Thomas Victor (DE) "Eviction of Utopia" - Helphoto 2023




Eviction of Utopia
Since 2020, the hamlet of Lützerath, on the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine, has been occupied by climate activists. Within two years, it became a place of utopia for climate justice and equality. It was a think tank for the climate movement that couldn’t be replicated.

Underneath the site lay several million tons of coal the energy company RWE wanted to mine. Studies showed by climate activists that the coal under Lützerath was no longer needed. The studies commissioned by the government and the energy company showed the opposite. Lützerath became a symbol for the climate movement and its fight against the use of fossil fuels.

After heated political debates about the advantages and disadvantages of keeping the hamlet, the eviction began in January 2023. Thousands of activists tried to defend it against the police and the interests of the RWE. The resistance had no chance against the organized superiority of the police.

Thomas Victor’s story is about those last days. It is about an almost non-violent resistance and an overpowering police force that evacuated, without compromise, in the interest of an energy company.

The work was produced on an assignment for ZEIT online.

Thomas Victor (b.1983) is a documentary photographer based in Leipzig, Germany. He studied photojournalism and documentary photography in Hamburg, Berlin, and Hanover. His work has been published in national and international media and has been exhibited several times. He is a member of the agency Focus. Thomas focuses on stories about social and ecological changes. 

Thomas Victor (DE) "Eviction of Utopia" - Helphoto 2023
Thomas Victor (DE) "Eviction of Utopia" - Helphoto 2023