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Kaiser Wilhelm Gedchtniskirche

Kaiser Wilhelm Gedchtniskirche
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
#About the Church the Kaiser Built

The Protestant Church (Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche) was first built in the 1890’s. Kaiser Wilhelm II built the church in memory of his grandfather, and made sure to inaugurate the building on his grandfather’s birthday – September 1, 1895. He was the one who chose the location for the church, and started a competition for the design of the building, which the architect Franz Schwechten won. Schwechten later became the Royal Architect and a member of the Academy for Construction. Beyond the neo-Romanesque design, Schwechten also wanted to create a mosaic wall the size of 2,740 square meters that displayed the life of the Kaiser.

This church was very important to the Kaiser, and he took a very serious and prominent role in designing and building the church. That being said, the Kaiser’s family did not make any donations of any kind towards the building of the church, whose price reached about 6.8 million marks. Around the church other buildings were built in the same neo-Romanesque style, and the entire neighborhood received the nickname ‘the Roman Forum.’

The church walls are scattered with blue windows. On Saturdays at 6 pm a concert is performed by organ.

#The Church During the War

Due to the heavy bombings during World War II, the church was badly damaged. During an air raid by the royal air force on the 23rd of November, the roof over the center of the church collapsed, along with the top most part of the building. Many parts of the church were destroyed, and the only part that remained was a part of the bell tower (whose height is 68 meters).

Despite the Nazi leadership’s promised to the citizens of Berlin to repair and improve the church into a more big and beautiful structure at the end of the war, the plans were never executed. The reason was the tough financial times that Germany went into, and perhaps because of fear that new national pride might rise up with the renovation of the building. Only in 1956 were the church ruins removed, all except the partial bell tower that was left as a memorial for the war.

The church was built again between the years of 1959 – 1963, in the neo- Romanesque style. Alongside the church and its original turret, a new church was built with a bell tower that was inaugurated in 1961. The combination of their shapes got them the nickname ‘The Cover Up’ and ‘the Lipstick.’ Be sure not to miss the damaged bell tower, which only has a part left standing, kept since the war, and the ground floor that has become a sort of memorial hall. Because of its appearance, Berlin locals refer to the turret as ‘The Broken Tooth.’

A Closer Look:


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