Bartning emergency church

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Johanniskirche in Rostock shortly after its completion in 1952
Luther Church in Mainz
St. Petri Church in Hanover-Döhren
The Resurrection Church in Pforzheim
Martin Luther Church in Würzburg
Lukas Church in Worms

The Bartning-Notkirchen were a church building program of the Evangelical Relief Organization, which was developed by the architect Otto Bartning after the end of the Second World War in order to address the shortage of worship rooms, which had arisen due to the destruction of many churches and the influx of refugees, with quick and simple means to eliminate.

Why Not Churches?

“In November 1947, when I was in Berlin, I received a telephone message: The“ World Council of Churches in Geneva ”,“ Lutheran World Federation ”,“ Evangelical and Reformed Church ”,“ Presbyterian Church ”and“ Swiss Aid Organization ”have 40 emergency churches, 40 times $ 10,000 donated.

Great fulfillment! … Those who reported the news to me probably expected me to cheer out loud. And I actually thought I had to do it myself. But I fell silent, went out into the street and wandered for hours through the rubble fields, like a man possessed, like a convict. … Will there be 40, oh no: will there be 10 or only 5 such emergency communities? If not, I will and must put the wonderful commission back into the hands of the generous donors. ... And so I began to drive from building site to building site, checking the building sites, the material and the funds - and the willingness of the communities. Also the condition of the ruins, because often the elements of the emergency church can be inserted strangely. ... That's why we build emergency churches. "

- Otto Bartning : Why Notkirchen?

At the same time, Bartning-Notkirchen were by no means considered provisional from the start. In some cases, monument protection authorities prevented the planned demolition of an emergency church and the construction of a replacement building.


Bartning, who was able to draw on his experience, among other things, in building the steel church at the Pressa exhibition in Cologne (1928), developed a lightweight model room from prefabricated, standardized individual parts. The emergency churches, for which Bartning went back to the design of the unrealized star church from 1922, are characterized by the ribbon of windows in the upper storey and the nave reminiscent of a ship's belly. Thanks to the prefabricated components and the cooperation of the community, the construction of a Bartning church only cost about half of what would have been estimated for a church in solid construction. There was room for between 350 and 500 worshipers in the churches. A sacristy and a separable parish room under the gallery were usually integrated.

The wood required for the tent-shaped structure, fixtures and stalls was mostly donated by communities in Scandinavia or the USA. This load-bearing frame made of seven wooden three-hinged trusses was erected in just a few days on the foundation that the community had built. The community organized the rest of the construction itself. The basic model could easily be varied to suit local needs. The remains of war-torn churches could also be integrated. Rubble stones could even be used for the non-load-bearing walls. The tower was usually attached to the side of the symmetrical west facade.

The planning provided for two types of church buildings:

  • Type A with a pointed barrel vault and masonry chancel, which Bartning developed on the basis of a design by the Swiss engineer Emil Staudacher , was only built once in its original form due to the more complex roof construction with the Bethanienkirche in Frankfurt am Main .
  • Type B, a "hall church with a gable roof", was designed with three different choir closings:
    • with a polygonal chancel
    • with a walled-in chancel
    • without a separate sanctuary

Originally 48 church buildings were planned, 3 of the type A and 45 of the type B, of which 43, 2 emergency churches of the type A, in addition to the Frankfurt Bethanienkirche in a modified form, the Swiss church in Emden , and 41 of the type B, were realized. Two type B churches were later relocated. Two type B churches (Aachen and Düsseldorf) were demolished, only the trusses of the emergency church in Hanover List were reused in another church. A third type C was not implemented.

A series of community centers and diaspora chapels were later set up as part of an independent follow-up program to the emergency churches . The community centers were also referred to as type D emergency churches.

Type A and B emergency churches

Emergency churches type D

  • Delbrück: Former Segenskirche (1949, prototype of type D, initially built in Heidelberg and then moved to Delbrück, later including a discotheque)
  • Peiting- Herzogsägmühle (1949, preserved)
  • Rheinbach (1949, demolished after 1969)
  • Königswinter-Oberpleis (1949, largely preserved)
  • Bawinkel, Petruskirche (1950, largely preserved)
  • Neufahrn in Niederbayern, Friedenskirche (1950, largely preserved)
  • Wertingen , Bethlehem Church (1950, demolished 2006)
  • Steinfeld (Oldenburg) (1950, moved to Ahlhorn in 1979, now: St. Petri to the fish ponds)
  • Neuenkirchen-Wettringen, Friedenskirche (1950, largely preserved)
  • Sögel, Markuskirche (1950, largely preserved)
  • Geeste-Dalum (Lower Saxony) (1950, largely preserved)
  • Emstek (1950, demolished 1971)
  • Garrel (1950, moved in place in 2009, largely preserved)
  • Neuenhaus (Dinkel), St. John's Church (1950, largely preserved)
  • Viechtach (1950, exemplarily preserved)
  • Algermissen (1950, largely preserved)
  • Nürnberg-Schafhof, Gnadenkapelle (1951, largely preserved)
  • Neuss-Reuschenberg, Old Church of the Redeemer (1951, today the parish hall)
  • Overath, Church of Reconciliation (1951, largely preserved, since 2018 in the Kommern Open-Air Museum )
  • Nordhorn, Martin Luther House (1951, largely preserved)
  • Bakum (Vechta district), Gethsemane Church (1951, largely preserved)

Type diaspora chapel

  • Ludwigshafen (Bodensee) (1950, later moved to Billigheim (Baden), preserved)
  • Neusorg, Christ Church (1950, preserved)
  • Billerbeck, Chapel of the Good Shepherd (demolished 1950, 1973 or 1975)
  • Sundern, Lukaskirche (1950, preserved)
  • Erfurt, Cyriakkapelle (1950, preserved)
  • Ascheberg, Gnadenkapelle (1950, preserved)
  • Erolzheim, Diaspora Chapel (1951, preserved)
  • Werlte, Lukaskirche (1951, preserved)
  • Voltlage (1951, converted in 1970 as St. Thomas Chapel to Bramsche-Lappenstuhl, preserved)
  • Pocking, Kreuzkirche (1951, preserved and entered in the list of monuments)
  • Kevelaer, Martin Luther Chapel (1951, built in 1962, demolished in 2007)
  • Berlin-Wedding, chapel Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof II, previously chapel of the Dankeskirchengemeinde (1951, preserved)
  • Neubrandenburg, St. Michael Church (1951, preserved)
  • Bilshausen, Pauluskirche (1951, preserved)
  • Giesen-Ahrbergen, Friedenskapelle (1951, burnt down in 1981)
  • Hoyerswerda, Lutherhaus (1951, preserved)
  • Gerzen, Church of the Redeemer (1951, preserved)
  • Lodenau, Gustav-Adolf-Kirche (1951, preserved)
  • Birkenheide, Lukaskirche (1951, preserved)
  • Gummersbach-Berghausen, Protestant Church (1951, preserved)
  • Heitersheim, former Protestant church (1951, converted into a residential building around 1971)
  • Breisach, Diaspora Chapel (1951, replaced by a new building from 1967)
  • Grevenbroich (Gustorf-Gindorf), Markuskirche (1951, preserved)
  • Dachau, now Golgothakirche Munich-Ludwigsfeld (1952, implemented in 1967, now Georgian Orthodox Church)
  • Elzach, Johanneskirche (1952, preserved)
  • Donzdorf, former Protestant church (1952, profaned in 1979)
  • Wachtendonk, Notkirche (1952, given away after 1985 and inaugurated as the Catholic Lioba chapel in Hagen-Haspe, preserved)
  • Neumarkt-St. Veit, Friedenskirche (1952, preserved)
  • Gescher, Gnadenkirche (1952, preserved)
  • Emsbüren-Leschede, Church of the Redeemer (1952, preserved)
  • Stadtallendorf, Notkirche (1952, preserved, parish hall since 1960)
  • Visbek, diaspora chapel (1953, moved to Sudargas / Lithuania around 1997 : Emmauskirche , preserved)

Special types

  • Johanngeorgenstadt, type house of the church (1951, modified)
  • Schlema, type house of the church (1952, moved to Schneeberg and later to Aue)
  • Haselünne, Trinity Church, extension (1951, preserved)
  • Zarnekow, parish hall (1951, substantially changed)
  • Sassnitz (Rügen), Söderblomhaus (1952, preserved)

Emergency churches are to become world cultural heritage

The Otto Bartning working group church, the EU project "Otto Bartning in Europe", the Otto Bartning archive at the Technical University of Darmstadt request, the Center for quality development in the service of the EKD and local initiatives that emergency churches for World Heritage Site to appoint. This requirement has in 2017 u. a. the Johanneskirche in Leverkusen (type B with extension) is connected.

"The so-called emergency churches built between 1947 and 1953 by the architect and former Bauhaus director Otto Bartning" are outstanding building testimonies to architectural history and, as a whole, formed a unique sacred and cultural-historical monument. ""

- Otto Bartning-Arbeitsgemeinschaft : Evangelische Zeitung, September 30, 2012, p. 39 N


  • Otto Bartning: The 48 emergency churches. (Design and management: Aid Organization of the Protestant Churches in Germany, Neckarsteinach Building Department) , Schneider Heidelberg 1949
  • Chris Gerbing: The Resurrection Church in Pforzheim (1945-1948). Otto Bartnings church building in the field of tension between modernity and traditionalism. Schnell & Steiner, Regensburg 2001, ISBN 3-7954-1428-8
  • Christoph Schneider: Otto Bartning's emergency church program. (Edition Wissenschaft, Vol. 7, Series Art History), Tectum Verlag, Marburg 1997, ISBN 3-8288-0089-0
  • Svenja Schrickel: Otto Bartning's Notkirchen - a serial church building production of the post-war period. Traditional signs of a new beginning after the Second World War. In: Preservation of monuments in Baden-Württemberg , Esslingen am Neckar 34 (2005), no. 4, pp. 201–213, ISSN  0342-0027
  • Michael Flock: Otto Bartning's emergency church building . 2008 (PDF; 1.7 MB, accessed March 2, 2020)
  • Julia Ricker: Spirituality in Series. Otto Bartning and his churches. In: Monuments edition 2/2016, ISSN  0941-7125 , Bonn 2016, pp. 66–73, online .
  • Werner Durth , Wolfgang Pehnt, Sandra Wagner-Conzelmann: Otto Bartning, Architect of a Social Modernism , Justus von Liebig Verlag, Darmstadt 2017, ISBN 978-3-87390-393-7 .
  • Jörg Rehm, Sabrina Kronthale: Sacred building in times of shortage - Otto Bartning's emergency church building program . Munich 2019 (pdf, accessed March 2, 2020)

Web links

Commons : Notkirchen  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Bartning.Bartning.Bartning. Modernist architect - LVR-Freilichtmuseum Kommern. Retrieved January 7, 2020 .
  2. Sigrid Hoff: A modern church father. Otto Bartning was a pioneer of the Bauhaus movement and was heavily involved in church building . In: Christ in der Gegenwart , vol. 69 (2017), p. 183.
  3. Otto Bartning: Why Notkirchen? Retrieved March 23, 2015 .
  4. a b Julia Ricker: Otto Bartning and his churches: Spirituality in series . Monuments. Magazine for monument culture in Germany . Edition April 2016
  5. Otto-Bartning-Abrbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchenbau eV (OBAK): Friedenskirche Garrel . OBAK database
  6. Jörg Rehm, Sabrina Kronthale: Sacred building in times of want - Otto Bartnings emergency church building program . Munich 2019, p. 18
  7. Jörg Rehm, Sabrina Kronthale: Sacred building in times of want - Otto Bartnings emergency church building program . Munich 2019, p. 20
  8. Bethanienkirche
  9. Jörg Rehm, Sabrina Kronthale: Sacred building in times of want - Otto Bartnings emergency church building program . Munich 2019, p. 22
  10. Bartnings sacral and sepulchral work systematically based on construction times with a complete directory of the emergency churches , accessed on October 2, 2012
  11. ^ The church buildings Bartnings on the website of the Otto Bartning-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchenbau e. V. (OBAK) .
  12. Bremen Evangelical Church - Ev. Community of Gröpelingen and Oslebshausen In: , accessed on March 9, 2018.
  13. Weser-Kurier April 4, 2015, p. 23; also on the World Heritage Initiative
  14. ^ Community history «St. Martinus-Eppendorf In: , accessed on March 9, 2018.
  15. Karin Berkemann : “Tomorrow's architecture!” Hamburg's post-war churches . Ed .: Monument Protection Office Hamburg. Dölling and Galitz Verlag , Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-937904-60-3 , p. 47 .
  16. Historisches In: , accessed on March 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Reconstruction of the St. Leonhard Church in 1958 In: , accessed on March 9, 2018.
  18. ^ History of the Ludwig Hofacker Community , accessed on April 11, 2019.
  19. In the same breath as the "Akropolis" mentioned - "Notkirchen" are to become world cultural heritage - working group in Dalum supports the initiative , in: Evangelische Zeitung, Zwischen Weser & Ems, September 30, 2012, p. 39 N