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Photographs of Gnadenthau

 

The Church

Home church of the Gnadenthau Evangelical Lutheran Parish for the villages:  Wiesenmüller, Gnadenthau, Friedenberg, Blumenfeldt, Morgentau, Kana, Strassburg, Frankreich, Weimar and Neu-Galka.

 

 

I visited Gnadenthau in 1993.  We'd already spent days in other villages where none of the churches were intact and some completely gone.  On the way to Gnadenthau we stopped for directions and towards the end of the spiel, the fellow said "You'll see the church steeple."  You can imagine our shock and excitement.  Later, in the village, residents told us that "they" had tried to destroy it with bulldozers, but it would not come down.

In 1993 it was being used as a barn for cattle, as well as grain storage.  Since that time restoration began and today church services are once again being held in the church.

~Sue Kottwitz

Click on each thumbnail below to see the photograph full size.

 

 

 

 

  

     

     
All of the above photos - the church at Gnadenthau    

 
Photo 1 - Standing in front of the church looking to the left

Photo 2 - Standing in front of the church looking to the right

Photo 3 - View directly in front of the church

   

As you can see from these photographs, the church is at a crossroads and the roads are dirt. There are no longer many homes in this village. We saw no sign of a store or other public buildings. There was an attempt by the Soviet government to tear down the church with bulldozers, but she would not come down. Subsequently, the church has been used as a grainery and livestock barn. Murals are still visible inside; ornate wooden galleries still stand but are not in good repair. The iron Lutheran cross is still on top of the steeple. Current Gnadenthau residents indicated that the cemetery still retains German gravestones. It is on the outskirts of the village. These photos were taken in 1993.

 

 The photos below are of the church interior.  1993.  Courtesy of Bill Wiest.  That is Sue Kottwitz, your webmistress, in the last photo.  My great grandfather built the steeple of this church and my family members were married here as well.  It was a powerful moment to stand in the sanctuary, no matter the condition.   The architecture and woodworking is simply fabulous.  Click on each thumbnail to see the photo graph full size.

 

 

The church in better days (below)

Photographs of the Village in 1993:

 

Photo 1 - New road being built connecting Wiesenmuller, Friedenberg, and Gnadenthau

Photo 2 - Entering Gnadenthau

Photo 3 - German home

Photo 4 - German back courtyard.  Note the bicycles for transportation and the water pump.

Photo 5 - German outbuildings

Photo 6 - German summer kitchen

 

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