The ones no one sees: bamberg’s homeless

"The worst were the nights, the icy nights, when I walked the streets looking for a place to sleep", reports toni weib (name changed by the editors). Sometimes the man from bamberg stayed with acquaintances – for a short time. At times, however, all doors remained closed to him. Agonizingly slowly the time passed after midnight, after the passers-by disappeared – sometime also the last night owls. "I walked and walked through the cold, more asleep than awake, until the forces made me fall in love." Then toni nodded off in a doorway or a public toilet. "I leaned against a wall and closed my eyes until I picked myself up again."

Toni W.A schoolboy, a high school graduate, a student of pedagogy, a public service employee, then, after suffering from cancer, unemployed and, some time later, homeless. "Everything became too much. I couldn't cope anymore, I let things slide", says the 50-year-old. Alcohol helped to suppress for a few moments, but only made toni's problems worse. "So I crashed", says the bamberger. For almost a year he had no permanent place to stay, but used the "warmestube" of "people in need", to shower, eat and talk to others, while he otherwise remained silent, preferring to stay alone. Finally, toni knew that now he also belonged to those who overlook many wealthy burghers.

Up to 25 000 people
In the free state, the number of homeless people is currently estimated at between 20.000 and 25.000 people. They fall through the cracks, live in the shadows of society. That's what unites men, women and children. But every story behind it is unique – like toni, who stayed away from other homeless people who sleep under bridges, who meet you at the bus or train station with a bottle of cheap booze in their hands: the apathetic expression of many who no longer have anything to do with the everyday hustle and bustle around them. What fates brought the people on the road, which sometimes scornful, sometimes anxious side glances of passers-by streak? Many do not understand why homeless people fall through the social net. What else do they want in view of the basic security that everyone is entitled to?? In view of the emergency accommodation that is currently being used in bamberg by around 25 men (theresienstrabe), seven women and children (kapellenstrabe) and also by transients who are finding overnight accommodation in sutte 17?

Taken over by the father
Waldi bauer is not one of those who judge the needy lightly. "From my father I learned to have an open heart for people who had nothing left of what for most means wealth and possessions", says the erlangen university professor of organic chemistry, whom many bambergers know as a band member of schweinsohr selection and brand old.

On his 60th. On the occasion of his 50th birthday, the frenchman wanted to draw attention to all those who live on the street and to institutions such as "menschen in distress looking for help. Bauer is organizing a benefit concert with his brand-old colleague uwe gaasch and is also inviting people to attend on 15. Marz to a "guided tour of the city of a special kind": as head of the "warmestube on this day, peter klein will guide you through the bamberg of all those who "make a flat".

Uber 100 in bamberg
"I estimate that at least 100 people are homeless or houseless in bamberg," says klein, says klein. Those who feared the proximity of others in emergency accommodation, but found no place to stay with friends or acquaintances, sometimes ended up in jail. "Whereby the dark figure is certainly higher", according to the social pedagogue. "To make a record" draw people. "You don't get old under these conditions", says peter klein. "At some point, I lose track of one or the other and later learn from guests at the warmestube that they have died or are in a nursing home." In the very first year after the social pedagogue took over the meeting place in 2008, this fate befell ten visitors. "Strikingly young were some of them, 40 or not much old."

"Five to 12
Toni made the jump before it was too late, although he is currently still looking for a long-term place to stay from the assisted living area of the warmestube. Just like paul F. (name changed), who lived on the streets for five years. The separation from his wife threw the now 60-year-old off course. "I drank, lost my job and could no longer pay the rent", reports the trained painter. In the beginning, paul stayed with acquaintances. Eventually, however, he got a sleeping bag and retreated under the ramp of an underground parking garage, where the icy wind didn't bother the homeless man too much. "Cardboard as a base to prevent freezing to death, and of course alcohol.

No, you can't live this life without alcohol", says the bamberger who only got off the bottle when it was "five to 12" was, as he remembers. "A doctor told me that without withdrawal I would die in a very short time." And this withdrawal succeeded paul without outside help. In retrospect, how does the 60-year-old view the time he spent on the streets, scrounging for money and sleeping in parking garages?? "All this is becoming normal. You don't think about what's next, you don't feel sorry for yourself. After all, it was not chosen otherwise."

How many succeed in building a new life?? Very few. "You need a support like for me finally my love for life and the fear of the approaching death", means paul. Then people still expect many hurdles – such as the search for housing and jobs in an elbow society in which everyone thinks of himself first and foremost.

Fortunately, there are people who feel for paul, toni and others who have had a hard time with fate. "I have not been hostile during my time on the streets", reports paul. Many law enforcement officials also sympathize with the homeless, as police chief gerald storath emphasized as a press spokesman. "We don't evict anyone from an underground garage at minus 20 degrees, even if they don't want to use a city emergency shelter." Aggressive gangs of beggars who make money from the misery of others are a problem. Apart from that, storath does not understand the displeasure of many people for whom homeless people are a thorn in the flesh. "What is so bad about someone holding out his hat and asking for a few pennies??"

By the way, the concert of brand old for the homeless will take place on the 15th of this month. March starting from 21 o'clock in the jazz cellar. To the "guided tour of the city of a special kind" on the same day from 5 p.M. On, interested parties should call peter klein at 2084926 to register.


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