Germany Museum zur Geschichte der Gehörlosen und Schwerhörigen
Frankfurter Stiftung für Gehörlose und Schwerhörige
60389 Frankfurt am Main
Open Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment, Tel. 069/9459300,
On the website of the Frankfurter Stiftung für Gehörlose und Schwerhörige there is no mention anymore of the Museum. Unfortunately, we have not been able to find any recent information.
(translated fro m German by Google Translate)
"Since 2009 there has been an exhibition on the history of the deaf and hard of hearing in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center at Rothschildallee 16a in Frankfurt.
The exhibition in the museum, which opened in 2009, was not only a reflection for those Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, but also a source of information for hearing people on their way to get to know the world of the hard of hearing and the world of the deaf cultural community better.
On a museum area of 177 m², visitors interested in medicine and technology were greeted with a comprehensive overview of various historical devices for the "alleged" healing of deafness and hearing impairment through to the development of cochlear implants.
The exhibition on history was integrated into a new educational concept in 2019. The new experience exhibition, which was developed together with the Frankfurt University of Applied Siences and the Social Association VdK Hessen-Thüringen e.V., has been open since January 2020 and includes other exciting topics.
As a result of renovations, the exhibition has now been expanded to 200 square meters and is barrier-free. Visits and guided tours are possible by appointment."
Article in Main Echo, 08/29/2009 , translation from German by Google Translate:
" For nine years, Lothar Scharf has been collecting pictures, books, photos and equipment related to his life's work. On display are, for example, historical bibles for the deaf and mute from 1788, paintings by deaf artists, hearing aids, film posters and plaques from deaf sports, photographs and documents from the National Socialist era that commemorate the fate of Jewish and non-Jewish deaf people in the Third Reich.
For hearing and deaf people The museum should be a reflection for those affected, Lothar Scharf wishes, but also a source of information for hearing people who want to get to know the quiet or very quiet world that is everyday life for thousands of people in Germany. It is not entirely clear how many there are: 42,000 people are deaf, is the official number of the state, 80,000 the official number of the German Association of the Deaf. According to the German Association for the Hard of Hearing, there are also around 16 million people who are hard of hearing.
Its cultural scene is not blank: there are theaters for the deaf, in Leipzig there is a library with special literature, sign language choirs and guided tours of museums in sign language; The Association for Culture and History of the Deaf, based in Hamburg, is committed to cultural issues. Until now, however, there has not been a museum in Germany; the permanent exhibition in the basement of the Frankfurt Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is unique in this respect.
Also because it is aimed at everyone: like the Dialogmuseum in Frankfurt, which makes the world of blind people an experience for the sighted. The world of the deaf has so far been closed to hearing people. Without Lothar Scharf's private commitment, she would still be there.
For nine years, the 48-year-old researched, collected exhibits - he estimates his stock at around 1000 pieces - and interviewed contemporary witnesses who were hard of hearing or deaf. Not only did they tell stories, they also gave him rare documents: letters, decommissioning certificates, Wehrmacht passports. "You only get things like that if you go to these people," says Lothar Scharf. And: "I won the race against time. If I had started five years later, it would have been too late. Some of the people I spoke to didn't live to see the opening of the museum."
Lothar Scharf came up with the plan for the museum early on; but it was not the reason for his interest. Those were photos: In his father's estate - he was also hard of hearing - he found pictures from the former deaf-mute institution in Bayreuth, the father can be seen in uniform. Lothar Scharf says that he was active in the Hitler Youth in the "Ban for the Hearing Impaired". The son wanted to know more, couldn't find any literature or a museum, so he looked for information himself, visited eyewitnesses - and wanted to open his own museum.
Book, traveling exhibition, museum He initially wrote two books, which he published himself, one about the deaf and one about the fate of deaf Jews. Then he designed a traveling exhibition based on his information, which has been touring Germany since 2006. "It was a time-consuming affair," says Lothar Scharf, "there was no vacation and no car. There are several thousand euros in the museum."
Lothar Scharf met Horst Buchenauer, the managing director of the Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, through this traveling exhibition, which stopped in Frankfurt. He got him from nearby Bamberg on the Main, gave him a job and let him use the bowling alley for the museum. He would have preferred Munich, admits the native of Bavaria, Scharf, but the offer from the Main city came earlier and it is more conveniently located - if hearing and deaf people from Germany and Europe are interested in the museum.
You should: What Lothar Scharf has collected at flea markets and at auctions in the USA, Great Britain and Germany is definitely worth seeing. The museum is set up clockwise, beginning with the history of the deaf-mute promotion, which, says the 48-year-old, began around 200 years ago. The emergence of the first clubs, schools and the press system is briefly recapitulated.
Church as pioneer It was the church that was the first to bring the hearing impaired out of the silence - in the footsteps of Jesus, who always took special care of the sick and needy. Biographies present pioneers such as the Spanish Benedictine monk Pedro Ponce de Léon (?-1584), who is considered the first teacher of deaf children, such as Abbé Charles-Michel de l'Epée (1712-1789), who founded the world's first school for the deaf and dumb in Paris, and Samuel Heinicke (1727-1790), who founded the first school on German territory in the 18th century.
A good 100 years later there were nowhere more institutions for the deaf than in Germany, plus ten newspapers - today there is still one, the deaf newspaper founded in 1950.
The museum continues past a gallery with works by deaf artists such as the poet, sculptor and painter Ruth Schaumann, who died in 1970, and Reinhard Hilker, who is known for his homeland pictures and graphics and died in 1961.
A showcase then shows old hearing aids and hearing aids. A vibrating eardrum massager from the 1920s, for example, points to a time when people were trying to cure deafness. Vibraphones - small ear studs - also testify to this desire. Curious story: The vibraphones first existed in the USA, where they were banned because of their ineffectiveness, and later in Germany, where they were also banned.
The museum deals extensively with Lothar Scharf's main topic, the fate of the hearing-impaired under National Socialism, above all forced sterilization and racial fanaticism; the former traveling exhibition is integrated. For example, you can see the flag of the Reich Association of the Deaf - Lothar Scharf is sure that it is the only one still in existence.
Many deaf Germans were "enthusiastic" about Hitler, says the museum's founder. This is confirmed by a letter from Frankfurter Fridolin Wasserkampf, quoted by the show: he was ready to "sacrifice his life on the altar of the fatherland". However, Hitler's relationship with them was divided: on the one hand, the deaf were considered "inferior to life"; Those with hereditary diseases were forcibly sterilized. On the other hand, several thousand hearing-impaired were members of the NSDAP. "Deaf people were followers and victims at the same time," says Lothar Scharf.
Stumbling blocks for Jewish victims This does not apply to deaf Jews, to whom the museum commemorates with documents, texts and photos. "Hardly anyone survived," says Lothar Scharf. "
He arranged for two commemorative "stumbling blocks" to be laid, one of them at Eschersheimer Landstrasse 10 in Frankfurt. In addition to Berlin and Breslau, most of the deaf Jews lived there. Among the artistically most valuable exhibits are two original woodcuts from the "Holocaust Cycle" by the Jewish artist David Ludwig Bloch.
The work on the museum should now be over. For now: Lothar Scharf has enough material for special exhibitions. In two years at the latest, the topic of deafness should be discussed in the film. "The deaf person is often portrayed as an idiot or a criminal. The fact that he can't hear anything obviously gives an additional kick."