The art of the story

„The Swamp“

Der Sumpf

The story of

Peter R.

Actually, Peter had made it. For more than ten years, the formerly homeless man had had an apartment and a job again: As a city guide for Hinz&Kunzt, he had been showing interested people Hamburg’s sideshows since 2003. Since then, he was a permanent member of our team. And he was doing really well! Over Easter, he was on vacation with his colleague Harald – the postcard with greetings from Amsterdam that the two of them sent us made us all happy. And at the end of May, we celebrated Peter’s 53rd birthday with coffee and cake. The communal celebration, to which his sisters also came, was something he had wished for from us. Peter seemed content and relaxed. But then the shock: On June 10th, a friend found him in bed, deceased. He had simply not woken up.

Peter did not have an easy life. After the early death of his mother, he grew up in a home. “There was no love and family security,” he once told us. But he managed to graduate from secondary school and complete an apprenticeship as a painter. After that, he wanted to “see more of the world”. Peter went to Spain, got on the wrong track, and wanted to make a quick buck with hashish. The police caught him. The consequence: twelve and a half years in prison for the then 19-year-old. After eight years, he was released early in an amnesty.

Back in Germany, he found a job, got married, and his first son was born, followed by twins in 1990. But the marriage was in crisis. Peter left his family and moved in with his new girlfriend. He found a job as a courier driver. “Everything was looking up, actually.” Until this party in 1995: “There was this foil with powder, and everyone was trying it,” he says. Peter became addicted to heroin. He ended up “deeper and deeper in the swamp,”. He lied, stole, and ended up in jail again and again. He lived on the streets and in shelters. When he was at rock bottom, he came to us – only slowly did things start to look up again.

Peter had been clean for years now. But he never shied away from telling others about his life – to convey that addiction and homelessness are things that can happen to anyone. And that everyone deserves a second chance. That’s also how he saw his work as a city guide: “With my work, I help different people understand each other. I couldn’t have imagined that ten years ago,” he once said.

We couldn’t have imagined that he would be gone so suddenly. We will miss you, Peter. Your Hinz&Kunzt team.

More about Peter:

Text: Benjamin Laufer
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante

30 artworks created by 30 Hinz&Künztlerin:innen

Just click on one of the following artworks for further information.

Am 22. November wurde ein Teil der Homeless Gallery zusammen mit zahlreichen Kunstwerken und Auktionslosen, die namhafte Künstler*innen gespendet hatten, versteigert. Mehr als 40.000 Euro kamen an diesem Abend für das Straßenmagazin Hinz&Kunzt zusammen.


Die Werke der Homeless Gallery, die im Rahmen der Auktion aufgrund der Vielzahl nicht unter den Hammer kommen konnten, können ab sofort über einen Auktions-Nachverkauf erworben werden.

Jedes Bild aus der Homeless Gallery ist ein Unikat, zu dem es ein Echtheitszertifikat gibt. Alle Erlöse des Nachverkaufs fließen vollständig an Hinz&Kunzt, die gemeinsam mit einer Hamburger Stiftung neuen Wohnraum für Obdachlose schaffen.

„Wir freuen uns sehr, über das große Interesse an der Homeless Gallery und den Lebensgeschichten ihrer Künstlerinnen und Künstler”, sagt Hinz&Kunzt Geschäftsführer Jörn Sturm. „Es zeigt, dass wir mit der Ausstellung einen Nerv getroffen haben und dass die Menschen unseren Einsatz für Obdach- und Wohnungslose schätzen. Natürlich sind wir sehr glücklich über den Erlös, den die Versteigerung eingebracht hat, und möchten uns herzlich bei allen Besucher*innen, Mitbietenden und Käufer*innen bedanken.”

Auch eine kleine Auswahl an weiteren Kunstwerken kann noch erworben werden. Der Nachverkauf-Katalog ist hier zu finden: