After WWII Berlin had lost lot’s of the Housing, that had patterned the city in the 19th century. The Social democrat Senate of the city planned the demolition of many of the remaining ones in Kreuzberg. They wanted to replace it with cheap public housing. The renovation of the old places, lots of them had no central heating system for example, seemed to be more expensive they thought.
Beside this considerations the public housing sector got a huge speculation business for construction firms and banks. Single people got millionaires by building ugly, cheap places for people with a low income. The student movement, deeply influenced by a self made understanding of socialism and political activism with references to the idealized communist China, the USSR and Cuba, started invading old Houses. They wanted to prevent their demolition and claimed cheap bur good quality houses for the people.
The German police used harsh methods to break the resistance. Violence during demonstrations and the detention of activist was widespread. Still the occupy movement didn’t give up. It took nearly two centuries until the occupied houses were legalized and the prior occupiers got house owners.
Also have a look at:
Have a look of our non-linear narrative at SenseofTime about how the Bethanien became and arthouse: http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=2208
Rosa in the city of stones: http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=2979
Berlin, the symphony of a city: http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=3101
David Bowie’s Berlin: http://senseoftime.inenart.eu/?p=2964