Brandenburg: Henf, Heimat, Hölderlin – Fredersdorf wählt einen Bürgermeister

Die Kolumne „Sucht und Ordnung“ von Karsten Krampitz erscheint einmal im Monat. Ihr Titel geht auf sein gleichnamiges Theaterstück zurück, eine „Bettleroper“, die 2014 beim Klagenfurter Ensemble Premiere feierte. Karsten Krampitz ist Historiker, Schriftsteller und Journalist. In Fredersdorf spielt etwa sein Roman Wasserstand und Tauchtiefe, 2014 erschienen im Verbrecher Verlag.

In Berlin bin ich zu Hause, habe ich meine Freunde, vielleicht auch in Klagenfurt, wo ich jedes Jahr ein paar Wochen arbeite. Aufgewachsen aber bin ich in Fredersdorf, einem Vorort Berlins. Hier liegt meine Alzheimat – der Ort meiner Kindheit: Enge, Suff und Prügel. Und lange her.

My great-grandfather worked as a hairdresser here.

The graves of my parents are here, as well as those of my maternal grandparents. My great-grandfather Robert had a hair salon on Platanenstraße. A few houses down, my biological grandmother jumped to her death. Why, no one knows. Only that at the end of the war, other women also ended their lives. The Red Army had their quarters in the same street – in the „Russian castle,“ as the ruins were later called. Nothing more was ever spoken about it.

In Fredersdorf, a town in Brandenburg, people talk a lot but communicate less with each other. And just like everywhere in the East, my generation inherits few possessions from their parents, but they do inherit the traumas.

The current twin municipality of Fredersdorf-Vogelsdorf used to be a sleepy village for a long time. However, it was not a restful sleep, rather a kind of coma. In addition, there were the fractures caused by reunification, globalization, and digitization – so it’s no wonder that some of the approximately 14,000 residents today are a bit peculiar.

Harald Juhnke und Ulrich Plenzdorf

Harald Juhnke and Ulrich Plenzdorf spent their retirement here. The Fredersdorf cycling track has its own Wikipedia entry. The Victory Column in Berlin is said to have been built by a Fredersdorf resident: the factory owner Carl Gottlob Bohm. Additionally, there were several pubs here and a cinema at the railway crossing, where on Sunday mornings for us children, „Der kleine Muck“ (Friday 32/2023) and „Das singende, klingende Bäumchen“ were shown. Nowadays, a casino is located there. The library still exists, but it has moved to Waldstraße; I still borrow Heinrich Böll’s stories, „Mein trauriges Gesicht“. The due date was August 25, 1988, which will be expensive.

The place of my childhood no longer exists. The Mühlenfließ, where I used to catch crabs with a homemade net made from my mother’s tights and sell them to my father for one mark each, is now just a dried-up riverbed. The groundwater has decreased; the wet meadows are gone, as are the frogs and the storks. Fredersdorf without a stream, without flora, and without fauna.

Der irrationale AfD-Trend

The people who have moved here are doing well. There is hardly any material poverty in Fredersdorf. There are no foreigners, let alone refugees. However, more and more people are choosing to vote for AfD. This irrational anger is the great puzzle. If this trend continues, the Nazis will soon take over more town halls and district offices in East Germany. But in Fredersdorf, it is not yet that far, because as Friedrich Hölderlin said: „Where there is danger, the saving also grows.“

Our old neighbor Stephan Henf, 56, is running as a candidate in the mayoral election on September 24th! He is down-to-earth and warm-hearted (like his uncle Rudi, who always used to give me rabbits, but that’s beside the point). Henf is supported by the independent voter group W.I.R.! The qualified economist works as an asset manager for an East German company. He is not an angry citizen, but rather a Protestant who has organized church events in the past. And going even further back, my friend Stephan was one of those civic activists who publicly exposed election fraud during the local elections in May 89, both in Fredersdorf and in the Strausberg district. So he has done more for his candidacy in a democracy than others. Mayor Henf won’t bring back the frogs and crabs, but he will certainly do a good job.