FAQ: What happens after the eviction at the ISW?

The occupation and eviction at the ISW in May 2024 causes a lot of stress for students. We would like to answer your initial legal questions and refer you to further contact points. In any case, it is important not to make any statements without prior legal advice!

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last update: June 20 2024

The occupation and the subsequent eviction at the Institute of Social Sciences on 22 and 23 May 2024 put a lot of stress on students - feelings of insecurity, experiences of violence, (re)traumatisation and concerns about repression are direct consequences of the occupation and the police operation.

It is not at all easy to find your way around the university's counselling centres and find the right support services. It is often difficult not to fall into panic and isolation, especially when it comes to legal issues and the threat of repression. Knowledge and solidarity help. 

We would like to answer your initial legal questions and refer you to other counselling points. Also: Talk to others. You are not alone in your situation. 

In any case, it is important not to make a statement without prior legal advice!

The FAQ is updated continuously.

Do you have any further questions, requests or feedback? Feel free to send us an email at, drop by during our opening hours at Ziegelstr. 4 or give us a call (030 2093-46662). 

We are here for you.

Our opening hours in the summer semester 2024: 
Monday 12-6pm
Tuesday 10am-12pm and 2pm-5pm 
Wednesday 12-16 h
Thursday 10am-6pm 
Friday 2-6 pm 

What happened anyway?

Please refer to the statements of the RefRat and the Social Sciences Student Council

Who can I turn to with my questions - RefRat or university management?

The university can only provide legal assistance and support for its employees (including SHKs/student assistants). They can contact
All other students should address their concerns to the RefRat ( We are your partisan representation and support your concerns politically and as a first point of contact. We do not pass on any information to the university unless you explicitly request this.

Where can I get psychosocial help?

  • Ms Vowinkel is available to the Institute of Social Sciences as a therapist for psychosocial counselling. Students who are directly or indirectly affected by the occupation can contact her directly individually or in small groups (both individual and group counselling possible). Email: // Phone: +49 (0)30 450 580154 // Mobile: +49 (0)172 4356625

Who can I turn to if I have experienced anti-Semitism or racism?

Anti-Semitism counselling centres

  • Anti-Semitism Officer at HU Liliana Ruth Feierstein: 
  • It can be very helpful to network with other students who are affected and show solidarity. The Tacheles HU student group can be a contact point for this and can be reached by email ( or on Instagram (

Racism counselling centres:

  • Anti-racism department in the RefRat:
  • CLAIM (counselling and monitoring on anti-Muslim racism)
  • EOTO (counselling services for Black and Afro-diasporic people)
  • District shops in Wedding, Neukölln and Lichtenberg (Palestinian cafés, social counselling, legal advice)
  • It can be very helpful to network with other students who are affected and show solidarity. The student group Black Student Union can be a contact point for this and can be reached by email ( or on Instagram (bsu_hu)

Please note: The anti-discrimination counselling service in the student social counselling system is currently not regularly staffed. 

Who can I turn to with legal questions?

The RefRat offers initial legal advice in the Student Social Counselling System SSBS:

  • free legal advice in criminal and civil matters and anti-discrimination law, among other things
  • every Wednesday from 16:30 to 18:30 in Ziegelstr. 5:
  • Open consultation hours, no appointment necessary
  • Counselling available individually or in groups
  • From now until the end of July we offer criminal law counselling every week. For other areas of law, please check the schedule.

Further counselling services are as follows: 

I have experienced violence at the hands of the police - what can I do?

In many cases, unlawful police violence is a criminal offence punishable by law. Because charges of assault in public office are often followed by counter-charges of (alleged) resistance to law enforcement officers, we generally cannot recommend charges and criminal applications for assault in public office. Experience has also shown that the success rates for such proceedings are rather low. Such a complaint or criminal complaint should only be made on the express advice of a lawyer.

Counselling centres for police violence are ReachOut and the KOP.

I have experienced sexualised violence by the police - what can I do?

In cases of sexualised police violence, contact the ombudsman's office of the state anti-discrimination office. This state office offers a free, independent and confidential assessment of your case in accordance with the Berlin State Anti-Discrimination Act. You can contact the LADS at or on (030) 9013-3456.

The police have taken my ID - what can I expect now? 

If the police took your personal details when you left the institute building, it is possible that an investigation will now be initiated against you. In the pre-trial proceedings, the criminal prosecution authorities examine whether charges will be brought. The initiation of these proceedings only means that there is an initial suspicion that you may have committed a criminal offence. 

The university has filed criminal charges (in the cases of trespassing and damage to property), and the police are also investigating ex officio (trespassing, aggravated trespassing, resistance to law enforcement officers). It is therefore quite likely that you will receive mail from the police. Be prepared for this and seek emotional support early on.

As part of the investigation procedure, it is usual for the police to ask you for a statement. You are not obliged to make a statement to the police or to comply with a police summons, even if the letter suggests this. Do not allow yourself to be pressurised by an alleged deadline set by the police - the statement is voluntary and should not be made. Do not make any statements without consulting a lawyer and do not co-operate with the investigating authorities. At the end of the investigation, the proceedings will either be discontinued or the public prosecutor's office will file a complaint. In the event of legal proceedings, you still have every opportunity to make a statement.

Who files charges and what is the basis for the initial suspicion?

An initial suspicion is established by a criminal charge/complaint. Depending on the offence, the criminal complaint is filed by the person making the complaint (complaint offence) or it is investigated "ex officio", i.e. directly by the police (official offence). 

The university has filed criminal charges for trespassing and damage to property.[1] The criminal charges for damage to property will probably initially be filed against all those whose personal details were taken. It is unclear to what extent these criminal charges will be withdrawn.

The police investigate "ex officio" in particular in cases of so-called resistance to law enforcement officers, the use of signs of unconstitutional and terrorist organisations as well as serious trespassing and breach of the peace. The university can not  influence these investigations.

How soon should I expect to receive mail from the police?

The first letters regarding the possibility to make a "written statement in criminal proceedings" have already arrived from the police. For us, this shows the political pressure that is being exerted on the public prosecutor's office and the police. The investigating authorities are working exceptionally quickly. The fact that the police are launching their own investigations into serious trespassing and breach of the peace also shows that they are taking particularly heavy-handed action here. 

When do I need to seek legal help?

During the open consultation hours of the legal advice centre at the SSBS [], it is easy to assess whether it is necessary to hire a lawyer and to be referred to a lawyer in solidarity. As long as you have only been informed that preliminary proceedings have been initiated, you can continue to wait and see, network with other affected persons and, above all, do not make any statements to or co-operate with the police. We hope that the proceedings will soon be dropped. You should consult a lawyer at the earliest when you receive mail from the public prosecutor's office.

The discussion event on Thursday afternoon was tolerated - why am I now being accused of aggravated trespassing?

That is a very justified objection. If the stay in the building was tolerated, then there is no offence of trespassing. The presence of all persons who were in the ISW until the end of the discussion event was tolerated. The fact that investigation proceedings are nevertheless being initiated against apparently all of them shows the great toughness and lack of differentiation. The university had made it clear on Thursday that all those who left voluntarily would not be prosecuted. However, as the police will now mainly be investigating "ex officio", the university no longer has any control over this. We very much hope that the proceedings will be dropped quickly, as e.g. the accusation of trespassing against event participants who left voluntarily is obviously unfounded. 

What happens if the proceedings are discontinued?

A discontinuation means that no charges will be brought against you and the proceedings will not go to court. Some discontinuations by the police, e.g. a discontinuation against obligations under Section 153a StPO, require the consent of the person concerned. Here too, we recommend consulting a lawyer, as such a cessation is often accompanied by the data being stored in the central police register. To prevent this, legal counsel is essential. 

What does a preliminary investigation mean for my residence status?

The presumption of innocence initially applies in ongoing proceedings. This also means that your residence status cannot be revoked due to an ongoing investigation. However, applications for naturalisation at the State Office for Immigration (LEA) will not be processed as long as preliminary proceedings are ongoing.

The Foreigners' Registration Office will be informed of the initiation of criminal proceedings in accordance with the German Ordinance on Notifications in Criminal Matters (MiStra). Consequences for your residence status can only follow a lawful conviction, but depending on the severity of the offence and possible previous convictions, you may even face deportation. We therefore strongly advise you to seek advice from a specialised lawyer at an early stage.

At the RefRat's legal advice centre, lawyer Loui Rickert and lawyer Adrian Wedel provide advice on the interface between criminal law and residence law. You can get initial advice free of charge here:

Will the initiation of preliminary proceedings also be noted on my criminal record?

No. The initiation of preliminary proceedings has no influence on your (extended) criminal record; only convictions are noted here. 

What else do the police do with my data?

The police like to collect and systematise data. In this case, the LKA 53 (state security with a focus on right-wing politically motivated crime/hate crime) is conducting the investigation. This also emphasises the political dimension of the proceedings: When it comes to state security investigations, the Verfassungsschutz is not far behind. 

You will be informed separately by post about storage in a database, e.g. a "PMK Foreign Ideology" database, and can object to such storage. This is unlikely in the present case - also because of the investigating department! However, depending on how the proceedings proceed, it makes sense to bear in mind that the police are collecting data. This is because deletion and objection periods also start to run. You are welcome to come to the legal advice centre of the RefRat or contact a lawyer to have this data deleted if necessary.

It is also important to remember that the police clearance certificate is not the same as the police information network. Here, the data remains even after an acquittal or cessation (§ 18 para. 5 BKAG). All state police forces and the federal police have access to the police information network. 

In the longer term, it is worth sending a request for information to various agencies that may be involved. You can find more information here:

I have been doxxed by the media/press - what can I do?

We have observed that some students are being doxxed by various (especially conservative) media. In these cases, legal action can be taken in case of doubt. Due to the generally low demand, the RefRat does not offer advice on media and press law. However, we will be happy to organise this for you promptly if required, simply contact us at our email address

Do I need to worry about claims for damages?
You probably don't need to worry too much. Damage to property would have to be proven individually. The same applies to so-called joint offences. Just because you are said to have entered an occupied institute room does not mean that you have agreed to commit joint damage to property. There is also no obligation to prevent others from damaging property. The HU currently estimates the amount of damage at 150,000 euros and may also make claims for damages. [2] However, our lawyers advise you to remain calm and do not think there is much chance of HU indiscriminately suing everyone. 
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  • created:14.06.24, 15:29
  • edited:20.06.24, 18:43