23 May, 2012

23 May 1945

No letter today. Just this:

The following are photos taken and postcards collected
by Greg while in Leipzig in May.

Leipzig - "Modern German Transport"
May 1945

Leipzig - "Old War Memorial"
May 1945

Leipzig - "University"
May 1945

Leipzig - Opera House - Postcard
May 1945

Leipzig - Central Railway Station
"The station doesn't look like this now.
It was formerly the largest in Europe."
May 1945

Leipzig - Sights
Marketplace and Old City Hall  "Partly Kaput"
New City Hall  "Kaput"
University & Church of St. Paul  "Mostly Kaput"
Memorial to the Battle of the Nations  "Not Kaput"
May 1945

Leipzig - University & Church of St. Paul - Postcard
"Most of the University is kaput also."
May 1945

Leipzig - Opera House and High Rise - Postcard
"This section not wrecked and looks exactly as in the card.
Figures on top of the building to the left are
two little men with big bell between them.
They strike it on the half hour."
May 1945

Leipzig - Alexander Street
"But it could be Aachen, Koln, Bonn, etc.
There's one in every big city."
May 1945


about Leipzig University's Church of St. Paul 

The Paulinerkirche was a church on the Augustusplatz in Leipzig, named after the "Pauliner", its original Dominican friars. It was built in 1231 as the Klosterkirche St. Pauli for the Dominican monastery in Leipzig. From the foundation of the University of Leipzig in 1409, it served as the university church. After the Protestant Reformation it was donated to the university and was inaugurated in 1545 by Martin Luther as the Universitätskirche St. Pauli (University Church of St Paul), later also called Unikirche.

Johann Sebastian Bach was director of music from 1723 to 1725. Felix Mendelssohn conducted his oratorio on the church's patron saint, Paulus, in the first performance in Leipzig on 16 March 1837. In 1907 Max Reger was appointed music director of the university.

By the end of WWII, 60 per cent of the University of Leipzig's buildings and 70 per cent of its books had been destroyed. But the church survived the war practically unscathed. In 1953 the University was renamed by the German Democratic Republic government and became Karl-Marx-University, Leipzig. On 4 April 1968 the Choir of the university performed Bach's St Matthew Passion, conducted by Hans-Joachim Rotzsch. On 30 May 1968, during the communist regime, and after a decision by the SED (East German Communist Party)-led city administration and the university administration, the church was dynamited to make way for a redevelopment of the university, carried out between 1973 and 1978. Protestors against the blasting operation were arrested.

After reunification in 1991, the old name was revived and once again it was the University of Leipzig. A plaque at the site of the former church was unveiled on 30 May 1993. An A-frame sculpture in the dimensions and at the location of the former facade at the Augustusplatz was a memorial. The Paulineraltar, the Gothic altar, was rescued and was temporarily installed at the Thomaskirche.

The new buildings at the University's main campus are inspired by the form and shape of the old church. The newly built heart of the university includes a room for common prayer and regular religious services situated exactly at the place of the former church. The first service in the new church was held on 6 December 2009.

University of Leipzig's Main Building on old church site, 2012.

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