- Kommune 1
Kommune 1 or K1 was the first politically-motivated commune in
Germany. It was created on January 12, 1967, in West Berlinand finally dissolved in November 1969.
Kommune 1 developed from the extraparliamentary opposition of the German student movement of the 1960s. It was intended as a counter-model against the small middle-class family, as a reaction against a society that the commune thought was very conservative.
They were first located (from
February 19, 1967, until the beginning of March, 1967) in the empty apartment of the author, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, in Fregestraße 19, as well as in the studio apartment of the author, Uwe Johnson, who was staying in the USA, at Niedstraße 14 in the Berlin district of Friedenau. After Enzensberger's return from a long study trip to Moscow, they left his apartment and occupied the home of Johnson at Stierstraße 3 for a short time and then finally moved to the second floor of the back of a tenement house in Stephanstraße 60 in the Berlin district of Stephankiez. [Ulrich Enzensberger, "Die Jahre der Kommune I", pp. 105, 108]
Members of the "Munich Subversive Action" (such as
Dieter Kunzelmann) and of the Berlin Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund("SDS") (such as Rudi Dutschkeand Bernd Rabehl) discussed how to break from what they considered to be narrow-minded and bourgeois concepts.
Dieter Kunzelmann had the idea of creating a commune. They decided to try a life of "those passionately interested in themselves". Kunzelmann soon moved to Berlin. In Berlin, the SDS had its first "commune
working group", which advanced the following ideas:
Fascismdevelops from the nuclear family. It is the smallest cell of the state from whose oppressive character all institutions are derived.
* Men and women live in dependence on each other so that neither could develop freely as people.
* This cell (that is, the small family) had to be shattered.
When it was proposed that this theory should be realized as the practice of a life as a commune, many SDS members left, including Rudi Dutschke and Bernd Rabehl, who did not want to give up their marriages and lifestyles. In the end, nine men and women, as well as a child, moved into the empty apartment of
Hans Magnus Enzensbergerand the studio apartment of the author Uwe Johnsonin Berlin-Friedenau, who was staying in New York Cityat the time, on February 19, 1967. After Enzensberger's return from an extended study trip to Moscow, the communards left and occupied the main residence of Johnson in the nearby Stierstraße 3. They called themselves "Kommune 1".
The early communards included
Dagrun Enzensberger(divorced wife of Hans Magnus Enzensberger), Tanaquil Enzensberger(nine years old at that time, daughter of Hans Magnus Enzensberger), Ulrich Enzensberger(Hans Magnus Enzensberger's brother), Dieter Kunzelmann, Detlef Michel(until March 25, 1967), Volker Gebbert, Hans-Joachim Hameister, Dorothea Ridder, ("the iron Dorothee"), Dagmar Seehuberand Fritz Teufel. Rainer Langhansjoined in March of 1967. [Ulrich Enzensberger, "Die Jahre der Kommune I", p. 105] At times, other people also lived in the premises of Kommune 1, such as Dagmar von Doetinchemand Gertrud Hemmer(„Agathe“).
The communards first tried to tell each other their own biographical identity, to break the old certainties. They were very different from each other. Correspondingly, the roles each of them played were soon different. Kunzelmann was the "patriarch" and made sure everyone knew it. His definition of the goals of the commune were based on his time as a "
situationist" and in the "Subversive Action". He was therefore in favor of getting rid of all securities, even financial ones, which is why he scorned study grants, for example. He wanted to abolish any property, any private sphere. And he was against the principle of work, but for the principle of fun or pleasure. Everyone could and should do what he wanted, as long as it happened where everyone could see it.
Langhans, Teufel and the others wore long hair, beaded necklaces, army jackets or Mao suits at the urging of the women of the commune. Soon, they were paid for interviews and photographs. A sign hung plainly in the hallway of their apartment: "First pay up, then speak".
The First Phase: Bizarre acts of provocation
During its entire existence, Kommune 1 was infamous for its bizarre staged events that fluctuated between
satireand provocation. These events served as inspiration for the "Sponti" movement and other leftist groups.
The "Pudding Assassination"
Because the domestic commune life was too boring, the communards decided to turn their internal experience into actions.
The first of these was the "pudding assassination" of US Vice-President
Hubert Humphreywho was scheduled to visit Berlin. On the evening of April 2, 1967, the communards met in Johnson's apartment with about 20 other people whom they knew from demonstrations. Kunzelmann presented his plan of throwing smoke bombs in the direction of the Vice President on the occasion of the state visit. None of the others besides Langhans wanted to participate. [The danger of it being turned into a bloodbath by the US security forces was too great.]
Police files indicate that the planned attack was revealed by a secret service agent, since eleven students were arrested by officials of Division I (Political Police) on
April 5, 1967. They were supposed to have met under conspiritorial conditions and planned attacks against the life or health of the American Vice President, Hubert Horatio Humphrey, by means of bombs, plastic bags filled with unknown chemicals or with other dangerous tools, such as stones.
Those arrested were Ulrich Enzensberger, Volker Gebbert, Klaus Gilgenmann, Hans-Joachim Hameister, Wulf Krause, Dieter Kunzelmann, Rainer Langhans and Fritz Teufel. [Ulrich Enzensberger, "Die Jahre der Kommune I", p. 121] The tabloid "
Bild"'s headline was "Humphrey to be assassinated", the weekly " Zeit" spoke of "Eleven little Oswalds". Even the New York Timesfeatured a report on the dangerous plan of eight communards to attack the Vice-President with pudding, yoghurt, and flour. Because of this negative publicity, Uwe Johnson hastily asked his friend and neighbor Günter Grassto evict the students from his apartment. The next day, the communards were released and gave their first press conference – they had become celebrities, while the press and police officials had lost face in the public eye. The publisher Axel Springer henceforth called the members of Kommune 1 "communards of horror".
The commune moved to an apartment in an old building on Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße on Stuttgarter Platz in the district of Berlin-Charlottenburg and later to Stephanstraße 60 in Berlin-Moabit. Hardly a week passed without the communards staging some kind of satiric provocation somewhere in Berlin, which made headlines in the press. In one of them, the commune climbed up the
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskircheto throw down hundreds of Mao Bibles from above.
The visit of the Shah and the K1 photograph
During a demonstration in front of the Opera against the visit of The Shah of Iran on
June 2, 1967(the death of Benno Ohnesorg), Fritz Teufel was arrested and accused of treason. It was not until December that he was released, after he and many students with him had began a hunger strike. In the streets, sympathizers held wild demonstrations, chanting "Freedom for Fritz Teufel" and "Drive the devil out of Moabit!" ( Moabitbeing Berlin's prison and Teufel being German for devil).
During Teufel's absence from Kommune 1, the infamous phototograph of the communards' naked behinds against the wall was displayed with the headline: "Das Private ist politisch!" ("The personal is political")
The "Arsonist's Lawsuit"
June 6, 1967, the "Arsonist's Lawsuit" was filed against Langhans and Teufel because of flyers calling for arsonagainst department stores, which read, "Holt euch das knisternde Vietnam-Gefühl, das wir auch hier nicht missen wollen!" ("Catch that burning Vietnam feeling that we would not want to miss at home!") The court ultimately ruled in favor of Langhans and Teufel, however. They later told the story of the lawsuit in their book, "Klau Mich" ("Steal Me"), which rose to cult status.
The SDS especially disliked the provocative activities of the K1. The provocative flyers of the K1 ("Water cannons are paper tigers") that were signed with the acronym SDS, were a source of continual irritation. Among other things, the communards were accused of having no political interest, but merely indulging in egotism. Hence in May of 1967, the SDS expelled the "revolutionary rowdies" (
In the weekly newspaper
Zeit, Klaus Hartung wrote: "Scarcely any political theory was more successful than that according to which revolutionaries have to revolutionize, according to which there will be no change in the society without a change in everyday life."
Kommune 1 developed into a kind of refuge for alternative thinkers for problems of all kinds; appeals for help arrived daily. The house was under a veritable siege by friends and
groupies who worshipped Teufel and Langhans. Because of the crowd of women, especially caused by Teufel, he was expelled from the commune. He moved into a Munich commune and later belonged to the Movement 2 June.
The Second Phase: Sex, drugs and Uschi Obermaier
By the end of the 1960s, the societal climate had changed. In the late summer of 1968, the commune moved into a deserted factory on Stephanstraße in order to reorient. This second phase of Kommune 1 was characterized by sex, music, and drugs.
September 21, 1968, the commune went to the International Song Days in Essen, the Federal Republic's first underground festival. [cite web
url = http://www.folker.de/200306/02songtage.htm
title = Deutschlands Woodstock
accessdate = 2007-12-29
last = Wagner
first = Christoph
year = 2003
language = German] There, Langhans met and fell in love with
Uschi Obermaier, a model from Munich. She lived with the Munich-based music commune Amon Düül, but soon she moved in with the communards of Kommune 1, who shared one bedroom. Soon, the press called Langhans and Obermaier the "best-looking couple of the APO".
The politization of the private sphere and the fact that Langhans and Obermaier spoke openly to the media about their relationship, about jealousy and about "pleasure machines" constituted the next breaking of social taboos, ushering in the
sexual revolution. Later, John Lennonand Yoko Onoand others followed their example.
All of a sudden, the commune was receiving visitors from all over the world, among them the legendary guitarist,
Jimi Hendrix, who turned up one morning in the bedroom of Kommune 1. Obermaier fell in love with him.
Her modeling fees rose sharply, she was given a lead role in
Rudolf Thome's cult movie [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rote_Sonne_(Film) Rote Sonne] (1969). [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064905/ (Rote Sonne at IMDB)] . (Red Sun), and her photos were all over posters and magazine covers. Rumor has it that the magazine Sternpaid her 20 thousand Deutschmark (the price of a Porsche 911at the time) for an interview and nude photos of this self-confident woman of the commune movement.
The end of Kommune 1 and its legacy
Eventually, the energy of Kommune 1 was spent. Kunzelmann's addiction to
heroinworsened and the second communard was expelled from the commune. (It is said that the other members of the commune left of their own will). Now and then, the Munich women's communes appeared.
In November 1969, a gang of
Rockersraided those who remained and devastated the rooms. The remaining occupants lost their belief in the future of Kommune 1 and they dispersed. Obermaier and Langhans went to Munich.
A table from one of the rooms of the Kommune 1 was bought by the Green Party politician
Hans-Christian Ströbele. During meetings around that same table, the newspaper die tageszeitungand the German Chaos Computer Clubwere founded. The table was stolen in 1990, and there is some speculation as to its whereabouts today.
Chaos Computer Club
* Enzensberger, Ulrich. 2004. "Die Jahre der Kommune I. Berlin 1967-1969". Köln: Kiepenheuer & Witsch. ISBN 3-462-03413-8
* Fahlenbrach, Kathrin. 2004. "The Aesthetics of Protest in the Media of 1968 in Germany" (conference paper). Proceedings, IX International Congress of the International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature, 2004. Available from: http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/igel/igel2004/Proceedings/Fahlenbrach.pdf (
* Rabehl, Bernd. 2003. "Die Provokationselite: Aufbruch und Scheitern der subversiven Rebellion in den sechziger Jahren." (Teil 2: Die Revolte in der Revolte: Die Kommune 1.) Available from: http://people.freenet.de/visionen/Provo2.htm
* Martin Klimke, Joachim Scharloth (eds.).2007. "1968. Ein Handbuch zur Kultur- und Mediengeschichte der Studentenbewegung." Stuttgart: Metzler. ISBN 3476020665
* Wolfgang Dreßen, Dieter Kunzelmann, Eckhard Siepmann (publ.): "Das Nilpferd des höllischen Urwalds. Situationisten - Gruppe Spur - Kommune I." Anabas-Verlag, Gießen 1991.
* Rainer Langhans, Fritz Teufel: "Klau mich. StPO der Kommune I." Edition Voltaire, Frankfurt am Main and Berlin 1968 (Series: Voltaire Handbuch 2), Reprint (without pornographic insert): Trikont Verlag, Munich 1977; Rixdorfer Verlagsanstalt, Berlin undated 
* Christa Ritter, Rainer Langhans: "Herz der Revolte. Die Kommune 1 von 1967 bis 1969." Hannibal Verlag, 2005, ISBN 3-854-45258-6.
* Peter Szondi: "Aufforderung zur Brandstiftung. Ein Gutachten im Prozeß Langhans / Teufel." in: Der Monat, Berlin, 19th year, issue 7, 1967, p. 24-29, also printed in: Peter Szondi: "Über eine "Freie (d. h. freie) Universität". Stellungnahmen eines Philologen." Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1973 (Series: es 620)
* [http://www.mitglied.lycos.de/groby007/kommunei.htm Kommune 1 in Berlin] (in German)
* [http://www.signandsight.com/features/434.html The anti-Semitism of the 68ers] , Philipp Gessler and Stefan Reinecke interview with Tilman Fichter, "Sign and Sight", October 31, 2005. - mostly about Dieter Kunzelmann, with some material on Kommune 1.
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Look at other dictionaries:
Kommune — Kommune … Deutsch Wörterbuch
Kommune — (lat. communis ‚allgemein, gemeinschaftlich‘), als Adjektiv kommunal, steht für: politische Gemeinde, bzw. Gemeindeebene, die lokalen Gebietskörperschaften, siehe Gemeinde Kommunalebene, die national unterste räumlich administrative… … Deutsch Wikipedia
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Kommūne — (franz. commune), soviel wie Gemeinde … Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon
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Kommune 1 — Die Kommune I (K1) war nicht die erste politisch motivierte Wohngemeinschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, aber die spektakulärste. Sie wurde am 1. Januar 1967 in Berlin gegründet und löste sich im November 1969 endgültig auf. Die Kommune I… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kommune 2 — Die Kommune 2 war eine Lebensgemeinschaft in Berlin Charlottenburg, in der versucht wurde, kollektives Leben mit politischer Arbeit zu verbinden. Kommune 2 bezieht sich auf die kurz vorher gegründete Kommune I, gegenüber der sie auch… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kommune I — Die Kommune I (K1) war eine politisch motivierte Wohngemeinschaft in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Sie wurde am 1. Januar 1967 in West Berlin gegründet und löste sich im November 1969 endgültig auf. Die Kommune I entstand aus der… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Kommune — WG; Wohngruppe; Wohngemeinschaft; Gemeinde * * * Kom|mu|ne [kɔ mu:nə], die; , n: Gemeinde (1 a): Bund, Länder und Kommunen. * * * Kom|mu|ne 〈f. 19〉 1. 〈MA〉 Stadtstaat mit republikanischer Verfassung ( … Universal-Lexikon