German Kindererholungheim / Kinderheim

Figure 1.--This German photograph looks to be a school group taken in the early 1950s. Several of the boys wear lederhosen, some with the halter. We at first thought this was a school group, but a German reader tells us that it is more likely a children's group home. Click on the image to see the full group.

We notice two kinds of child care facilities, Kinderheim and Kindererholungheim. We do not have detailed information on thgese facilities, but have begun to acquire some basic information. Kinderheim appear to have been informal charity supported day care facilities for younger children, but there were residential facilities as well. The operatuons appears to have varied over time. During the War they were used for thec KLV evaucuation orogram. After World War II, the DDR appears to have opened an extendsive system of Kinderheim. Kindererholungheim appear to have been for older children and were more recreational/convaesent facilityies. They might be described as group homes, but not for orphans.


A Kinderheim translates as "children's home" in English. This would convey the meaning of an orphanage, but this is apparently not the case. A Kinderheim is a child care facility, a kind of child care facility which included both day and residential operations. We are not sure when Kinderheim first appeared, but it was before World War I. They appear to have been for children that still had parents or at least a parent. Kinderheim were at frst established by churches, charitable groups, communities, and corporations. They had a major role to play after World War I with so many widowed mothers having trouble caring for their children. The concept of Kinderheim has changed somewhat over time. They functioned in the inter-War and World War II era. During the War they were used for thec KLV evaucuation orogram. After the War, the DDR opened quite a number of Kinderheim, but there are repoers of abuses at these faciklities. They still function in Germany today, but the government now has a much expanded role.


HBC has thought that the boys here were a school group (figure 1). A German reader tells us, "I believe the photo isn't taken at a school, but at a children's home where the children had to take a cure, or at a children's school home, that's a place usually in rural areas, were the children can rest and learn something about the region they are staying at. These places are instead of school lessons. Unfortunately you can't read the sign clearly, perhaps you could locate the photo then. I think so, because the sourrounding looks too green for a school and the building has a large windows line, that suggest a sleeping room on the second floor." A German reader tells us that the proper name for these facilities is " Kindererholungheim " meaning "children's recreation home". Curiously, the photographs we have seen at these facilities show very healthy looking children. We do not know much about these facilities. We do not know when the program was begun or whether it was a national program or one financed by local government. Nor do we know how the children were selected. Another German reader tells us that he does not believe that the children here are in a group home, but rather participating in some kind of school or other group cultural excursion. Often these were organized by schools during the summer vacation and a teacher accompanied them. Similar groups were orghanized by churches, factory groups and even political parties.


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Created: 10:48 PM 5/27/2006
Last updated: 5:22 PM 10/4/2011