Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church – A Symbol of Peace and Reconciliation:
One of Berlin’s most famous landmarks the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, or the Gedächtniskirche as it’s commonly known, is a memorial church that symbolizes peace and reconciliation. Located on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin’s busy Kurfürstendamm, this Berlin church is easily recognizable.
The original church on the site was built in the 1890s by Wilhelm II. The church was named after his grandfather, Wilhelm I, whose image can be seen in the well-preserved mosaics in the vestibule of the old church.
The Gedächtniskirche was badly damaged in a bombing raid in 1943. Like Coventry Cathedral in Coventry England, the ruin of the original west Tower has been left standing as a haunting reminder of the ravages of war. Berliners refer to it as the “hollow tooth” as it is literally an empty shell. Berlin was one of the cities that had been sent the Cross of Nails by the people of Coventry as a symbol of peace and reconciliation.
Features of Gedächtniskirche
The new church was erected, between 1957 and 1963, next to the ruins of the old church. The very modern octagonal tower has a six-sided bell tower and over 20,00 panels of stained glass make up the walls. The height of the new tower, at 53 metres, is only half that of the old tower before its destruction (113 metres).
The ground floor of the old cathedral has been made into a Memorial Hall. The Martyrs’ Memorial is a crucifix from Spain commemorating Protestant martyrs under the Nazi regime. The Stalingrad Madonna, a 1942 drawing by Kurt Reuber, is another reminder of the suffering caused by war.
Events at Gedächtniskirche
One of its key features of the Gedächtniskirche is its 5,100-pipe organ. The church is a regular venue for classical concerts, giving music lovers the opportunity to enjoy music at this famous Berlin church. See what’s on and book your concert tickets HERE.
The Gedenkhalle (Memorial Hall) holds photographic exhibits of the Church and the surrounding area before and after the War. Here too visitors can see the Cross of Nails from Coventry and the icon cross of the Russian Orthodox Church. Other exhibits of interest are liturgical objects from bygone days and mosaics.
Visitors who are interested in learning more about the Gedächtniskirche can join one of the daily free guided tours which takes about 30 minutes. These leave from the Hall of Remembrance (old tower) at 13:15, 14:00 and 15:00. There are extra tours on Mondays, Friday and Saturdays.
U-bahn: U Kurfürstendamm, U+S Zoologischer Garten,
Bus : M19, M29, M46, X9, X10, X34, 100, 109, 110, 145, 200, 204, 245