Berlin – Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Located on Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, this Protestant church was constructed in the 1890s. It was badly damaged during an air raid on 23 November 1943 and a decision was made later on not to repair it, but to instead let it stand as a memorial.

The name memorial church doesn’t relate to the Second World War, but was its original name, after Kaiser Wilhelm I who had died in 1888. Reuters news agency wrote in March 1891:

“The laying of the foundation stone took place with great ceremony. The Emperor and Empress and the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Baden attended, together with a large military retinue, and among the other distinguished persons present were Count von Moltke, General von Caprivi, the Imperial Chancellor and Ministers”.

There was once a grand rose stained glass window in the centre.

More of the damaged church. The Nottingham Evening post noted in 1948 that “the spire of the church stands like a protesting finger raised from a mangled body”.

This photo is from what once the entrance to the nave. The church was left as it was until 1956, more out of indecision than by design, but there were fears that the choir section was going to collapse so action was needed. Many wanted the entire church entirely demolished and replaced, but a compromise was reached so that the tower would remain. Personally, I think it’s a great shame that what was left of the entire church wasn’t allowed to remain, in the way that Coventry Cathedral was.

Inside the grand foyer, although it took until 1987 to open this area up to the public.

Steps to the higher part of the church.

This sculpture is made using Carrara marble from Italy and it was installed here in 1906. The display text reads that it represents “a seated Queen Luise watches as King Friedrich Wilhelm III awards an officer’s sabre to Prince Wilhelm, their 9-year old on, on New Year’s Day 1907”.

A chair from the lodge for members of ecclesiastical authorities and clergy families.

There are 330 locations around the world which have these cross of nails, which are nails taken from the roof beams of Coventry Cathedral, which was also destroyed during the Second World War.

Items found at the church following the bombing.

The grand ceiling of the foyer area. There are some information boards around the church explaining how it was constructed and also what is left today. It’s a useful reminder to future generations about the futility of war.