About 15 suspected anti-gentrification activists vandalized the Vertikal restaurant in Kreuzberg late Wednesday, March 1, as part of the ongoing battle over the July eviction of the Filou bakery and gentrification in once-alternative Kreuzberg, according to the BZ.
The vandals reportedly broke windows and spray painted anti-gentrification and anti-immigrant sayings including, “Fat-cat foreigners out!”, while three employees looked on from inside. The attackers wore disguises and quickly disappeared on their bikes.
The vandalism brings violence to a weeks-old war of words and protest over the unexpected eviction of Filou, a bakery in the same building as Vertikal. The building’s London-based owner has said he was disappointed in the bakery’s quality but the baker, Daniel Spülbeck, has said it’s the first time he’s heard any such complaints from the owner in his 20 years in Reichenberger Strasse.
Vertikal founder Claire D’Orsay said she was confused by the attacks.
“I started here with nothing and I’m anything but a fat cat,” D’Orsay was quoted by the paper. “And I’m against gentrification — I’m from Brooklyn.”
D’Orsay reportedly moved to Berlin after her partner was unable to get a long-term visa in the U.S. She met the building’s owner, Charles Skinner, while working in another store. He’s now backing her restaurant, which has tried to fit in with the neighborhood’s character and offers lunch as cheap as €5.
“I wish they would come talk to me. They all know my name and what I look like. They usually appear anonymously, without any identity,” she told the paper.
Filou employees brought her croissants to apologize for the attack and show solidarity.
Local neighborhood group Bizim Kiez also condemned the attack on its Facebook page.
“The neighborhood protest for the Filou cafe and against the pushy owner has no common ground with this kind of attack!” the organization wrote.
Photo thanks Vertikal.