
  • Wolfgang Müller, Missverständniswissenschaftler
  • Marion Alexa Müller, Vorstand Landesverband Börsenverein d. dt. Buchhandels Berlin/ Brandenburg
  • Lindsay-Jane Munro, Übersetzerin
  • neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK), Berlin
  • OraNostra
  • O-Ton Keramik
  • Jan Off, Autor
  • Buchhandlung Oh 21
  • One World Berlin Human Rights Film Festival
  • Fritz Panzer, Maler
  • Pastor Leumund, Musiker
  • Dagmar Pelger, Architektin
  • Ulrich Peltzer, Schriftsteller
  • Manja Präkels, Autorin
  • Uwe Preuss, Schauspieler
  • Prinzessinnengärten am Moritzplatz
  • Pro qm Buchhandlung
  • Prof. Dr. Ralf Ptak, Volkswirt
  • Dr. Max Putzer, AsJ Berlin
  • Siebrand Rehberg, Fotograf
  • Matthias Reichelt, Kulturjournalist
  • Robert Rescue, Bühnenliterat
  • Ellen Röhner, Ausstellungsmacherin
  • Christiane Rösinger, Musikerin
  • Runder Tisch gegen Gentrifizierung in Moabit
  • Scardanelli, Dichter
  • Regina Scheer, Schriftstellerin
  • Clemens Schick, Schauspieler
  • Anne Schindler, common Verlagsgenossenschaft e.G. („OXI“)
  • Sanaa Schlaeger, Musikerin
  • Katrin Schmidberger, Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen, MdA
  • Buchladenkollektiv Schwarze Risse
  • Ines Schwerdtner, Jacobin Magazin
  • Volker Seewald, Autor und Musiker
  • Berthold Seliger, Autor und Konzertagent
  • Regine Sommer-Wetter, DIE LINKE, BVV FHXB
  • Åsa Sonjasdotter, Künstlerin
  • Soundwatch Musikfilmfestival
  • stadt von unten
  • Erik Steffen, Literaturveranstalter & Publizist
  • Thommy Stückle, Zum Goldenen Hahn
  • Leander Sukov, Vize-Präsident des deutschen PEN-Zentrums
  • Sukultur Verlag
  • Jörg Sundermeier, Vorstand Landesverband Börsenverein d. dt. Buchhandels Berlin/ Brandenburg
  • Kneipenkollektiv Syndikat
  • Klaus Theuerkauf, Künstler
  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Künstler
  • Marin Turina, Drehbuchautor & Videojournalist
  • Lilo Unger, SO36
  • Ventil Verlag
  • Siljke Vogten, Autorin
  • Elisabeth Voß, Publizistin, NETZ e.V.
  • Ullrich Wannhoff, Künstler
  • Eckehard Weis, Drehbuchautor
  • Wem gehört Moabit
  • Heiko Werning, Autor
  • Marieke Wikesjo, Sopranistin
  • Willi wollt‘s anders
  • Frank Willmann, Autor
  • Dr. Thomas Wörtche, Publizist
  • Raul Zelik, Schriftsteller
  • Steffen Zillich, DIE LINKE, MdA
  • Friederike Zöllner, Vorstand Landesverband Börsenverein d. dt. Buchhandels Berlin/ Brandenburg
  • Bündnis Zwangsräumung verhindern