sights / Religious

Gethsemanekirche information

Berlin , Germany
Street Stargarder Strasse 77
+49 445 7745
Getting there
subway Schönhauser Allee
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Lonely Planet review

This 1893 neo-Gothic church was a hotbed of dissent in the final days of the GDR and thus a thorn in the side of the Stasi which, as late as October 1989, brutally quashed a peaceful gathering outside its portals. Ernst Barlach's Geistkämpfer (Ghost Fighter, 1928) sculpture stands outside the church, which is usually closed except for concerts and Sunday services.

Designed by August Orth, the Gethsemane Church was among the dozens commissioned by Emperor Wilhelm II to ‘create a bulwark against socialism, communism and atheism’ which, he feared, were fomenting in Berlin's working-class districts. Ironically, rather than stifling such movements, the church seemed to encourage them and its congregation can look back on a proud tradition as a haven for nonconformists and freethinkers, even long before GDR times.