The Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Church in Berlin, Germany
This is the Church I was baptized in, Kaiser Wilhelm Church Berlin, Germany.
A short history of this Protestant Kaiser Wilhelm Church
Originally the church was built in 1890's and then destroyed in WWII November 23, 1943.
The church was named in Honor of Kaiser William I by his grandson Kaiser Wilhelm II...designed by a contest winner Franz Schwechten and consecrated September 1, 1895. Completion with the opening consecration on February 22, 1906...Then again after the war the new church was consecrated May 25, 1962.
(Church before it was destroyed)
The Church "Before" being destroyed by the bombings
I can say proudly, that I and my fraternal twin sister were baptized in this famous German Church Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche about a year before it was destroyed.
We had the most beautiful Christening gowns. They were made from my grandmother Georgianna's wedding dress of French lace with beaded seed pearls...what I would give, to have those dresses now! They were lost or left behind in Berlin due to our migration during the war. All I have is one photograph of that day, and a label from a Champagne bottle.
Champagne bottle label - Brut Imperial 1928 Moet & Chandon Champagne Epernay
The other side of the label -
Champagne for the Christening...
Amazing that this item could be found during the war, but I guess if you have enough money anything can be bought. I'm happy to have this label commemorating that day...I just wish I had a bottle of this Champagne "Brut Imperial 1928 Moet & Chandon Champagne Epernay"
On the reverse side of this label includes the names of relatives and friends that attended our Christening.
Standing on the steps where mom stood
To enter the church was a heart wrenching experience…because my mom always wanted to visit there with me as an adult, but her life was cut short at 60. Even though we never had the opportunity to go there together, she was with me in my heart and spirit...I lit a candle and prayed for her.
My husband took a photo of me on the very steps where mom held me and my sister in here arms...I‘m so happy to have been able to return here with my husband. I hope to be able to go back again some day.
My Tante (Aunt) Eva was my Godmother, she was the youngest of mom's sisters, so one of my middle names is Eva.
My sister's Godmother was Tante Ruth and her Godfather's name has been forgotten, although one of her middle names is Teddi...something I had meant to ask my aunts, but they are all gone now, so really it doesn't matter.
Because of my father having a title of Baron, we inherited the titles of Baroness. We did not use the titles after becoming citizens...in this country a title means nothing unless you have the money to back it up...so be it!
Postcard from my Aunt Margot -
My Aunt Margot (Tante Margot) sent me this postcard in 1964 and she marked it with, "this is where you were Baptized."
The last time I visited with her in Nuremberg, she told me the Pastor that baptized us was quite famous, something I never knew.
If it were not for this aunt I wouldn't have been able to confirm many stories about the family (I miss her dearly) She spoke English and it was easy to understand her, she's one reason I write about this, so that I will never forget or that my daughters never forget, who and what my family stood for (sadly both of my girls have no interest in my past or family's past, but they might someday when I'm gone.)
After the bombing
One of my first Photos of the Church - back side
Another View at a Different Time Setting
A candle lit for my mom and dad in the church
Inside the church
The New modern Church had been added - Inside
We where lucky enough to be there when they had a free special concert of wonderful music, mostly sung in English. The service was late at night 11:00 pm...the lights from the outside came through the blue stain glass...it was lovely, I am so glad we chose to go to this.
Service and singing - was in English
An evening stroll viewing the Church
Born, Baptized and Lived on Kurfürstendamm
We were born at a Hospital on this street Kurfürstendamm, my father also had a Photography Studio, and the House that we lived in on this street. The Hospital was not a real one, but a mansion converted into a Hospital.
We left the Hospital early because my mother and father were angry. One of the nurses spilled boiling water on my left leg causing a severe burn and scar to this day... when my mother questioned the nurse why I was wrapped up and not all of me could be seen, the nurse replied that she feared my dad because of his title...so my father insisted that we leave the Hospital, and that was certainly a Blessing in disguise, the Hospital was bombed the following day, and everyone perished.
Enjoying a wonderful breakfast at the Hotel Hardenberg
My husband and I where so very lucky to get a room reserved at this Hotel Hardenberg...it was one block from the train station Berlin and right across the street from the Memorial Church, between Kurfurstendamm and the Zoo station. I had called from home the Hotel manager who spoke English made special arrangements for us to get a room, this after he found out about my Berlin family history. All the hotels in town had been booked and all rooms were taken because of the World Champion Soccer 2006 Tournament...we were lucky indeed to have gotten a Hotel room.
The only regret I have about our visit there was my lack of research of Berlin touring places, it never occurred to me to visit a tour place there, since I forgot to do it at home...we did go on a boat trip down the river in Berlin, went to the Museum, then to the Wall and the Brandenburg Gate, of course walking a great deal...I guess I was just too excited being there and overwhelmed with it all, there were so many people and so much noise because the Germans won a tournament in Berlin...you can imagine the pandemonium...it scared me!
After Berlin, our next stop was Dresden where my dad and other family members were born, what a treat and wonderful experience that was. I wish I had known what I know now when we visited, but that gives me a chance to go back for another visit.
I wrote a little part about our visit in a page already having information on Dresden and family (see my family crest page)
Easy way to learn and understand the German language - I enjoyed this!
- Learn German with TV Shows and Movies - Lingopie
Learn German just by watching German TV shows with German and English subtitles. Get instant translation of any word just by clicking on the subtitles.
Mapped portion where the Church is located
Visiting famous Churches or Cathedrals
I love History, and when we travel we try to visit Churches and Cathedrals that are famous...In Europe you can't beat them for their beauty, age and history...you don't have to be religious to appreciate this.
Enjoy learning the History and the Architecture of these buildings…
What you are is God's gift to you, what you do with yourself is your gift to God: Danish Proverb
© 2010 Delia
Thank You for taking the time to read this story!
TransplantedSoul on April 04, 2013:
What a beautiful church. I am not religious at all, but I love the feel of a big beautiful church.
poldepc lm on February 19, 2013:
Once I visited Berlin...just 3 days; very adorable city...
lesliesinclair on January 28, 2013:
You've really brought color to this story.
anonymous on September 13, 2012:
Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.
Lorelei Cohen from Canada on February 19, 2012:
How very magnificent the old buildings and churches were. They had personality which out modern day sky scrapers just do not capture.
DonD LM on January 20, 2012:
The Church is so huge and beautiful. The photos are great. Your lense is very informative. Thanks.
Karicor on December 31, 2011:
What an incredible story! I have stood before that church but reading your personal account gives it an entirely new perspective. It's heart wrenching to consider all that was lost. Still, how wonderful to have that one photograph to spark this inspirational story.
oxfordian on December 14, 2011:
Your story is so beautiful and inspirational. I wrote a short story about the Berlin Wall that I published here on Squidoo; I only wish that I knew you at the time I wrote it! I have been drawn to that period in time as well. What a wonderful, heartwarming journey. I have never been to Berlin in person; for that I have been only a mental traveler, but I will go there some day and I hope it is very soon. I spent so many weeks researching my story, I feel that I know it, but of course, when I finally do get there, I can only now imagine what a powerful experience it will be. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story.
goo2eyes lm on December 13, 2011:
the river in berlin is called Spree. some delicious gurken pickles are being produced there in spreewald.
travelerme on November 21, 2011:
I have done over a hundred likes.
travelerme on November 21, 2011:
A thumbs up? sure.
GETREADY LM on September 23, 2011:
We would like to put a link on your lens pointing to our site http://www.getreadyberlin.com
please get in touch with us at email@example.com
Thanks for your time.
anonymous on November 30, 2010:
Just doing some research on Berlin and came across your blog. So very interesting and touching to see the old photos and your more recent visits. Having also been to Berlin it is astounding to see how much was lost during the 2ndWW, What a travesty!! Still, there are beautiful old places. I can hardly imagine what it was like before. Thanks again! What a treat it is to share your memories!
annrhi on September 23, 2010:
I have been in this church a few years ago, it fascinated me then so I was very pleased to find this lens and learn more about it
anonymous on July 04, 2010:
i have some private photos of Hannes Stelzer from his Nachlass.
casamonika on February 18, 2010:
I love history too and this lens touched my heart. I was also born and baptized in Berlin (1948). Left for America when I was 23. I'm so glad you're here to tell about your life. If my mother hadn't narrowly escaped one of the bombings (she was one of the few who made it out of a burning building, 300 others perished that night), I wouldn't be here to tell you how much I love your lenses and your art and your spirit.
Indigo Janson from UK on February 15, 2010:
I adore all of your family history lenses, and this one was a real treat. I have seen that church and it's interesting to know of someone who was actually baptised there while it still stood. Your past is the most fascinating I've come across and will be lensrolling this to my True-Life Family History Stories lens.
Geeve on February 07, 2010:
Fascinating lens Delia, 5*.
I am sure others will enjoy it, so I have also lensrolled it to my "What's happening in Berlin" lens.
WhiteOak50 on February 07, 2010:
This lens is amazing! How sacred to have a picture of you standing in the same place that your mother had so many years before. What a beautiful thing to have experience.
"Blessed by a SquidAngel"
julieannbrady on February 02, 2010:
OK, I'm thinking that picture in the hotel restaurant at breakfast??? That would be a great cover for a book with recipes and reminesces. You know? Hugs.