Mémorial Waldniel-Hostert

Commissioned by
  • Call for projects of the town of Schwalmtal
  • Landschaftsverband Rheinland
  • Vera Baur
  • Ruedi Baur
  • Chantal Grossen
  • David Thoumazeau
  • Matthieu Thonnard

Between 1941 and 1943, 99 disabled children were killed by the Nazi regime in the Waldniel-Hostert children’s ward, left to die from starvation and a lack of medical attention. The institution is reputed to have practiced euthanasia and forced sterilisation in the Rheinland region. In October 2015, a call for projects was launched for the creation of a memorial in the former hospital cemetery, a place for remembrance and teaching the value of all life. An observatory against the tyranny of conformism. A monument to kindness, tolerance and diversity. The view from the motorway when arriving from afar: a carrousel soaring above the trees near the ruins of Waldniel-Hostert hospital. As you draw closer, you begin to hear faint fairground music and discover a pole 80 centimetres in diameter, topped by the carousel. Above the pole, there is a complex system of gears that sets in motion wooden animals when the carousel moves. Descriptions on the gears describe the fascist process of euthanasia and the transition from a biopolitical decree to murder on an industrial scale. At the bottom of the pole, there is a round tabletop with a circular rail displaying the names of the victims and an image of the historical carousel, as a reminder of the happy times, when children from the village and the hospital would play together on the wooden horses. Only one person at time can make the carousel rotate, which starts the music and lights. The bottom structure forms a living, three-dimensional diagram that stands in sharp contrast with the innocence of the merry-go-round.  All of the written elements and sound collages would be covered as topics in the related educational programme developed in collaboration with local actors.

Non recherche-action plateforme socialdesign
Cadre budgétaire
  • 1 500 €
Project duration
  • october 2015
  • Schwalmtal, Allemagne