The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (in German: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche)
is located in Berlin on the Kurfürstendamm in the center of the Breitscheidplatz.
The old church was built between 1891 and 1895 according to plans by Franz
Emperor Wilhelm II ordered the construction of the church in honor of
his grandfather Wilhelm I. The neo-romanesque style refers to many romanesque
churches in the Rhineland.
The original construction was of impressive monumentality and size.
Mosaics inside the church recalled the life and work of Emperor Wilhelm
I. During World War II, the church was destroyed during a British RAF
bombing raid in 1943. The only remainder of the old building is the ruin
of the belfry, which are also referred to as "der Hohle Zahn" ("the
After the war, from 1951 to 1961, a new church was built right next
to the site of the old one according to the plans of Egon Eiermann. It
features a cross made of nails from the old Coventry Cathedral, destroyed
by German Luftwaffe bomb attacks in Britain, in what was called the Coventry
Blitz. It was consecrated on May 25, 1962, the same day as the new Coventry
Cathedral, which like the Gedächtniskirche, was built alongside
the ruins of the old building, which were kept as reminders of the horrors
of war. Besides the Coventry cross, it houses an iconic cross of the
Russian Orthodox Church and a graphic known as the Stalingrad Madonna
by Lieutenant Kurt Reuber, created in December 1942 in Stalingrad (now
Volgograd), as symbols of reconciliation between the three countries
that were once at war.