My Life as Secretary General — Friday

A long time ago: In 2004 the poet Peter Wawerzinek and I founded the German PENN. We had dusted off the “Alfred-Döblin Fellowship” of the Berlin Academy of Arts, which was well endowed, but also required a stay in Wewelsfleth, Schleswig-Holstein – in the former home of Günter Grass. And because it can get very boring in front of and behind the dykes of the Elbe and the Stör (the country is so flat, it is said that you can already see Friday who comes for tea on Sunday), because of that and because we had no ideas for writing novels, but still wanted to give interviews, we founded the German PENN in the former residence of the future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In my memory, it was not a moving historical event, but rather due to the consumption of various distillates and spirits. PENN stood for poets, essayists, narcotics and nonsense. Mr. Wawerzinek was president and I was his general secretary. We were both elected unanimously by the General Assembly, with two votes. Later Döblin Scholar and Wessi Norbert Kron joined our poet association, which opened up completely new possibilities: Due to musical differences, the association should now split into PENN Ost and PENN West.

Mostly steaks, rarely sausages

And quite frankly, I may never be as happy in my life as when I was secretary general. Comparing the German PENN with a “Bratwurst stand” would be close to reality; In the garden behind Günter Grass’s house we often grilled a lot, but it was only steaks and rarely sausages. At that time, the “Eulenhof”, a care center for alcoholics, resided in the farm opposite. Gerd Gedig, the boss, was happy to come in for a beer after work. Because in the village itself he could not go to the pub, he would have been spoken to immediately. When the director of a drunken asylum is addicted to alcohol, it is like a policeman who steals. And it doesn’t work at all! During one of our convivial barbecue evenings in the “Bratwurstbude”, the idea came up that the German PENN should get involved politically. And on the spot. This is how the idea of ​​the drinking trap was born. In the following, I apologize, but because I receive line wages, our appeal is documented here in full:

“Action Findeltrinker – No questions asked. No witnesses. No police.
Because they were dumped there by their wives, hundreds of drinkers freeze to death under German bridges, in streets and parks every winter. The few people who survive by chance usually end up in a condition requiring urgent nursing care.

There are no official statistics on quitting impotent drinkers. Experts assume that in this country most of the cold-related deaths were intoxicated. The number of unreported cases is likely much higher. Dealing with alcohol and its victims is always a clear indicator of how things are going in a society. Even though we don’t live in Greenland, people are freezing to death. The half-life of human relationships has decreased significantly in recent years. Above all, old and unemployed men are rigorously eliminated. In order to counteract the common practice of closing your eyes and leaving them where they are, the German PENN, together with Eulenhof, launched the “Findeltrinker” campaign. It basically consists of three building blocks:

– A national emergency number is now available 24 hours a day. Under: 04829-9226 women who have argued with their drinking companions receive advice. In addition to the use of far-reaching offers of help, anonymous acceptance of the drinker can be agreed in cases of extreme urgency.
– On November 1, 2004, the world’s first drinking hatch was put into service at Wewelsfleth. Drunks can be handed over anonymously by their wives/daughters/mothers, but also by the neighbor. At the Eulenhof, found drinkers receive immediate medical help and loving care for the critical first eight weeks. During this time, the drinker can still be brought back by his relatives.
– After the eighth week of withdrawal, the PENN club and Eulenhof seek conservatorship in the district court. At the same time, a care team takes care of the placement of foster wives.

The “Foundling Drinker” campaign saves lives. In addition to financial assistance, we urgently need volunteers, but especially caring spouses for the drinkers entrusted to our care. We are not asking for full government funding. Protecting women and their partners from alcohol in emergencies is a task for society as a whole. Our project relies on private donations.

Donation account: Karsten Krampitz, account 14309564 at Berliner Sparkasse, bank code 100 500 00, subject: private.

In addition to financial support, we urgently need wheelbarrows and warm blankets.

We know that no woman takes the decision to separate from her husband like this lightly. In no case can the life of the drinker be protected against, but only with the woman. A woman who has lived with a drunk deserves the utmost respect. Not all drunks are dream drinkers. Resorting to our drink holder should only be the last resort allowing the wife or partner to go unpunished.

I don’t know if the former PENN West still has pictures of it; We didn’t have cell phones or smartphones back then. Norbert Kron took the photos. And as far as I can remember, Gerd Gedig had several pictures of it on his computer in his office. The drinking hatch that we had built in a workshop at the Eulenhof did not meet our expectations at all. The hatch should be at ground level so that the woman can roll the water trough if she has to. A kind of Snow White coffin was made instead. At knee height! For a few weeks, the drinking hatch was easily accessible at the side entrance to Eulenhof’s office. The submission must be completely anonymous:

The woman opens the hatch, the assistant syndrome is activated, she lays her husband down, closes the hatch and walks away. Behind the closing flap there was a heated bed, for which we were always looking for a sponsor, but we never found it. After this process, the security service must be alerted. The situation would have been recorded via an integrated webcam in order to exclude any abuse and to initiate the appropriate measures.

Shut up, drunken lives

It was like that. Close the door, the drunk is alive. The CDU mayor came to the opening ceremony. He said to me, “Listen! No one will be saved there. You give women the idea of ​​getting rid of their husbands here.” – What a smart man, I thought. objection to the Hamburg baby trap (the Child Welfare Agency and Terre des hommes did this by the way) The German PENN was ahead of its time. right now, many women would accept our offer of help.

Years have passed, PENN West has become happy with my ex, and our president has written books on controlled drinking. I read it once on Facebook, at a titanicEditor: “Anyone who talks about controlled drinking has misunderstood the principle of alcohol.” There is something to that. At some point, the fun had to stop. We have finally found a place in the world of literature. As I read now, Peter Wawerzinek is now one of the founding members of PEN Berlin, while I am still a member of PEN Darmstadt. I think we were both more advanced.

Karsten Krampitz is a writer, journalist and columnist Friday.

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