Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Nazi church

The stark entrance hall is lit by a black chandelier in the shape of an iron cross. The pulpit has a wooden carving of a muscular Jesus leading a helmeted Wehrmacht soldier and surrounded by an Aryan family. The baptismal font is guarded by a wooden statue of a stormtrooper from Adolf Hitler's paramilitary Sturmabteilung (SA) unit clutching his cap. Friezes depicting the eagle of the Reich and helmeted soldiers' heads have been carved into a giant stone arch framing the chancel. The organ was used at the 1935 Nuremberg rally of the Nazi party.
I must confess, I had never thought of churches with Nazi imagery. As with so much Nazi self-projection, this description just makes me want to laugh. But it's real and there in the Martin Luther Memorial Church in Berlin, now unused and appealing for funds for development as a museum. It is, evidently, unique (how many were there?) so it should be kept.

The article from Spiegel is here. Have a look at the images. They have a sort of grim fixity of purpose.

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