Ideology and protection of cultural heritage: war damaged churches in Democratic German Republic

Journal title STORIA URBANA
Author/s Henriette Von Preuschen
Publishing Year 2011 Issue 2010/129 Language Italian
Pages 34 P. 121-154 File size 348 KB
DOI 10.3280/SU2010-129005
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From the Second World War up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, reconstruction of war damaged churches, places rich in memory, in the German Democratic Republic - was not a cultural problem. On the contrary, it was essentially a political issue. The choice of whether to rebuild bombed churches or not was secondary to the fact of whether they could or could not strengthen socialist ideology, supporting the image which the socialist regime wanted to give of itself. In general, central governments used to mine the ruins of damaged churches, metaphorically mining, in this way, the foundations of religion, and also any historical and artistic message which they held. Reconstruction was permitted only if the church could eventually help to define the socialist urban image which the regime wanted to transmit abroad. In these cases, the State took full control of reconstructions, by excluding religious authorities, so as to transmit an anti-religious message. Other times, as in the case of Frauenkirche in Dresden, churches were left in their ruined conditions, as ruins, in this case, could transmit a precise political message against American imperialism.

Keywords: Democratic German Republic, Church, Reconstruction, Socialist ideology

Henriette Von Preuschen, Ideologia e conservazione dei beni culturali: le chiese distrutte dalla guerra nella Repubblica democratica tedesca in "STORIA URBANA " 129/2010, pp 121-154, DOI: 10.3280/SU2010-129005