January 1985, demolition of the Church of Reconciliation. 1980, making of a "new" wall (type UL 12.41). 1986, Pauline Löfler with a "dance on the wall"
From the Church of Reconciliation
to the Chapel of Reconciliation
The image of the Church of Reconciliation's collapsing tower was seen throughout the world. First the nave, and then the tower of the old Church of Reconciliation were blown up on January 22nd and 28th, 1985.
With the destruction of the church, the GDR's national security "measures" for object number 7 "concerning the execution of construction requirements necessary for raising the security, order and integrity of the national border to West Berlin" were completed.
After 24 years of construction and improvements, after the expulsion of people from their apartments, after the demolition of houses and the erection of supporting wall elements (Type UL 12.41)1, the border segment 'Bernauer Strasse' was, from the perspective of the GDR rulers, "secure and integral".
In a report on the state of the nation in a divided Germany on February 28, 1985, Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl said, "This event is a 'symbol.' The demolition of the church shows us how long, how difficult and how uncertain the path before us is in order to over come the division of Europe and the division of Germany."
For the members of the reconciliation Parish, the destruction of the Church signified, on the contrary, a profound experience of powerlessness. Whoever experiences this kind of powerlessness is made to feel small and insignificant. He is reminded that he can do nothing, that he is subject to the desires of those more powerful. The only opposition left to him is the symbolic act.
With a "dance on the Wall" the Parish bade farewell to its church. In a "Wall-speech," it was said at the time: "We can do something. And if we have faith in symbolic actions, then we know that symbols have a silent power which can make the 'impossible' possible."