In West Germany, communes first gained popularity as living and housing communities during the 1968 movement. At the time, most communes were based on the principles of sharing, achieving consensus, and eschewing hierarchy. In the photograph below, members of the Hamburg political commune APO-PRESS share a meal. Various clues put the group on the far left of the political spectrum: printed materials from an extra-parliamentary opposition group rest on the corner of the table, Soviet propaganda posters line the walls, and a bust of Chairman Mao presides over the entire gathering. Communes eventually gave rise to more general housing communities [Wohngemeinschaften] that were motivated more by practical principles (e.g., saving money) than political beliefs.

Sharing a Meal in a Political Commune (1968)

  • Günter Zint


Source: Members of the APO-PRESS commune having lunch during an editorial meeting in a basement on Annenstrasse in Hamburg-St. Pauli, 1968. Photo: Günter Zint.
bpk-Bildagentur, image number 30008381. For rights inquiries, please contact Art Resource at requests@artres.com (North America) or bpk-Bildagentur at kontakt@bpk-bildagentur.de (for all other countries).

© bpk / Günter Zint