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No matter how anti-religion the GDR government was, the Zionskirche community stayed strong. Believers and non-believers came together at this Prenzlauer Berg church.

verzetskerk prenzlauerberg


 Peaceful demonstrations at the Zionskirche

Not to say prayers, but to organize peaceful demonstrations against the GDR government. What started small in this church, at 1986 spread quickly, ending up in the mass demonstrations in the hot autumn of 1989.

Most well known were the phamplets that were printed at the Church, the so called Umwelt-blatter, named after the cellar Umwelt, at the Zionskirch. As well as the peacefull, silent demonstrations that were organized in the Zionskirche. Priest Hans Simon opened up the doors for those who were not happy about the political situation in the GDR, no matter if they were religious or not. In his church they could oppose the GDR government in a peaceful way. At the Zionskirche peope could sing and perform as well. Punkbands that were heavily opposed by the GDR government could play at this church as well.

prenzlauerberg berlin

Skinheads attacking Zionskirche

But not everybody was peaceful. In 1987 the two thousand visitors of the church were attacked by skinheads. The DDR punkband Die Firma had just finished performing, and the audience was just going wild on the tunes of the West Berlin band Element of Crime, when the skinheads entered the church. They started beating up the audience. Some people got badly hit. The Volkspolizei, the GDR police, saw what was happening, but they didn’t interfer.

This happened more often. Allthough the GDR government stated they were very much against skinheads and neo-nazi elements, they looked the other way when skinheads and neo-nazi’s beat up people like punks, because they considered the punk groups enemies of the state. But after the people in the Zionskirche were attacked, many people protested. Not only in West Berlin, but even in the GDR official newspapers. The GDR government made quite a showprocess of the conviction of the skinheads.

The Zionskirche community didn’t give up on their peaceful demonstrations. They kept on going until the Berlin Wall fell, on November 9, 1989.

More Berlin Churches:

kaiserwilhelmgedachtniskircheKaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche

The Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche is the symbol of the destruction of World War Two. Berlin was severely hit by bombs during the Second World War. The people of Berlin quickly started rebuilding their city, but the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche remained nearly the way it was when it was hit by a bomb. If you see how it is damaged, it is clear how devastating war is.

Dom BerlinBerliner Dom

There is no better place to sing hallelujah than at the Berliner Dom. This large church close to Unter den Linden is Berlin’s most prominent church. If you think Germans are modest people that are greatly influenced by the protestant belief, think again. This church has many colorful details. Berliner Dom used to be a catholic church. Until reformist Martin Luther came along.

nikolaikirche berlinNikolaikirche

The Nikolaikirche is one of the oldest churches of Berlin. When you stand in front of the Nikolaikirche, you can easily spot this yourself. The church has different stones with different colors, like the builders couldn’t make up their mind or argued what stones they should use. The result is fascinating, with the two sharp towers that pinch the Berlin sky.


The Versohnungskirche in Berlin district Prenzlauer Berg was directly in the kill zone of the Berlin Wall. No matter how religious the inhabitants of the nearby Bernauer Strasse were, they could no longer pray for the Berlin Wall to go away in their district church.


Marienkirche BerlinMarien Kirche

Berlin Alexanderplatz has a lot to offer for people interested in churches. The nearby Marien kirche is a place to be if you are into old places of god. The church, built in 1292 has a very interesting and weird fresco. Disintegrated bodies that look like E.T dance with men in colorful robes on the walls of this Berlin church. The skulls on the old graves chew on their own bones.


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