Lignite trio: "Dividend eats home" – Hubert Perschke presents his new book

Hubert Perschke captioned this photo at dusk: "Some of the residents still living here do not want to sell their property to RWE." The sentence and the book are dated September 2020.

The photographer documented the changes in the resettlement town of Manheim

In the book "Dividende eats Heimat" Hubert Perschke deals with the forced relocation of people for the mining of climate-damaging lignite. From the point of view of those affected, the photographer presents the subject in pictures and texts. He himself lived for a long time in the immediate vicinity of the resettlement site in Buir and is a member of the former citizens' initiative against the relocation of the A4, today's Buirer initiative for Buir.

In an introductory text, environmentalists Antje Grothus and Dirk Jansen of the BUND ask whether further forced relocations of people and the destruction of villages, landscapes and culture are still necessary and right in view of the decline of lignite electricity generation. They note, however, that the persons concerned are no longer lambs, but subjects who demand an independent legal status. "Bergrecht breaks fundamental right" has been the BUND battle cry for decades, which was heard on occasions such as the clearing of orchards in the run-up to the opencast mines. In Perschke's book, the initiative "All villages remain" describes their position. In other speeches, those affected describe their very personal situation.

The epilogue belongs to the citizens' initiative Buirer für Buir and the umbrella association of Critical Shareholders. "The work of the umbrella association includes encouraging people or groups who have been harmed by corporations or are threatened by corporate power to organize themselves as a group and to defend themselves against injustice," said Markus Dufner, Managing Director of Critical Shareholders.

Perschke sees the photos from Manheim as an example for all villages that have already been dredged or are to be dredged. Photos showing a demolition excavator or the ruins of destroyed buildings are sufficient. But according to the photographer's knowledge, there are no systematic photographic comparisons of what a village looked or looked like before and after a resettlement.

Guided by this consideration, he had selected photos taken in the resettlement village of Manheim in 2012 for an illustrated book. Hubert Perschke compared these photos with photographs from 2019 and 2020 in order to document destruction and change.

It is often extremely difficult to find the locations and perspectives of 2012 in a flattened village landscape, says Perschke. Posts of former road signs, canal covers, signs and the like were his clues.

Read more about Hubert Perschke on close meeting:

"Before/ After" the photographer Hubert Perschke documented the change in the Umsiedlunsgort Manheim

The black and white beauty of the trees

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