13.03.2020: We have recently learned that a crew of thugs is being recruited to evict us from our home. This fact was confirmed by a few different sources. The “enforcers” come from the Warsaw underworld and are being offered a lot of money for the job. Currently, there is no legal action being taken against us in court. We are in effective possession of the building and inhabit it legally. The eviction that is being planned would be illegal and carried out with the preferred method of reprivatisation-era landlords – sheer violence.
Syrena was born 9 years ago in response to the brutal murder of Jola Brzeska, a tenants’ rights activist. From the very beginning of our existence we faced the terror of the developers’ lobby and so today we are not afraid and well prepared. Throughout the years we confronted hired thugs and far-right militias countless times and we always prevailed.
The building we inhabit was reprivatised in 2007. It is partially owned by Euro-Trademex, a company that belongs to Elżbieta, Andrzej and Igor Sawczuk. Their business model relies on buying reprivatised buildings – often still occupied – and transforming them into luxury apartments. They abuse tenants and take advantage of legal loopholes. We know their dirty tricks from our own experience and so do all the people whose houses have been bought by the Sawczuk family.
After obtaining the building on Wilcza 30, Euro-Trademex begun “convincing” the tenants to leave. The process consisted of various techniques that could be legally classified as harassment and fraud: cutting off water and electricity, not disposing of trash, embezzlement of money paid by tenants towards their bills (which resulted in them falling in debt), and finally – arson. These actions eventually forced all of the tenants to move out in 2010.
The empty building started to decay and was left open to devastation and looting. That was the next stage of the plan, the owners hoped to be able to demolish the building and replace it with a luxury mid-rise with an underground garage. Ever since we took over the house we managed to renovate it and give it a new life. Thanks to our efforts it was registered as a protected architectural monument.
We know well that when it comes to multiplying their wealth the Sawczuk family does not hold back. That gives us reason to believe that they are capable of resorting to illegal and brutal acts in order to regain control over a valuable plot right in the center of Warsaw. In the whole neighborhood real-estate prices are rising and tenement houses are being turned into exclusive apartments (eg. Wilcza 17, Wilcza 14B, Hoża 40, Hoża 50).
Syrena is now entering the 10th year of its existence. During all those years we have put a great deal of work and energy into this place, turning it into a social center and a place of political activity. Hundreds of people have contributed to this community, making Syrena the hub for many social struggles. Now it is not only a home for those who live here, but a community that will stand up to defend it when the need arises. Any attack against Syrena will be an attack on countless social initiatives that found their home in our squat. Any violence against us will be met with fierce resistance. Our message is clear – whoever raises their hand against Syrena is asking for trouble!
PS. Share this message widely. The owners would love to keep their plans a secret.