HEROS

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

THE NEW ONE

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)

C´EST LA VIE

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)

THE AMBASSADOR

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)