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Vendor Spotlight: Karl-Heinz Wendicke (BISS, Germany)

 BISS - Germany 23 January 2019

For the last 17 years, Karl-Heinz Wendicke (65) has been selling street paper BISS at the Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. He moved into his first-ever flat at age 51, together with his dog, but the street paper continues to be a support to this veteran vendor. (375 Words) - By Staff Writer

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Vendor profile Biss Karl Heinz Wendicke

Karl-Heinz Wendicke. Photo courtesy of BISS

"In the last couple of years I have noticed more and more poor people, mainly older women.  Indeed there are 5 or 6 people here who eat out of rubbish bins.  This really vexes me as it does not have to be this way; scavenging for food in rubbish bins isn't a life!  These people only need to go to one of the many soup kitchens in the area.

I was also homeless, over 30 years ago.  But I had work most of the time.  My employers knew that I was homeless as well as some of my colleagues.  I once worked behind the cash desk in the department store which was previously located at Marienplatz; now the Galeria Kaufhof.

You always had to be behind the desk which meant that you had to be clean and freshly shaven every day.  I used to shave at the train station where I also had a locker.

Karl-Heinz moved into his first ever flat at the age of 51 in 1998: "It was the first flat I ever had.  I made the flat nice and comfortable.  I even had flowers on the balcony and then I brought my dog to stay.

Up until then, I only saw my dog at weekends as he lived with his foster-mother in the countryside - after all, a dog needs a home.

As a homeless person, I often wished for a house, mainly at the weekend if I was squatting in some solitary construction site, lying in my sleeping bag and I could see in the windows of other people's houses.

I thought about everything then.  Even now as I'm getting older, I often ask myself: "What on earth have you lived for?  You have no children..."

At the end of 2008, 3 days before Christmas, my leg had to be amputated as a result of an infection.  Nevertheless, I still do everything for myself."

Translated from German into English by Hayley Anne Ross

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