the art of the story
„Red Card, Dead. “
the story of
One of my fondest memories is when I was with Pope Francis. Seven years ago, he had invited poor people from all over Europe. We were about 800 homeless people from Germany. On Friday we had a private audience, and only two were allowed to get very close to the Pope. I was one of them. It was very moving to me because I got to shake his hand. I gave him a letter and a scarf from the Archbishop of Hamburg. And then Francis said, “Thank you very much, I’ll pray for you.”
I came to Hamburg in 1995. At first I lived in a hotel for a while, later they gave me a room from the social welfare office. Then I lived in a men’s hostel with 120 people through the municipal accommodation operator “Fördern und Wohnen”. Only in the last five years did I have a private room there. It wasn’t really good, because there was often tension and conflict – mostly fights over alcohol.
I’ve been selling at Hinz&Kunzt since 1997, and I’ve been employed there part-time for seven years. And some time ago, I moved into the Hinz&Kunzt building. When people come in and get their newspaper, they get a coffee from me. Or if they want some clothes, I give them some from our little second-hand section.
I also got a subscription to FC St. Pauli matches through Hinz&Kunzt. There is a fan club that donates some passes. I am one of the lucky ones. FC St. Pauli will always be my hobby. You can switch off from everything there.
My greatest wish is to create housing opportunities for everyone. So that people don’t have to sleep on the street – so many die there. Everyone needs a place to retreat, even if it’s just a room, like I used to have at “Fördern und Wohnen”. But the politicians do so little. They don’t want there to be any more homeless people by 2030. How is that supposed to work? They’re getting more and more, not less. Now too many are dying again. Many of them were people I knew personally.
Now another person has died at the St. Pauli Christmas Market. He was found between the boxes. Allegedly a homeless person, too. It doesn’t matter where he comes from, whether from Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary or Romania. It doesn’t matter. But you shouldn’t have to die that way. Too many. Just too many.