A drama in five acts
Prologue – Herbert’s death and the selling of the Schlemmereck
Herbert Stender’s death in September 2017 was the end of an era. It was not the Schlemmereck, but Herbert, who turned out to be a major influence on the Turbojugend. For most of us he was more than an innkeeper: a true friend, an anchor, which made the Schlemmereck our home port.
After his death, his widow Silka Stender continued running the bar for some time. It was clear, though, that this was not a permanent arrangement since Herbert had already expressed his wish during his lifetime that a particular member of Turbojugend St. Pauli would carry on his Schlemmereck legacy according to his values and beliefs. Silka and this particular regular had sales talks because of that. It is important to point out that the Schlemmereck had always been only leased and never “owned” by the Stenders. The sale was concerning the alcohol license and the interior.
They came to an agreement regarding the sale, all that was needed, was the approval of the house owner. He was presented a good, refined and sustainable concept. It was during this time that Süphü Demirocak, the owner of the “Berg Grill Imbiss” next door, showed interest in the Schlemmereck. The house owner had constantly emphasized his good and friendly relationship with Herbert which is why he agreed to keep the bar unchanged in looks and concept.
Despite Silka’s positive answer and the reasonable concept, the house owner’s approval kept being delayed over and over again. Finally, Süphü Demirocak was awarded the contract with no reasons given. What should be pointed out, though, is that Süphü Demirocak has been a leaseholder and therefore client of the house owner for a long time.
Since the other concept was denied the approval, Silka finally sold the Schlemmereck to Süphü Demirocak. Although he has been working as an entrepreneur in St. Pauli for years, he also is seen as a controversial figure by some.
Although Süphü Demirocak got the Schlemmereck under the condition of leaving everything as it was, he re-opened it as a “cheap booze bar” (just reminding you of “Ficken 1 Euro”). The regulars stayed away and the new business idea turned out to be a failure instead of the expected goldmine.
He never reached out to the Turbojugend.
Episode 1 – Running the Schlemmereck
A long-time friend of Herbert’s who lives in the same house and also knows Süphü Demirocak and the house owner could not accept the demise of the bar. He became the temporary manager of the place and in order to succeed, he counted on his friends’ support. This team took over the personnel planning, the restauration of the bar, the making of a new menu, social media activities and the actual running of the bar. The old concept – Herbert’s legacy – was finally successful again and, in the end, even economically viable. For all of this we want to say a heartfelt “Thank You!” to Herbert’s long-time friend and his team consisting of 17 people.
Episode 2 – The friends of the Schlemmereck
In February 2019, the team of the Schlemmereck (after having had to ask first) was informed by Süphü Demirocak that the bar would close by 28thFebruary and subsequently redesigned. He wants to try out a new concept – the Schlemmereck, as it is, is not profitable. This claim is simply not true. Profits were made – not only during the Weltturbojugendtage.
Due to the claim that the Schlemmereck should be redesigned, it was immediately decided to prevent this. The “friends of the Schlemmereck” – consisting of Turbojugend St. Pauli, the temporary manager, Günter Zint (a St. Pauli chronicler and owner of the St. Pauli Museum) and former regulars who were willing to invest – sat down together to discuss the takeover of the Schlemmereck. They managed to be successful at first: the planned rebuilding of the place was not granted by the house owner.
An offer to buy the place was made in a personal conversation between Süphü Demirocak and the President of Turbojugend St. Pauli. The leaser was visibly upset with the press coverage about him and his planned rebuilding of the Schlemmereck. The public media coverage immensely complicated the negotiations. Nevertheless, a meeting involving everyone, the house owner, the leaser and the “friends of the Schlemmereck”, was aimed at in order to find an acceptable solution for everyone involved. The aim of this meeting was again to make absolutely clear why keeping the original Schlemmereck was so important. Süphü Demirocak has been aware of the fact that the worldwide Turbojugend was founded just here.
Right after the meeting, the “friends of the Schlemmereck” came up with a new suitable concept and reached out to the house management. Unfortunately, it was not possible to talk to someone in charge in person, but the concept was presented anyway.
The house management promised to forward the concept to the house owner as soon as possible – the decision about the fate of the inn at Hamburger Berg 27 was and is up to him. A preservation of the Schlemmereck would have increased the chances of a takeover. After forwarding the concept, more phone conversations with the house management took place. Sadly, it was again signalized that the published articles would complicate the negotiating position. We want to make absolutely clear that the “friends of the Schlemmereck” have neither contacted the press, nor were they involved in any way.
Episode 3 – The Destruction of the Schlemmereck
Despite the presented concept, the safely provided funding and the words of the house owner that the Schlemmereck should not be altered, everyone was shocked on 14thMarch by the news that the birthplace of the worldwide Turbojugend is being destroyed. Nobody was informed of this. Not by neither Süphü Demirocak nor the house management. Photos of the destruction were spread all over social media.
An immediate phone call with the house management brought to light that they themselves had no idea about the rebuilding of the site, taking place that very moment. If it were allowed, it was probably granted by the house owner.
The following day, upon request from many people, it was finally announced that there had been a meeting on 13thMarch, only consisting of the house owner and Süphü Demirocak – without the “friends of the Schlemmereck”. The question why the concept of the “friends of the Schlemmereck” was not considered has never been answered by the house owner.
The Schlemmereck has been destroyed forever. The preservation of a piece of “the old St. Pauli”, Herbert Stender’s legacy and the birthplace of the Turbojugend was sacrificed for an alleged profit maximization.
We have done everything we could in order to save the Schlemmereck. We have fought for the preservation and for every one of you – and we have lost. Unfortunately, some things happened we had no control or influence over or that complicated saving the place.
Exodus – The show must go on…even after the Schlemmereck era
The Schlemmereck has died. Turbojugend St. Pauli is going to look for a new home port for Turbojugend Worldwide in Hamburg.
Even in the case that Schlemmereck is maybe going to keep its name, it is never goinig to be our new club home again. All the leaser cares about is profit maximization, not preservation. The new place will not have our support. We hope that all the Turbojugendliche all over the world are going to join us in our position.
We can already offer the Molotow (with a beautiful inner courtyard and barbecue opportunities) as a place to go for Weltturbojugendtage as well as the countless bars in St. Pauli. Let’s stand together in these sad times and celebrate anyway – or even because of them – WTJT 2019 in St. Pauli.
Love and Respect, Turbojugend St. Pauli