Sunday, December 08, 2019
By Vivian Micks
He travels around the world, tattooing and playing in several TV formats. Daniel "Tattoo" Krause has been a colorful dog all his life. As a punk in the GDR he therefore ends up in prison, experienced psychological terror and beatings. 30 years later, the old traumas come up again.
When Daniel Krause storms to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, he feels light and elated. Also a bit drunk and in love. In fact, Krause and his Punker friends only want to hear David Bowie on the night of Whit Monday in 1987. Many people have come to the wall to listen to its sounds beyond the wall. For her it is a magical moment: Bowie greets even the East Berliners and says two sentences in German. The spring day starts so well that the end seems unimaginable. Crowds and shouts turn into brute force in a few seconds: He witnesses students, students and workers being kicked down by the People's Police and beaten with clubs until the blood spurts. Only now, 32 years later, Krause realizes that he is traumatized. Krause and his Punker friends were regularly expelled by the law enforcement officers. (Photo: Daniel Krause) "For me, that was the moment that had more to do with the fall of the Wall than David Hasselhoff will ever do," says Krause to n-tv.de. Rarely have he felt more alive. It awakens in him the desire for freedom and democracy. Krause and his Punker friends are accustomed to being chased away by the People's Police from every corner of the city. Their painted leather jackets, their colorful hair and worn-out boots are signs of resistance for the state. With a beer bottle in their hand, they are among the kind of people that should not have existed in the GDR. But when the police officers beat the East Berliners with their fists and truncheons that evening, the violence reaches a new climax. Several people are injured. Krause is just 18 years old, but "my lightness was suddenly gone," he says. For Krause, as for many others at the time, this is the key moment that changes everything. He rebels, resisting the state, and is jailed a year later. He is in prison for eight months without a proper trial. He was 19 years old at the time. As a reason, the state pushes a rip-off between a few men, but for punks and "political opponents" you really need no pretext: "At some point you just come to jail," said Krause sober. His file begins at school when he asks his teachers why the wire spikes on the wall point inwards, when they supposedly protect against intruders. "It was psycho-terror" Krause spends eight months behind the age of 19 Bars. (Photo: Niko-ink-Photography Berlin) One morning in February 1989, his door finally flies open and Krause is handcuffed from his home by eight police officers. As in a bad movie, he says, every hour an officer puts a lamp in his face on the area. Standing in one corner of the cell, he has to repeat his place of birth and name again and again and why he is here. After 30 hours Krause is ready to sign everything that has been presented to him. He does not have a lawyer when he is sentenced by a magistrate a few days later. Even a victim does not exist. For three months he has no contact with the outside world, no radio, no newspapers, not even his mother is allowed to see him. "What happened there was psychic terror". Nevertheless, he says today that the time in jail had socialized him. "Maybe I would have become an asshole otherwise, who knows." Krause shrugs. Only four days before the Wall falls on November 9, 1989, he is released. Unknowingly Krause decides to escape. With the feeling that he would not be able to lose anything anymore, he would rather go back to prison than live a life as an oppressed GDR citizen. "At least you had the chance to be ransomed by the West," says Krause. But it does not come that far anymore. When the wall finally rises, he is one of the first to drink his first West beer in neighboring Kreuzberg in disbelief. "You have to make coal" "'You have to make coal' was my first thought when I arrived in the West," recalls Krause. Maybe that's why he's so successful today. Today, the man with the colorful arms and half bald with ponytail is considered one of the most famous tattoo artists in Germany. His role in "Berlin Day and Night" makes him known throughout Germany. The greed for something new, for freedom and money has let him take everything. He goes from one TV shoot to the next, opens five tattoo studios, travels around the world, hosts a radio show, writes five books. "Tattoo" -Krause has burned in his life, both before and after the opening of the border nothing. DISPLAY Freedom under the counter: My life as a punk in the GDR * Data protection When the 50-year-old talks about his experiences in the GDR, it often seems as if he himself is surprised to hear them from his own mouth. He talks a lot and fast. Often he jumps from one topic to the next, losing track of the many stories that come up in him. He had long suppressed, buried and kept under lock and key, without knowing what was actually slumbering in him. In his new book "Freedom under the counter" he revives his worst time. For the tattoo artist, it's like working up a long-lost love. Back in the East Krause looks like a macho with his full-bodied, muscular upper arms on the television screens. He is energetic and loud. But with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall, emotions overcame him. With the knowledge that he is now slow to understand what the GDR has done with him, "he has to get along first," he says. Despite the experiences that still hurt him today, it has withdrawn him again. As a small boy, Krause is ashamed of his address on the Kartoffelsteig in Blankenfelde, in the village of East Berlin. Now, many years later, he lives there again. With wife and child. He likes to have neighbors who have experienced exactly the same as him. East Berliners understand each other, he says. And therefore obviously like to stay with each other. Maybe not everything was bad in the East. Krause did not have the idea of writing a book about his experiences in the GDR. Now he was in almost every talk show round on the theme of 30 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall. What was initially an idea of marketing, was over the months for Krause emotional roller coaster ride. The memories of what happened, make it clear to him what is not allowed to happen in the future. Because the fall of the wall was for Krause not only a free ticket to travel, cool pants and American music. "The most important thing is that such a regime as the GDR, which oppressed their people, has not won."