Teenage Wildlife

Christiane F - the real story

from Brazilian magazine Manchete
sourced from German magazine Stern, 1984
by Birgit Lahann
Photos by Gerd Krug and Klaus Meyer-Andersen

This article is translated from German to Portuguese to English. Please excuse any subtleties lost in the translation :-). Thanks to WLoveDB for the translation and the scans.

Christiane F.

When she was 13 years old, she was a junkie and a hooker. The book about her life was hailed as a salute to freedom. But the real Christiane F., 10 years later, is a living example of the absence of thoughts and horizons that drugs can take a human being. Foolish, idiotic, in this interview she is a living example: not for what she says, but for what she doesn’t know to say.

The apartment, which is in an old building, has 3 rooms and belongs to Christiane Felscherinow, better known as Christiane F. In the living-room there is a leather sofa, a mattress and a black coffin. In one of the rooms, a rope stretches from end to end and there are rumpled clothes everywhere. The French Bully Claude and a doberman puppy occupy the other room, covered by newspapers and soaked with urine. He attempts to fuck with the puppy, and from time to time I have to separate them.

In a few days , Christiane F. will turn 23 years old (she was born May 20, 1962). She became the symbol of a junkie generation. At 12, she took hashish; at 13 heroin and at 14 she got into the Bahnhof Zoo gang, a famous heavy-crowd from Berlin. But she survived. Then she got over the suffering and the addicts.

The German magazine Stern published the series ‘Wir kinder von Bahnhof Zoo’ (We, children from Bahnhof Zoo), and it became a best-seller book, selling millions of copies.

Later she started to learn Accounting in a small city in the north of Germany. But she dropped out. "After all, you are only exploited as an apprentice . I had the impression I knew everything after 6 months." She tried to be a singer and even took part in a bad film for self-promotion, playing the role of a go-go girl. And then, she travelled aimlessly around the world. When they filmed the screenplay about her life, she worked as an advisor. And the film became a success as well, paying millions of marks.

Then nothing was heard of her until one year ago (1983) when she was arrested during a blitz in the apartment of a heroin-dealer and accused of "acquisition of heroin for self-consumption". Last week she was sentenced.

INTERVIEW

M: Christiane, you were condemned to pay a fine of 3000 marks for having being caught with heroin. Did the judgement surprise you?

CF: No, I knew already. The Judge and the lawyers know in advance what the results will be.

M: Your lawyer took a double to the Court for you so you wouldn't be recognized. You entered immediately following ...

CF: And they jumped on us. I got more upset with the journalists. For them, the person is just a piece of merchandise.

M: You declared in the Court that you would never take heroin again, that would have been the last time...

CF: You can see what they wrote. I didn’t say that. I can’t know this now, and will be embarrassed if happens again. And then there would be another scandal, but I won’t stay in Germany anymore, I’ll leave.

M: And where do you want to go, then?

CF: Ah, maybe Italy.

M: And why Italy?

CF: There the life is very happy, everybody speaks at the same time and it amuses me.

M:Why did you have this relapse?

CF: I don’t know. It’s the chance. When we know the sensation we have with heroin, we never forget. It's so good...

M: And ends in catastrophe. You have been through all this: dependency, to get money, robbing, prostitution. And two of your friends died because of the heroin.

CF: Prostitution was the worst thing, and this I’ll never do again. After all, now I am older.

M: Even though you let yourself fall back again...

CF: Well, I preferred to take heroin than drink alcohol. There isn’t a worse drug than alcohol. Even the heroin addicted don’t get ruined as much as the alcoholics.

M: But with the heroin, the fall is faster.

CF: Well, my relapse didn’t damage me. I didn’t change socially.

M: But you met up again with the police.

CF: Ah, the policemen. The ones who took us under arrest, were of my age. They were horribly rude. Locked us with handcuffs like dogs locked in kennels. And we couldn’t talk. And they pulled out our cigarettes packs.

M: And whilst they inspected the drugs-dealer apartment?

CF: No. They did it while we were outside. Inside they needed lots of calm to throw everything on the ground. They messed up everything.

M: This was exactly one year ago. Since then, haven’t you feet the need to go back to heroin again?

CF: No, I’m clean.

M: Have you been to Bahnhof Zoo?

CF: Bahnhof Zoo is a very dear place. The scene changes constantly. Bahnhof Zoo is everywhere. At that time, we were there and after nobody else. I don’t feel any urge to cry when I walk through there.

M: You were sort of a Joan D’arc of the drugs scenery in the 80’s.You survived and got over. Yet you never felt any compulsion to help the drug addicted?

CF:No, I have never felt responsible for the others. Each one must know what they are doing.

M: Have you never seen yourself as an idol, a symbol of hope to the desperate?

CF: I always found it funny to read this in the newspapers. I never felt like an idol. That was another person.

M: That person, the famous Christiane F., was invited by the boss of Diogenes Publishing, from Zurich, for 8 weeks. Like a exhibit piece in high society?

CF: I felt accepted already. Anna Keel, Daniel Keel’s wife, owner of the publishing company, phoned me in Berlin inviting me to go to Zurich. After one year, I went there. They treated me like a daughter. I almost called them "mommy and daddy".

M: And mommy and daddy asked anything of you?

CF: Their two children were taking a cultural program in which I had to participate as well.

M: How did they do that? Did they control you?

CF: Yes, during the dinner.

M: And how was the program?

CF: It started already in Berlin, when Anna took me. Then I had to go with her to watch Tchekov’s "The Three Sisters" play, and it was really cool. The scenery had real trees . It lasted 4 hours...

M: And in Zurich?

CF: There I had to go to the theatre as well. I had to watch something typically Swiss. But it was spoken in German. I went to see "The Naked Craziness". Horrible. It was a scene with several doors, where people kept coming in and out. Tchekov at least was sort of glad. This I know because I have his books.

M: And what else was included in the Swiss cultural program?

CF: Well, we went to Rome and met Fellini. We saw him filming and later we had a lunch in Cinnecittà.

M: And in which language did you speak?

CF: In English. But I would like very much to learn Italian.

M: And why don’t you learn?

CF: I don’t have the time.

M: Don’t you have time? But you don’t even work! You should have time enough for study.

CF: I should think about that. But to study alone in home... I just can’t. I always need someone to push me. I’m lazy.

M:In Zurich you also met the famous writer Friederich Duerrenmatt ?

CF: I didn’t want to know him. I detest him because of the readings at school.

M: How many times did you read your book Christiane F.?

CF: Perhaps around 3 times. I always tried to think that the girl on the book was not me. I also wanted to know why the others liked the book so much.

M: And which other books do you like?

CF: The Grosskotz, from Mathias Nolte. And Cream Train, from Andrea Carlo. These are my favorites.

M: Now you are back again to Berlin, without the family support. But you don’t live alone. You brought a friend from Zurich, a Palestine man from Israel.

CF: Samir will go away soon. For me, it's still difficult to find a boyfriend. Most of them let themselves be ordered around by me. When they start to do whatever I want, then I stop respecting them. And besides, look at this one. Smokes 4 packs of cigarettes per day. Impossible. I myself smoke 4 packs already! This is too much. And it irritates me very much when someone shaves with the tap left on, because this is a waste. Or when someone wastes a half of bottle of detergent to wash one cup. The products that clean the house pollute the environment as much as the industry.

M: Are you now a ‘green’?

CF: Unfortunately, the ‘greens’ are not professionals, since they fight among themselves. Besides, anyone would be scared of someone with a beard.

M: Quite bourgeois preconceptions...

CF: But this way they don’t get enough votes.

M: Have you ever conversed with the ‘greens’?

CF: No, I detest conversations.

M: What is more interesting than conversations?

CF: Watching television, preferably lying in bed. I can’t stand reading newspapers. In music, nothing interests me. If the crowds go to Tina Turner, I don’t have to go too. I prefer amateur bands.

M: Do you listen to your walkman?

CF: It was stolen, like everything. I was robbed by a girl friend. Bitch. She took everything. Cosmetics, clothes, cups and dishes, and 700 marks. I’d rather not have money anymore. I don’t know how to handle money, I’m too good. I live in the wrong world, with wrong friends. But I can’t change anything.

M: Don’t you have anyone who you could call to help you, if you are not okay ?

CF: No.

M: How about your mother?

CF: I don’t know what to say to my mother.

M: Aren’t you upset for giving up your studies?

CF: No. Daniel Keel dropped out as well. Study is old-fashioned. We learn everything in 6 months and then we are exploited.

M: Are you at least so old- fashioned to cook for yourself?

CF: I don’t know how to cook, and if there isn’t anything ready, I don’t eat.

M: Is there any kind of woman you would like to be?

CF: (long pause). I think I am not that bad.

M: So, don’t you have any plans?

CF: When I make plans and they fail, I get depressed. That’s why I don’t have wishes or dreams.

M: How do you imagine tomorrow?

CF: I don’t schedule anything with anyone with a period of time longer than one week.

M: How about vacations?

CF: When I want to travel, then I buy the ticket and go.

M: So you just came from a peaceful familiar life in Switzerland, back to the awful Germany...

CF: When we came from Zurich, we had to make a change of planes in Hanover. I was wearing a pink costume and a red scarf and I was carrying the luggage. Everybody looked stunned.

M: ... from Christiane, the oppressed ...

CF - And I got furious and my boyfriend told me to take off the scarf. But I refused, because I want the people to be even more stunned.

M: And what do they make of it?

CF: I took a long time trying to educate them. In the end, I gave up. And, when I insist, I try to dumbfound them, which they accept passively. I don’t like people anymore.

M: You don’t like to be alone, though.

CF: I hate it. When my boyfriend goes back to Israel, I’ll call to someone come here live with me.

M: Afraid of loneliness? Or what else?

CF: Well, I have a fear of trains. I always think that when I die, it will be under a train.

Christiane F.
A coffin for a closet

M: You received a lot of money with your book and bought this apartment. Where is the rest of the money? And how much there is here in this coffin?

CF: No, there I have all my bills.

M: So you are broke at the moment?

CF: I am bankrupt. I have to pay 65% of it in taxes...

M: ... Which you forgot to do.

CF: And when money comes in, it goes straight to the Public Treasury. Even my telephone is cut off. I didn’t pay the joint ownership and other things...

M: And how do you want to make money in the future?

CF: I can’t imagine that work is a pleasure. I always feel so bad when someone asks me what do I want to do for work. How people look without comprehension when we say that we don’t work. Can’t see that friends live off friends. Probably I am not yet mature enough to know what I want.

M: But what would you like to do?

CF: I actually want to have a private sanctuary for animals. But my friends are against it. They say I shouldn’t throw away my intelligence in such thing. I should do something that could change the world.

Christiane F. Christiane F.
Christiane F. in her bathroom Her identity card
Scans contributed by WLoveDB

THE END

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