Citizens’ action group sells postcards

Old photos of the American compound in Bad Godesberg

Bad Godesberg. The citizens’ action group “Save the American Settlement” has created a set of postcards with 13 historical views of the area. The action group is selling the set at the cost price of six euros.

The citizens’ action group “Save the American Settlement” has been working for many years to keep alive the history of the compound, which dates from the 1950s, and above all to preserve buildings of historic interest. They are not ready to admit defeat over the demolition of the old kindergarten in the compound planned by politicians and the administration. Representatives of the action group said that Americans have made contact from the US on Facebook and are angry about the actions of politicians and the administration in Bonn.

At a meeting in the basement of the Stimson Memorial Chapel on Kennedyallee, the chairman of the citizens’ action group, Rolf Fischer, talked about the history of the compound. 490 apartments were built in Bonn for the American employees of the High Commission for Occupied Germany (HICOG) at the start of the 1950s. The apartments were fully equipped with furniture, electrical goods, crockery and kitchen appliances.

At around 140 square metres, the size of the apartments was very luxurious for the time. The first ground-breaking ceremony was on 15 February 1951. 3200 workers were involved in the construction of the residential buildings. The topping out ceremony took place on 1 June 1951 and the first removal vans were photographed on 5 November 1951, as Rolf Fischer explained in his talk.

As well as an indoor swimming pool, school, sports hall and outdoor pool, bowling centre, theatre and cinema, an American supermarket, a power station and the kindergarten currently about to be demolished, a petrol station was also built. The American Club building is legendary – today the windows are protected by sheets of wood and graffiti artists have “let off steam” all over it. The action group said it was not clear whether the building would be revived. Supporters of the settlement say the American church with its architectural style is definitely part of German-American history after the Second World War.

The citizen’s group is concerned about the heritage protected kindergarten building. A target agreement reached three years ago for the restoration of the building has yielded no results. Citizens’ petitions and requests for the preservation of the kindergarten building have so far been refused and submissions to the Ministry of Home Affairs have not yet been answered. The action group said only the neighbouring owners were allowed to file a complaint to stop a new, larger development of the site.

Josef Roth gave a history lecture. The grandson of the Godesberg local politician Joseph Roth recalled the history of the Roth family and his grandfather, who was a victim of the Nazis.

Original text: Alfred Schmelzeisen. Translation: kc