Demonstrators Protest the Demolition of Two Villas

One of the villas in question, photo by Tessa Enright

Around 150 demonstrators gathered in front of the City Center on Friday night to protest the proposed demolition of two villas behind the post office in Görlitz.

Private investor Winfried Stöcker, who purchased the Kaufhaus in Görlitz in 2013 with the intention of opening it as a department store again, wants to tear the villas down in order to make more room for deliveries to the department store and for the parking garage. The Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (the office responsible for monument protection in Saxony) insists that the two villas must be preserved.

The disagreement has escalated, with Stöcker writing a letter to the city with an ultimatum: if he is not allowed to tear down the two villas, he will abandon the project. The city of Görlitz, meanwhile, is interested in working with Stöcker to find a solution but Stöcker warns that he is already 73 years old and the clock is ticking, so to speak.

A petition circulated on the internet, protesting the demolition of the two villas and has been signed by over 200 people. The demonstration on Friday night was organized by the SPD party in Görlitz. Demonstrators were careful to wear masks and the demonstration ended peacefully. On stage they presented memories of the two villas, which was home to the so-called „StiPo“ or Stille Post – a house project which promotes the sustainable cultural revitalization of unused and decaying buildings in Görlitz. They offer a place for young artists to exhibit, hold workshops, concerts, discussions and to create.

Demonstrators against the demolition of the two villas brought up the demolition of the Wilhelm Theater in Görlitz as a comparison to the loss of a cultural heritage monument. The Wilhelm Theater was opened in 1889 and was demolished in 2001, despite strong protests from the citizens of Görlitz, to make way for the City Center shopping center and parking garage.

The city is still hoping that an agreement can be reached and the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (the office responsible for monument protection in Saxony) has requested that a proposal be submitted for consideration, which would preserve the two villas.

Previously on Görlitz News in English:

Kaufhaus Project at a Standstill