About 80 years ago, there was a young man in Germany, Werner Lücke. Werner loved to play soccer. But instead of playing his favorite ball game, he had to fight in World War II. When the war was finally over, he was taken into a prisoner of war camp. During his time at the camp, Werner Lücke got to practice a lot of soccer and he was an even better player when he was released in 1947.
So when he returned to Germany and his fellow prisoner and now friend Heinrich Schuster asked him to move to Heinrich’s hometown with him, where the local soccer team was looking for talented players and Werner Lücke would have an easier transition back into society, he did not say no. He started a new life in the small town of Sinzig, which is beautifully located at the river Rhine. According to the local soccer club, the Sportclub „Rhein-Ahr“ Sinzig 1910 e.V., Werner Lücke would play a big part in the team’s success and shaped the clubs future and history for the upcoming almost 20 years.
“Mr. Lücke was such a good soccer player that he could have easily played for a professional team”, says Fanny Merting from the City of Sinzig. “But he loved his new life here so much and was very thankful for the opportunities that he had gotten that he did not wand to leave.” So he stayed, got married and started a family.
In 1965, Werner Lücke started working as a property manager for the City of Sinzig. And not only did he get a pretty cool workplace, the historic place also turned into his home: Together with his family, Werner Lücke got to move into the Sinzig Castle.
The Sinzig Castle was built in the years from 1856 to 1859 on the remnants of a former water castle. It was the summer residence of Cologne business man Gustav Bunge and his family. The City of Sinzig bought the Castle in the 1950ies. It became home of the museum of local history and the city archives. Also, wedding ceremonies take place in the historic room in the castle tower, and another room is available for celebrations. The castle and the adjacent park are centrally located in the city of Sinzig.
Photo courtesy: Martin Gausmann Ahr-Foto
Werner Lücke and his family lived in a small apartment under the roof. 96 steps led to their front door. It has three balconies overlooking the courtyard and the park that belongs to the castle. There is only one room, the living room, that has straight walls and a straight ceiling. All other rooms have rounded walls and many little alcoves, says Fanny Merting. Sounds romantic, right? But even the bathtub is in a little niche located in the kitchen. Taking a nice shower is impossible. If the family wanted to take a shower comfortably standing up they had to go down to the first floor. Werner Lücke walked the 96 steps every day. He took care of his wife, who got ill and wasn’t able to leave the castle for the last 17 years of her life. Werner Lücke outlived his entire family, but did not move out of his cozy castle apartment. He passed away this year at the age of 90.
The apartment is now being renovated and will soon be available to someone who doesn’t only love history, but is also in good shape. Maybe a soccer player?
Once a year, visitors of the castle can take a journey several centuries back. The Barbarossa Market, named after King Friedrich I. Barbarossa, who came to visit the City of Sinzig several times in the 12th century, brings back the medieval ages every September. (Photos by Martin Gausmann Ahr-Foto)