22,500 boys and girls have found a home in the children's home in Cologne-Sülz a home - temporarily it was the largest orphanage in Europe. The institution was for them a chance to survive, but it was no substitute for parents, love and security. Many former residents are traumatized by the early loss of parents, social exclusion and emotional coldness. After nearly one hundred years of existence, the children's home has given way to a new building quarters. Today, children who become orphans or whose parents are not able to take care of them, maintain in family-like living units.
The former children have lost the only home they knew. Although the children's home was a painful place fort hem partially, marked by a "black pedagogy". Some were able to overcome it's consequences and could find their life, but a lot are suffering still, they are in psychotherapeutic treatment, are homeless, addicted to drugs or committed suicide.
Where can they go to return to their roots, to meet their past, to deal with it and to bring it to an end, now, when there is no longer the children's home?
We, the former residents, employees and new residents, think it is important to create places , where we can get aware of our history and report it to our children - places to remember, to stay, to meet others, places, where former residents can meet and talk. We, who had the luck to grow up in an intact family want to bestow a late acknowledgment of their fate upon the former residents of the children's home with the memory places. For a long time they have been socially excluded and discriminated. The memory places are also supposed to be a symbol for a child-friendly, human and respectful pedagogy, for a self-determined childhood in freedom and an open, tolerant and solidary interaction among us.
The objective of our association Förderverein Erinnerungsorte Kinderheim Köln-Sülz e.V. is the creation of memory places for the former children's home located in Cologne in the district Sülz.
2016 there will be held a competition with selected architects and artists under the direction of Kay von Keitz. A jury will select a draft from the competition entries for further realisation. The competition will be completed at the end of 2016 with the preliminary design of the winner.
2017, the draft will be implemented. The memory places can be more than one, the winner will develope a complete design including installations in public spaces with residential quality (furniture) and free artistic work with sculptures. In addition info-steles and a web application for eyewitness reports are desirable.
The desired completion date of the memory places and the Info-Stela with associated app is the 8th of May 2017. On this day the opening of the children's home has it's 100th aniversary at Sülzgürtel.