The resurrected house of prayer, which is meant to serve as a civilian church, shall be a place where remembrance of German and European history is actively promoted. That way future generations can prepare for preserving freedom and taking on responsibility. The destruction of the Garrison Church during the Second World War and its final elimination by the GDR leadership did not only rob the Protestant Church and Potsdam of a house of prayer. It also robbed the whole of Germany of one of its most beautiful baroque churches from the Prussian era. To this day, its architect Philipp Gerlach is known as the ‘master of the spire on scenery’. In May 1968, the Bonhoeffer pupil and then Bishop of the Protestant Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Albrecht Schönherr, sent a letter of protest against the demolition of the church to Walter Ulbricht in vain.
The Garrison Church in Potsdam is among the most famous German monuments that have been destroyed. Therefore she holds great significance for our country’s cultural heritage and can be regarded as ‘national silverware’.
Like a mirror, the Garrison Church reflects the history of the past three centuries in many of its facets. Hardly any clerically coined place in Germany stands for the notions of rise and fall, of humanity’s great accomplishments and its extreme failures as strongly as this church. Therefore, no other place better serves the purpose of tracing back our history in order to analyse and learn from it, but also to accept and acknowledge it with all its catastrophes. It is an exceptional place for pupils of Berlin and Brandenburg to discover the interaction between knowledge of one’s local affairs and its world-historic context. In this church we shall all be able to educate our conscience.
The intention behind the Garrison Church’s reconstruction is to build a civilian church; to create a place for peace- and reconciliation work and for education. It shall be used as a symbolic church and a place for remembrance. In cooperation with partners from the areas of science, scholarship and culture we plan to examine, document and convey the various aspects of its manifold history. Countless memories and stories surround the Garrison Church – for the sake of future generations they need to be preserved in our collective cultural conscience.