C.3 | ’Tobei’ – on your disgrace God casts his eye!
Being Catholic in West Berlin between the building and the fall of the Wall, using the case of St. Matthias Parish in Schöneberg
In the eyes of the West Berlin squatters’ scene, Vicar-General Johannes Tobei of the Catholic Diocese of Berlin, was guilty of a disgrace (Schweinerei). Replacing a condemned building with a new community and senior-citizen center – at Winterfeldtplatz in Schöneberg, no less – was something that could only be effected under police protection. Not only that – the leftist milieu (with bitter irony) believed that this ‘disgrace’ should stand trial before the judgment of God. Schlacht am Winterfeldtplatz (the battle at Winterfeldtplatz) is the title of the file containing the records from that politically ‘hot ‘summer of 1981.
The sub-project researches how being Catholic in West Berlin changed in the roughly thirty years between the building of the Wall in 1961 and its fall in 1989 using the case of St. Matthias parish in Berlin-Schöneberg. It analyzes the social form and everyday culture of a big-city church parish in the complex inter-relation of its leading players – bishops and other clerics, ordinary parishioners, specific demographic and functional groups – alongside semantics, practices, and emotions and relates these to the experiences of the ’modern’ and ‘divided’ metropolis of Berlin.