Learn about Kreuzberg’s history through this free walking tour of the Freak Revolts!
On this free tour you will visit a number of sites and memorials which have served an important role in Berlin’s famous Feminist Freak Revolts of the 1970’s. Follow us around the streets of Kreuzberg to learn all about Berlin’s lively Feminist history!
We begin our tour in the centre of Hermanplatz Square with a statue honoring the final fall of the Freak Revolt, which took place on November 21st, 1972. The sculpture, erected by Bati Yam in 1979, commemorates the Feminists as they “fell like dancers” – as was tearfully described by survivors.
This men’s fashion store marks the location in which Francesca Busch and Margaret Müller initially met in 1965. As shop girls, they bonded over their dissatisfaction with the capitalist misogynists they frequently served. For the authentic experience, go in and buy some bellbottoms.
3. Temple Construction
The temple was the first site the Freak Feminists occupied, around 1967. As their numbers grew, they realized actions must start taking place. This site radically functioned as a distributor of birth control, host of language workshops, bra-burning site, and much more. If you look closely on the left hand side, a pile of old charred bras can still be seen.
4. Hasenheide Chalk Drawings
These marks are traces of secret messages left by the Feminists, dated back to the Great Oppression in 1969-1970. Disguised as children, they communicated with chalk drawings and other kinds of washable graffiti.
5. Bottles for Respect
Margy and Fran were notorious for dressing as men and going on wild beer-drinking binges. It’s hard to lead a Freak Revolt and sometimes you just have to take a load off, you know? Today, beer bottles are placed around Berlin to commemorate their sacrifice, and the pioneering effort of all of the freaks.
6. Escape and Commemorative Bust
Here is the site where 43 Feminist sympathizing prisoners managed to escape from the Kottbusser Prison, and 5 died. Hans Böckler’s bust stands here. He was the noble guard who orchestrated their escape, and was later executed for treason. Feel free to take a tour boat and imagine the exhilaration of escaping a wrongful imprisonment after 60 days.
7. Kottbusser and Mauerpark Riots
The morning of November 22nd, 1972, the Freak Feminist Comrades were no more. They had been dismantled. Their Turkish allies took to the streets in anguish, Mauerpark was a chaos of people protesting, getting arrested, mourning, fighting, and celebrating.
8. The Poem
This poem was written by Rumi in 1975, about the Freak comrades. It is posted around Kottbusser Tor. It reads, “Your violence fed us/your laughter made us strong/we remember your beautiful anger/and throw it at our enemies.” Place a bottle on top of a garbage can if you see this poem.
These playful markings are on buildings where Freaks lived or frequented. “Bruder” means “sister” in German.
10. Freak revolt
The slogan of the rebels still is found in Berlin. Their cause was to unite the freaks, the misunderstood, the other, the oppressed, and look for something new. As the tour has now finished, we invite you to start your own Freak Revolt.
By Fran Breden and Marchien Veen