crack! The T-Rex to bite. The first chunks fall to the ground. Mouth meet, he sets the piece again and takes it between the worn teeth. He is shaking, cracking and malmt. The colossus lets out until only the skeleton is left. Then he throws it on the large pile to the other. Plonk!

The steel dinosaur is a 40-ton CAT track excavator, his muzzle is a pulverizer with iron teeth. His victim was a two and a half meters high and four meters wide plate made of grey concrete, held together by a skeleton of steel. “C25/30, roars Bernhard Gillig, and points to the next slab of concrete: “That is relatively soft.” Good for the iron teeth. Since it keeps longer.

car boom city of Wolfsburg

The burly man waved to the backhoe operator and calls something to him in Romanian. The engine is silent. Now Gillig understand it better. He speaks in the sing of the Saxons sang. The 46-Year-old construction Manager, more specifically, the removal circuit is here. The Supreme Demolition Man.

For the demolition company Linkamp he has already placed all the industrial plants in rubble and ashes. On 450 acres, the area of more than 300 football fields, he has conducted 42 excavator. Only 30 people are in use. “This is a small site.” But a highly political one.


In the large housing estate West of Hagen from the 70s were originally 15,000 people.

©Euro aerial photo/DPA

The powdered plate was 46 years, the exterior wall of a dwelling, 205, part of a huge concrete castle with 17 500 square feet of living space, built with the funding of social housing. The gray Block is in a city where the housing shortage of the auto boom town of Wolfsburg. But is now made all flat, again subsidised to the tune of several million euros. What’s going on here?

In the Wolfsburg district of West Hagen is the craziness of German housing policy visit. 50 years of delusions of grandeur, failure management and repair operation. Who comes on A 39 to Wolfsburg, you can see the block of flats from a distance. He is perched on a hill at the entrance to the city, 105 metres above normal zero. The building appears to be even higher than it is with its up to 14 storeys and 42 metres.

satellite town to West of Hagen

The satellite town West of Hagen was designed in the ‘ 60s and in the 70s, like the big settlements in Mümmelmannsberg, Hamburg or Hasenbergl in Munich. “Urbanity by density” was the Motto of the planner. 15,000 people should live here once, 9000 today. The chain houses can have no beginning and no end. A lot of raw concrete, stacked high, uniform units. Despite the colorful color accents find the orientation difficult. Architecture critics call it “brutalism”.

Two months before the start of the actual crash, Hans-Dieter Brand is waiting on the windswept square in front of the block. The man with the black nerd glasses and his camera. For some time, he documented the changes in Western Hagen. On his bleak photos of the living looks of the tower almost to Aleppo: black window caves, ruptured discs, stained chipboard.


The retired couple Heidrun and Lothar Kruse in her former garden: Actually, they wanted to spend their evening of Life

©Franz Bischof/star

In the main profession, Hans-Dieter Brand, managing Director of the municipal housing company Neuland. She has purchased the long-vacant property in 2015. For more than ten years ago, a renovation of the course program for the district, he says. “The Demolition is the last of the great measure.” The word demolition, he avoids.

Billigbau instead of garden city,

The roads are here after places in the former GDR has been named. Halle, Jena, Weimar. The problem is the block has the house numbers 14 to 34 in the Dessauer Straße. Ironically, Dessau. The founder of the Bauhaus propagated there one hundred years ago, the construction of light-filled garden cities for the workers, including through the use of prefabricated parts. What was all too often the idea is left, is to visit in West Hagen: industrial Billigbau with plates.

A picket fence encloses the complex. Behind it looks pretty normal – even the sign for “play football” depends on prohibited. In the yard of white debris container to stand with the slogan “We are the Best get out of here!”. One each for wood, ceramic and electronic scrap. The Elevator works. From the seventh floor one has a free view over the amazing green of Wolfsburg. In the distance, the four red chimney stones of the VW to recognize the power plant. Typical of the large housing estates of the 70s, the strict separation of Work and Living. Today this is considered wrong.


Lego XXL: By crane are bathrooms the loose concrete elements drained

©Franz Bischof/star

The first apartment on the right is large and bright, four-room, two. It seems as if the previous tenant had moved out yesterday. Even toilet paper is still there. The white, black and gray tiles of the toilet floor are reminiscent of a crossword puzzle. In Berlin-Mitte, the sure hip. Clear, non-lined heating pipes, from floor to ceiling, just beautiful. But here you could know with three buckets Alpina, two rolls of carpet and a fitted kitchen from Ikea to move in but the day after tomorrow or?

Contaminated with asbestos and PCBS

The construction professionals shaking his head violently. Energetically a disaster in the joints and the environment put toxic PCBS, in the floors of carcinogenic asbestos fibers. Each apartment must be sealed and the to a giant vacuum cleaner connected, so that workers in protective clothing can remove the floor plates. The result: hazardous waste, tonnes.

“In the Wake of the refugee crisis, we were asked in 2015 whether or not you can’t use the building,” says Brand, “but since much of the language in contrast: broken equipment, Contaminated sites, potential social problems.” Is it cautious formulated.

West Hagen is almost since its inception, a social focal point. Here, you felt it, than in the 70s and 80s, the rise of the VW stopped. Unemployment, violence, drugs, almost a No-go Area. Many of the shops closed. Those who could, moved away. In 2002, 20 percent of the homes were in the district of leer, in the Block of Dessau road one-half, in each of the staircases, more than 80 percent. Or as it has been said the SPD mayor Klaus Mohrs visit here: “With these buildings, we have to get the big city problems to Wolfsburg.”


Demolition: All of the apartments were gutted, and of asbestos

Even freed after many boom years in the case of VW, the unemployment rate is eight percent – twice as much as in the wolf Burger is average. Around 40 percent of the children live from Hartz IV. Two-thirds of the inhabitants have a migration background, one in five has a foreign passport.

a Hundred meters from the fence far Heidrun Kruse stands on a balcony, almost disappears behind a wall of red geraniums. She shakes her head vigorously. “I like living here”, she calls and asks to the terrace table with white and green floral blanket. “In 1977, we moved here with four children,” says the 69-Year-old. It shows the chain construction in the Dessauer Straße. “First of all, in the number 14, then moved to 16. It was a nice apartment.”

1108,56 Mark per square meter

Many Nations have lived under one roof, people from Pakistan, Turkey, ethnic German repatriates from Russia. “The neighborhood was good,” she says, “our Problem was the landlord. It has been taken care of but never someone.”

she disappears briefly and comes back with a plastic folder. Clear plastic is all documented. The deficiencies: leaky window, mold on the walls, water leaks in the basement. And the fight against it: petitions, recovery plans, and newspaper articles about the protest travel of the tenants first to Hannover, and later in Berlin.

New home, Baubecon, Oceanus, Pirelli, Arwobau, Berlinnovo. The list of owners and managers acts as a journey through the economic scandals of the Federal Republic of Germany.


uncharted territory-in-chief Hans-Dieter Brand, bought the Block to him

©Franz Bischof/star

to demolish had Erected, the concrete block once the New home, the housing Association of the trade unions, with government support. In 1982, the “mirror unveiled”, as the Manager had supported. Then it came out that the company was over-indebted. In 1986, the unions wanted to sell the ailing company, including the apartment of the family Kruse – for a Mark on the bread manufacturers, Horst Schiesser. That’s what went wrong. At the end of the Federal States and private investors bought the real estate only in lower Saxony, this didn’t work. In 1999, the unions residual stocks los beat. The price: 1108,56 Mark per square meter. What sounds cheap, should soon prove as expensive.

Planted wheelbarrow

the buyer was a company from the realm of the state-owned Bank Gesellschaft Berlin. She grabbed the apartments in a real estate Fund and sold them to thousands of retail investors, with a rental guarantee for 25 years. In the prospectus, no word from high vacancy rates and a Renovation backlog. In 2004, an auditor estimated the for the Dessauer Straße necessary expenses to 15 million euros – more than the purchase price.

What then happened, as the Berlin banking scandal in history: The country had to pay back billions to investors in the funds. The taxpayers were asked for the second Time to the cashier. Only for the maintenance of the apartment of the family Kruse was always gone, not a single Euro.


piece by piece is dismantled, the Wolfsburg-based block of flats. A construction worker directs a component of concrete to the ground. It is then crushed.

©Franz Bischof star

“It was repaired, nothing more,” complains Heidrun Kruse. 2016’ve told then: “you must get out!” It takes three photos. “We had such a beautiful garden!” Husband Lothar, 81, posing on the green lawn next to a fountain, and planted wheelbarrow.

With the Walker, he’s on the short way to show what has become of the old place to Stay. Sadly, a marshmallow in the tall Grass, the living room window are boarded up. “This was our home,” says Lothar. “We wanted to spend our evening of Life,” says Heidrun, both on the verge of tears.

again and again, the state pays

The Kruses had hoped for a renovation with partial demolition. First of all, the apartment Manager of the Federal state of Berlin had developed plans for it. But for the money, and even the will was lacking then. Given the rental situation in the capital investment in the far Wolfsburg would have been difficult to communicate. The real estate market had turned in the meantime, and the former New-home-package should be usually sold to the highest bidder at private investors. Thanks to a well-filled Treasury Wolfsburg in 2015, could make his pre – emption claim on the urban society is a new frontier. For the third Time, public money for the same apartments floss.

the new owner of Heidrun Kruse loses is not a bad word. “The new territory has supported us top.” The replacement apartment is handicap-accessible. However, the logic of the demolition can’t understand you. “Over three million in funding for a demolition”, she demanded, “this is crazy, totally.”

in fact, the money for the fourth Time in control of the Dessau road. 3.7 million of which come from the Federal government and the country from the programme “the Social city”. Also, the demolition of buildings is “basically eligible”, from the competent Federal Ministry of the interior. The target was to reduce urban and social ills. “That’s exactly it,” said Wolfsburg’s first city Council Werner borcher Ding, “in addition, it has had a modernization as a completely uneconomical.” However, there were subsidised, Dismantling, especially in the economically weak Eastern Germany. The idea for the West Hagen was born more than ten years ago, as the location was in the housing market is still quite different. In Wolfsburg, the decreased vacancy rate, now at 0.5 percent. “Only down to the seed, then torn down”, not more criticism of the housing, a politician of the Left, Caren Lay, “to promote the Federal funding, is timely.”

In West Hagen is to be the wounds of brutalism healed. The houses are low, the apartments are small. But that will take years. Lothar Kruse, who once helped build as an excavator driver in the district, will watch it from his balcony.

site Manager Gillig is now on the roof of the block. Where the Ceilings have been removed, it looks like a huge doll house. “It’s like Lego,” he explains. The wrecking ball, or even a blow up came because of the location in the middle of the district and because of the Legacy is not in question.

44,000 tons of rubble

the structure has Loops, each Element has two. By radio, the crane is conducted, a Demag TC 600 with a 75-metre cantilever. The rope is hooked in and tensioned. Now the concrete can no longer drop plate or crash. With the chisel, the Romanian workers (“All permanent employees loosen up!”) the Compounds and knock the mortar out. You have to be a mountaineer-in-training, and are secured with ropes.

Krrrrrr. The plate is floating almost majestically on the steel rope to the bottom. The Styrofoam is cut off and scraped. Now there is fresh feed for the steel dinosaur. The 205 apartments, he will be 44 by the summer 000 tons of debris have crushed.

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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.