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Lecture on Organized Spa Vacation for Children by Jeanette Metz

Apr 29, 2022 | 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Children in bath tubs

Children in bath tubs

The European Spa Online Seminar Series presents:

Jeanette Metz (Bad Sassendorf): Trauma or Paradise? Organized Vacation for Children without Parents in a German Spa

Memories of the negative experiences of children sent without parents to the so-called "Verschickungsheime" in German spas are currently making headlines in the media. In the spa of Bad Sassendorf alone, between 1940 and 1980 well over 1000 children between the ages of four and 14 were housed in facilities of various sizes for recreation purposes. In some resorts the number of children even exceeded the number of regular bathers. The cures were financed by public bodies, companies or charitable associations. The aim of sending the children to Bad Sassendorf was to strengthen or heal children from Westphalia and all over Germany. In addition to various medical diagnoses, poor and unhygienic living conditions and malnutrition, especially in the industrial Ruhr area, were cited to determine the destitution of the children. To improve their "weak constitution", children were supposed to gain weight during the cures in the brine baths and be "coddled up".

Focusing on Bad Sassendorf, the research project of the Westfälische Salzwelten Museum explores the understudied topic of the history of children's spas in the Hellweg bathing resorts from their emergence in the 19th century to the 1980s. It addresses the importance of children's spa facilities in the Westphalian health system, in particular for the period after 1945. On the basis of archival sources and interviews with eyewitnesses, the project traces individual and collective experiences of the children in day-to-day spa life. Moreover, in a joint project with students from the University of Münster, we developed a communication concept and content for a virtual tour of the sites for former victims and interested citizens. 


Jeanette Metz holds a Master degree in European Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies from Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. She worked as trainee at the Oberschwäbischen Museumsdorf in Kürnbach before joining the Erlebnismuseum Westfälische Salzwelten, Bad Sassendorf, in 2017, initially as the head of the educational department. Since 2019, she is the director of the museum.

Please join us on zoom: https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/83002803556

Time & Location

Apr 29, 2022 | 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM