Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church


July 5, 2022

The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (also known by its abbreviated name Gedächtniskirche) is a church in Berlin. The church building is located on Breitscheidplatz in the Charlottenburg district.


Romanesque Revival Church

The original church was built in 1891-1895 to a design by architect Franz Schwechten, commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II in memory of his grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm I. The church was built in a Romanesque Revival style that was heavily based on Romanesque churches in the Rhineland . On the night of November 23, 1943, during World War II, the church was badly damaged in an Allied air raid on Berlin.

New construction after the Second World War

In March 1957, the architect Egon Eiermann was commissioned to build a new building. According to his plans, the ruins would be completely demolished. As a compromise, it was later decided to keep the ruins as a monument, after having been restored to such a condition that it would not collapse, and to build an octagonal new church hall as well as an octagonal new bell tower. The church was consecrated in 1961. The church hall has approximately 20,000 stained glass windows in its eight walls. However, the old part of the church fell into disrepair. In 2010 a major restoration of this part was started. The restoration was paid for by a number of Berlin investors.


The church is one of the most famous sights in Berlin. The combination of ruin and new construction is sometimes disrespectfully called "powder box and lipstick" by the Berliners themselves. The tower of the old part is also known as "the hollow tooth" (der hohle Zahn).

External link

(de) (en) Web page of the Gedächtniskirche