Hardly remembered due to a lack of lobby – Günter Schwannecke

Günter Schwannecke intervened when another was threatened by racists. This podcast episode with the guests Diana König from the Günter Schwannecke memorial initiative and Paul Neupert from the BAG homeless aid commemorates Günter Schwannecke as an artist. It shows the challenges of dignified remembrance when right-wing violence hits people without a strong lobby.

About the event

The two homeless artists Günter Schwannecke and Hagen Knuth toast Hagen’s birthday in a park in Berlin Charlottenburg on 29 August 1992. When two men with connections to the extreme right-wing scene make racist remarks to a third group, Günter Schwannecke and Hagen Knuth interfere and demonstrate civil courage. As a result, they are beaten with a baseball bat and seriously injured. Günter Schwannecke dies of his injuries a few days later.

Literature, links and background information

Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe

Günter-Schwannecke-Gedenkinitiative Website and Facebook page

Since 2000, the NSU has used the same weapon to murder: Enver Şimşek (38) – murdered on 9 September 2000 in Nuremberg, Abdurrahim Özüdoğru (49) – murdered on 13 June 2001 in Nuremberg, Süleyman Taşköprü (31) – murdered on 27 June 2001 in Hamburg, Habil Kılıç (38) – murdered on 29 August 2001 in Munich, Mehmet Turgut (25) – murdered on 25 February 2004 in Rostock, İsmail Yaşar (50) – murdered on 9 June 2005 in Nuremberg, Theodoros Boulgarides (41) – murdered on 15 June 2005 in Munich, Mehmet Kubaşık (39) – murdered on 4 April 2006 in Dortmund, Halit Yozgat (21) – murdered on 6 April 2006 in Kassel.

Podcast „Sozialdarwinistische Morde an Wohnungslosen“ by 404 – Willkommen in Entropien. including, among others Dirk Dymarski from Selbstvertretung wohnungsloser Menschen

Further information on Günter Schwannecke and his remembrance can be found at the following links, as well as others:

Further literature on violence against homeless people as well as on the ideology of the term “social darwinism”:

Opferperspektive e.V., (2015)(Hrsg.): Rassistische Diskriminierung und rechte Gewalt: an der Seite der Betroffenen beraten, informieren, intervenieren. 2. Auflage. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot.

Pollich, Daniela (2017): „Opferwerdung wohnungsloser Menschen.
Ein Überblick zum Stand der Forschung zu Theorien, Methoden, Opfern und Tätern“, IKG Working Paper Bielefeld, S. 51-77.

Teidelbaum, Lucius. Obdachlosenhass und Sozialdarwinismus. 1. Auflage. Unrast transparent. Rechter Rand, Band 13. Münster: Unrast, 2013.


Editors: Tanja Thomas, Fabian Virchow and Tobias Fernholz
Co-conceptualization and production: grasshopper kreativ
Hosts: Tanja Thomas and Fabian Virchow
Sound logo: Martin Pfeilsticker and Pia Fruth

The event review was produced by Master’s students from Eberhard Karls University Tübingen and Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences.

Cover photo: Karl-August Holländer via Gedenkinitiative Günter Schwannecke (the Günter Schwannecke commemorative initiative). The picture shows Günter Schwannecke around 1980 in a café in Braunschweig. In the background are pictures that he drew himself. Collage: grasshopper kreativ.

Credits event review

Soundbite: Diana König
Students: Annkatrin Voos, Fabian Lenhardt, Laura Scherer, Philipp Sigle, Elisabeth Köhnke, Sophia Schlicker und Marlene Pick
Speaker: Pia Fruth

This podcast was created as part of Doing Memory, an interdisciplinary project in the field of memory culture – by Tanja Thomas, Matthias Lorenz and Fabian Virchow. The “Doing Memory” project was funded by the VolkswagenStiftung (Volkswagen Foundation).