Spindy Concept for Co-operative Living
And then the one with the revolver kept shouting: »Hand it over, hand it over.« They didn't get any money from me personally. There was a fishmonger present who'd piled all his money up in front of him, it must've been about ten thousand marks or so, but it just stayed put, they didn't take it. The packages were probably enough for them.
When she came to me I said: »Cut the crap, what's all this nonsense about.« She was only about five foot two tall. I didn't take her seriously. She had a proper gun though, not a revolver but a pistol, they told me later, a 9 mm Magnum. Then there was a man in the background with a machine gun keeping an eye on everything and there was a man with a revolver at the next counter. They were all about thirty, quite normally dressed, and not wearing masks, and that did them a big favour, because everyone described them differently afterwards. The one with the machine gun gave all the orders. It all went very quickly, it was all over in two or three minutes. Then the one with the machine gun shouted: »Get out now, out.« It all seemed so military, and it was really simple as well.
Then three months later I was taken away by two CID men [Central Intelligence Detectives], and we drove to the flat in Hanover in a clapped-out old Mercedes.
My job was to identify the stamps from the wrappers round the notes and make sure this was the full amount. That wasn't so easy, because it was common practice at the time for there to be another ten single stamps under the ones for five-or-ten-thousand. If we'd spread all the stamps out and added them up to try to arrive at the full sum we'd have been closer to eight hundred thousand than five hundred thousand. But in five minutes I was quite sure that it was the full amount. They wanted to know if they'd stashed some away, or if this was the lot.
My two companions had a good laugh about their Hanover colleagues on the way there. They thought they were an absolute hoot because they'd had the flat under observation for weeks and months before they went in, because they saw that it wasn't being used any more, but they didn't look under the tarpaulin on the balcony until weeks later and found the spades and the banknotes wrappers.
We went up to the fourteenth floor in the lift and then into the flat, where it was a real crush, there must have been ten to twelve people there, some with rubber gloves and powder-dusting brushes, looking for prints. The hall led into the living room, which was about eighty square feet, with the balcony off it.There were two mattresses on the left-hand side looking from the hall - I can't remember whether they had covers on or not - a set of simple shelves and a portable radio, and all that was nothing special either.
The flat seemed relatively tidy - not particularly dirty and there weren't any full ashtrays or great stains on the floor; there were even curtains at the windows. The tarpaulin was still on the balcony, it was colourless, dirty, folded up tarpaulin, I should think about thirty square feet.
A bit later we drove to the prison for people awaiting trial in Hamburg in a VW bus. We were all given binoculars and were supposed to identify a woman down in the yard, but she knew what was going on, so she was all hunched up and we were to far away. Then we were taken to an interrogation room with women sitting around and behaving oddly. One kept turning away, another was pulling faces, and others again were keeping their eyes tight shut. I went out with one of the CID men then because I was pretty sure I'd recognized one of them, but I'd have to see her eyes to be sure: I'd looked her straight in the eye when she was right in front of me in the bank that time. She had eyes of a very particular shade that I would definitely have recognized if I 'd seen them, but they couldn't force her. »No, we can't force her«, the CID man agreed.
The insurance company paid up pretty quickly, there were no ifs and buts. I counted the money, and it was still a thousand marks short after all the adding up. Had the difference been worked out wrongly? But we left it at that.
[First published in: Korpys / Löffler. Konspiratives Wohnprojekt "Spindy", ed. Christoph Keller and Klaus Fecker, Revolver – Archiv für aktuelle Kunst, Stuttgart 1998.]
[Translation from German by Michael Robinson]