Hello and welcome to Friedrichstrasse, and specifically to the "Süßes Löchle", Baden-Württemberg’s first museum that is a café, or possibly café that is a museum. This historic café (its name means roughly “Sweet Little Nook”), is something of an institution in Lahr – and the same is true of its former owner, Hildegard Seidl. She worked here at the "Süßes Löchle" for more than sixty years...
... I started at the "Conditorei-Café Hildebrand", because that was its official name when I first arrived here. That was... give me a minute... that would have been...
… in the spring of 1939. Our little local railway line, the Bähnle, was still running here at Urteilsplatz. It was important, because it connected the Black Forest with the Rhine Valley.
The window of the cake shop had a display of magnificent Black Forest Gateaux and Frankfurt Crown Cakes and Sacher Torte... not to mention the famous bright red sugar bunnies – all nicely arranged on lace doilies!
This was shortly after Easter, and I’d just finished primary school. I was such a bright and cheerful young thing, with two long, blond plaits... in the style of the times back then... but who could have imagined I was going to spend my entire life at the Süßes Löchle?
My aunt, Gertrud Hauser, managed the café at the time, and she worked for the Hildebrands. They were the second generation of the same family to own the Süßes Löchle. And I became my aunt’s apprentice. Then came the war. Chocolate, sugar and flour were rationed, and then the bombs fell, but our Süßes Löchle survived unscathed... Thank goodness for that!
Because otherwise, how could it have become a cosy meeting place for generations of locals in Lahr? A place where you’d go to warm up in winter and drink coffee and eat cake on Saturday afternoons, and where children would press their noses to the window – utterly amazed at the magnificent cakes, biscuits and chocolates.
Gude Tag, Mrs. Hauser.
Oh, Herr Wickertsheimer. Come on in! Would you like a cup of coffee? (ruft) Gardi, take Mr Wickertsheimer's hat and coat!
Ah, Mr Wickertsheimer, he was one of the café’s regular patrons. "One day, he's going to be a famous painter!” said my aunt. And so we bought his paintings. "You never know, I’m sure they'll be worth a fortune some day," she would say. And she was right. Wilhelm Wickertsheimer is well known these days, and a trail that follows in his footsteps ends right here... at the Café Süßes Löchle.
Let me have a look and see if the paintings are still hanging in the seating area. After all, my Süßes Löchle is now the first and only Museumscafé in Baden-Württemberg! A museum that’s a café... how nice that sounds!
The house is now a listed building, because very little has changed since I arrived here in 1939. Come on, let me show you!
Foto: © Wagner Roland und Adelheid, Lahr