The IBZ Königsheide in Berlin is located on the former grounds of the largest children’s home in the GDR. It now serves as an inviting research and documentation site where the past comes to life.
A children’s home, over 50 years
In the years between 1953 and 1998, up to 600 children live on the grounds of the current IBZ. They are cared for by around 280 employees. The largest “normal children’s home” of the GDR is often a substitute for girls’ and boys’ families over many years. Especially in the years following the construction of the Wall in 1961, when children were frequently left behind by fleeing parents, the children’s home turns into a formative environment for many. In later years, the children of imprisoned dissidents are more commonly housed here. The fates, experiences, and circumstances created in this environment are not easy for the caretakers, nor for the children being cared for.
The question of personal background and identity
Today, too, many former home residents are looking for their roots and identity, and often want to process their past. The IBZ Königsheide provides a unique type of support in this regard: Former residents and employees alike are given the opportunity to meet securely at the real location and speak with each other.
This has resulted in a valuable meeting place.
Experiencing the past: from the school bell to papers of personnel espionage
But anyone else who would like to learn more about residential care – researchers, students of all ages, and anyone interested in general – can come visit and meet at the IBZ.
The IBZ, which considers itself a research facility and documentation site, offers a permanent exhibit as well as events and projects. The more than 50-year history of the home has been brought to life for the public:
The permanent exhibit presents historical film material and an audio station with moving audio documents. Everyday objects belonging to the children residents are presented in display cases. Exciting pedagogic concept papers provide a look at how children were raised and educated in the GDR. Documents on espionage and manipulation can also be seen, while ensuring the privacy of the individuals named therein.
The event programme also includes conversations with eyewitnesses, and the archive is continuously compiling important documents and image material. Historical tours show how the home’s residents lived, and events that happened on the very grounds.
The IBZ Königsheide is almost entirely accessible.
You can reach the site from S-Bahn station Schöneweide with the bus line 166. There is a stop directly in front of the entrance to the IBZ.
More culture in the area
Visit the Anna Seghers Museum in nearby Adlershof. The original, preserved residence of the renowned author and its many atmospheric details depict the environment in which she wrote her works.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is also not far: The Hufeisensiedlung by the famous architect Bruno Taut, constructed between 1925 and 1930, set the bar for modern residential construction.
A little further west is the Tempelhofer Feld in front of the former Tempelhof Airport. The grounds, nearly 450 football fields in size, has become a popular excursion destination where you can walk, skate, and play to your heart’s content. The former airport building has become an exciting event and exhibition site.