“We need to close the hole—just put a lid on it,” said some. Others called for the building to be conserved in its entirety. After a 1943 air raid on Berlin, the interior of St. Hedwig’s Cathedral was a scene of devastation. Between 1956 and 1963, Hans Schwippert created a space which turned the destruction into a feature, leaving the damage to the ceiling of the upper and lower church on display as a memento mori: a caution against future wars. In doing so, he drew attention to the tomb of the martyrs of the Second World War resting in the lower floor. Along with artists from both East and West Germany, including Fritz Kühn and Hubertus Förster, Schwippert constructed an important piece of contemporary history at a time when doing so was still possible—even if it was not entirely desired.
In this volume, conservationists, architects, scientists, and artists such as Wolfgang Pehnt, Adrian von Buttlar, Georg Mörsch, and Ulrich Battis make a case for the preservation of this artistically significant work of art and moving site of German commemorative culture.