In early August 2016, If you arrived in Berlin via Hauptbahnhof you would be greeted by a pack of wolves. Bronze and iron statues, some of them with more than 2 meters in height, would be looming over passengers with guns and Nazi salutes. A sign would tell you that the Wolves are Back. But why are these Wolves back in Berlin?
Real wolves have been seen around Berlin in the last couple of years but these wolves on Washingtonplatz are here for something else. They are the work of Rainer Opolka and they’re here to warn against racism in Germany.
Rainer Opolka wants to start a discussion and this is why these wolves are in Berlin a few weeks after a mass shooting in Munich, a bomb in Ansbach, an axe attack near Würzburg and a machete death in Reutlingen. Two of these attacks were carried out by asylum seekers and it sparked fear that could be exploited by the right-wing. And since it already happened before in Germany, those attitudes towards minorities have come under the spotlight.
But don’t think that racism only happens to asylum seekers. It goes beyond that but seems that germans have a hard time seeing this from where they stand. Germany has an issue with racism and Rainer Opolka is here to show it to them.
I visited the Wolves in a hot summer day, during a lunch break. I took my bike to Hauptbahnhof and, when I got there, I saw a lot of people wandering around and taking pictures with these huge and scary statues. They become even more scary when you consider the fact that they are positioned so close to the political center of Germany, with the Reichstag Dome almost at reach.
On the pictures here, you will be able to see eight different Wolf statues. One of them is clutching a gun and represents the murders committed by the neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground. Another one represents the mob, the blind follower that doesn’t think for itself and can be seen everywhere. There is even a wolf covered in glittering gold and is leading them all.
I really like to see a public art exhibition like the Wolves are Back in Berlin. Sometimes, living in Germany as a foreigner can be a little bit too hard and it is good to know that I’m not alone on this.
Rainer Opolka is one of the many artists from Berlin that are trying to guide public discussion and debate in those uneasy times. Because, in the end, it’s really important to understand Germany’s past and history to see how they see race and identity. I believe Rainer Opolka is doing this really well with these big, bad wolves.
Don’t be scared when you see a huge packof wolves next to the #Berlin Hauptbahnhof. These bronze statues are there to make you think about one of the biggest problems in Germany right now: racism. If you are in Berlin like us, you need to visit this great installation by Rainer Opolka. #fotostrasse #wolves #vscocam
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