Exploring the beauty that is found in imperfection. Three touching childhood stories. That took place post-WWII in Germany´s church care-home system


I am the new one

That will be your name until you fight for your right to have a new one.

Now I know that it was wrong to beat my wife and our children.


I was a ticking timebomb, I couldn’t control my anxiety.

There was no way out

I slammed my head against the wall

I am thankful that my wife never left me, no matter where I went or will go.


Michael Schiltzky

(former child in care home, Westuffeln 1964-1969)


Between the ages of 3 and 21 I lived in 15 different orphanages.

I escaped over 190 times.

After those years, my criminal path.

Pimping, fencing etc. till I got ‘retired’ at the age of 42.


My philosophy at that time:


“Life is like a tunnel of cottonwoods, if trees should fall down as I go through, anyone else who gets tripped up is on his own.“


I was illiterate, said to be stupid and brainless. I taught myself to read at the age of 47.

Finally, after many years I was able to renovate my house with my own hands.


I cannot undo the things I did. But deep in my heart, I was not a criminal.


C’est la vie


Wolfgang Focke

(former child in care home, 12 different care homes,  1954- 1971)


My name is Volker Spiegler. The first care home I was in was Kalmenhof.


The other kids called me ‘ambassador’ because I made a lockpicker out of a bedspring, and sometimes I could open doors with it... see things, and help...


A dialogue extract; Volker speaks in the voice of a child:


Volker:         “Sir, I know you want to beat                        me…“


                      “...but you already  beat me                        so hard, I can’t take it!”


Principal :    “It’s your fault Volker, you                            stumbled.


Volker:          “All right, Sir, I fell!“


Once again, there was blood in the cellar, he used to the rape the girls down there...


Principal:       “You’ll get chocolates and                            milk if you clean it up,                                  Volker.”


My tattoos are the tip of the iceberg.


Volker Spiegler

(former child in Kalmenhof care home 1962-1974)