About Jail Mail: As the first opponent against Stuttgart 21 (speculative real estate and railway project) Mark Pollmann served a 10 days prison sentence. He was sentenced to a 10 days rate due to occupation of the northwing for protesting against the partial demolition of the Bonatzbau which is protected as an historical monument. Because he didn’t want to ransom with money or working hour he has to go to jail. „Jail Mail“ on Blog NAU! is his jail diary that he sent to us from prison. Mark Pollmann was in prison from May 25th until June 3rd . This is the first part of Marks ten journal enties.
Having had a good night I set off about 7:40 am to the north exit near the former northwing [of the main station] where already some people were waiting who wanted to say goodbye to me. I was very happy about the attenders and I got several books as a present. I also answered the first interview requests. About 9 am we drove to Rottenburg. The Stuttgart newspaper’s reporter Mrs. Mayer interviewed me during the trip to Rottenburg.
At 10 there were also comrades of our common cause at Rottenburg at the market place beside journalists and camera teams. It strengthens me that so many people commiserate and approve my decision to serve my prison sentence. I was also available for interviews and pictures – it was all very public, there was hardly time for private moments and chats.
When we started moving to the jail in accompaniment of two policemen, banners and a small rally I witnessed on the brink a full-throated shouting bunch of senior citizens (3 or 4) who faced us with the usual insults (lazy buggers etc.) – I ignored them as far as possible, but I noticed the scene on the brink. In front of the prison: Farewells, last pictures at the entrance and after giving ID and letter of the prosecution to the prison guards the rolling gate was opened, closed after I enter and I was inside.
Now the „ceremony“ of the time in the clink began probably as usual. After opening my backpack for getting surveyed by the officials and after getting patted down I was escorted to a building through a second gate into a room where several officials received me and my stuff. I was asked many things amongst others why I was here and how long. Reaction: „10 days? Thats not worth the whole effort.“ „Because of what?“ And so on. My first impression: in a manner of speaking, several officials „showed solidarity“ with me, said this was no reason to go to jail, but they had respect of my decision choosing imprisonment as a subsidiary penalty for not paying the fine.
Now I was lead to another room where I had to get naked. My clothes were taken into storage associated with the question if I would like them washed for after my release. I negated because I put them on freshly washed some hours ago. Then I received the things I was allowed to take into the cell: all books and writing papers including personal manuscripts, 10 stamps (10 out of 20 were allowed to me), in addition toothbrush and razor (each in original wrapping). One pack of tobacco and papers plus tips. I was not allowed to take the opened pack of tobacco and lighter as well as all other sanitary products with me.
In the adjoining room I was getting dressed (with 2 duffel bags also for the clothes/ handtowels for the whole week; 7 underpants/ undershirts/ socks; 2 jeans, 3 jean shirts, bed linen, then my metal dishes etc.). Then I got into a cell with three bunk beds where already 3 more cell mates, who were quite recently (2 days) imprisoned or transferred, were. It was lunchtime but I refused at first and I observed the new environment an the attenders. Two men in my age (end of the 30s, early 40s) and a clearly younger one (about mid of the 20s). I was welcomed friendly just as I also felt the procedure with the officials was friendly and correct. I was told not to unpack my stuff because I would come into another cell shortly, these are only cells for admission. The view out of the window extends across the barbwire over foothills of the Rammert with the Swabian Alb in the background which was visible at this clear cloudless day. Even a beautiful panorama, if you ignore the barbwire in the foreground.
The fellow prisoners were at my disposal for questions about the routine. Smoking is allowed inside the cell and after only twenty minutes the door opened and an official said: Mr. Pollmann, you already got mail – and delivered 6 postcards to me wrote by people who solidarized with me already the day before the accession of my imprisonment and so reached me the next day in the cell. Wow! I was thrilled – and we were already in a motivated discussion about Stuttgart 21, the economic-political discussion about the corruption behind it and the chances of success of the Occupy/ Blockupy movement including estimation if Kretschmann [minister-president of Baden-Württemberg, the Greens] und Herrmann [minister of transport of Ba-Wü], the Greens had betrayed their own goals and if so pure political opportunism could be the source. Interesting.
After another hour, two of the fellow prisoners were brought to another room. I proposed the one who was out of tobacco to roll cigarettes of mine, in exchange he gave me his lighter because me and my room mate hadn’t any. I was happy! When the other two were gone wardens asked us, if my fellow prisoner and me can imagine staying the next days together in a two men cell, we affirmed and shortly later we were brought to the new cell. A room of approx. 12-14 square meters with a bunk bed on the right side, table, two chairs, rack with TV, closet, basin and affilated toilet with a door which could be closed but not locked. We are in block 8 cell 05 – the new building then. The normal window (barred) could be opened on a small wing about 25 cm wide, we leave it open all day and night. The room is clean and we get comfortable for the next days.
My fellow is in jail since Wednesday because of not paying a Hartz 4 [unemployment benefits] payback and is released in 4-5 days. He is likable for me, of Algerian descent, animated and as I already discover after a short while in this interesting crossover between genius and mania. Spiritually, politically interested, also highly intelligent in technical aspects (registered several patents), communicative. We are talking occasionally in French also about political systems and boon and bane of world religions. He teaches me the Arabian alphabet that I don’t know but whose face I sense very beautiful. It’s written from the right to the left. We share everything. It’s a blessing I brought so much writing stuff and pens (also colored ones). He’s drawing very well. And he channels his irrepressible urge to talk and communicate by writing so I can work on the manuscript and read while he has also alternatives to the drivel on the TV.
Yesterday (it’s now early saturday before Whitsun as I’m writing) I also got a checkup by a doctor – instead of my Lavera lip balm (not allowed to bring into) I got Bepanthen salve for replacement – it’ll work I think. I informed the doctor about my easy fasting cure – though he was not happy about it he checked that it was no hunger strike and it was okay. By the way, blood pressure 130:80 – I hadn’t been to the doctor since 1999 and now I know that too. I expected it higher because of smoking.
After that I was asked to come to the room of the officials for some data. There I was told that everyone who chooses imprisonment as a subsidiary penalty so far has the right to effect the bisection of the day’s rate and a paper concerning this matter that I would be released after 5 days was submitted to me. I said to the officials that I was sentenced to a 10 day’s rate and I’m respecting this decision of course. I refused the sign. Then, silence in the room.
Then discussion about sense and nonsense of the criminal cases against S21 (I didn’t take part, I only witnessed and listened – highly exciting! They are officials!), they wanted to know from me if the driver of the water cannon who shot the old man blind finally got sentenced whereon I said no as far as I know. Then they say they honor and have respect of that [of his decision ]. They also said to me if I refuse my release after five days I have to refuse on the paper. I refused written and with signature two times, followed by the comment they haven’t had experienced ever that someone refuses this, followed with the comment they have respect of the decision. On the way back to the cell, an official told me I actually should not be here but he has to treat everybody the same way. I asked him to treat me like any other prisoner too.
Well, that’s all about my first day, everything is fine in cell 05 JVA-Rottenburg.
(translated from the German original by Jens Volle)