American Hook Organ finds new Home in German Church

On my way to the America Memorial Library in Kreuzberg, I passed by a stunningly beautiful Gothic Revival style brick church with multiple svelte towers springing up into the sky: The Church of the Holy Cross.


According to the wishes of Emporer William I. of Prussia this monumental church was designed by Johannes Otzen, the son of an organist and village school teacher, and built from 1885 to 1888. Being too modest for the Emporer's taste, the unpretentious design priorly offered by architect Blankenstein had been rejected in favor of the four times as costly representative edifice. 

The church consists of a nave and a transept with a crossing tower which in about 20 meters height is topped by a dome.

World War II left the church in ruins after fire bombs had hit the building. In the years following 1945, pastor and parish were strongly opposed to governmental demolition plans and managed to enforce the building's reconstruction. The interior was kept much simpler from then on: The hitherto decorative brick work was plastered over, giving the space a somewhat sterile feeling.

In 1995 the structure was extensively renovated for prospective clerical and secular utilization. Apropos: As soon as I entered the churches vestibule, I was greeted by a vile stench and when I turned my head I saw a homeless man peacefully snoring in a corner surrounded by all his worldly possessions.

In 2001 the church received a unique instrument: The Organ op. 553 built in 1870 by Hook Bros., Boston. It is the only 19th-Century American organ in Germany. This gigantic instrument possesses 2370 pipes and is a genuine instrument of high romanticism.

Hook Organ
Church of the Holy Cross – Homepage

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