Sophienkirche

:"For the Sophienkirche in Berlin, see Sophienkirche (Berlin)."The Sophienkirche ( Saint Sophia's Church), Dresden stood on the northeast corner of the Postplatzes, post office, Plaza in Dresden's old town, before its destruction by the allied bombing raids on February 13th 1945. It was the only Gothic Church in the city.

History

In 1250 the The Order of Friars Minor, Franciscans, built a monastery and small church at the location of the future Sophienkirche. Starting in 1331 the original structure was demolished and a larger church started construction with two identical choir areas included. At the southeast corner of the new church, a private chapel was built by the founding family Busmann around 1400 to which the Dresden Mayor, at the time, Lorenz Busmann was a member and also later buried there.

After the Reformation, the Sophienkirche stood empty for decades before for it was revived in 1610 and reopened by Sophie von Brandenburg as a Lutheran church. Starting in 1737 it served as a Evangelist Church.

ilbermann Pipe Organ & Bach

Between the years 1718 to 1720 famed pipe organ maker Gottfried Silbermann installed one of only 50 manufactured Silbermann Pipe Organs, known for their clear Meantone temperament, into the Sophienkirche.

Bach's Kyrie and Gloria were composed in 1733, the former as a lament for the decease of Elector Augustus the Strong (who had died on 1 Feb 1733) and the latter to celebrate the accession of his successor the Saxon Elector and later Polish King Augustus III of Poland, who converted to Catholicism in order to ascend the throne of Poland. Bach presented these as a Missa with a set of parts (Kyrie plus Gloria, BWV 232a) to Augustus with a note dates 27th July 1733, in the hope of obtaining the title, "Electoral Saxon Court Composer", complaining that he had "innocently suffered one injury or another" in Leipzig. [An English translation of the letter is given in Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, "The Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents", W. W. Norton & Company, 1945, p. 128. (Also in "The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents" revised by Christoph Wolff, W. W. Norton & Co Inc, 1998, ISBN 9780393045581 , p. 158.)] They were performed in 1733, most likely at the Sophienkirche in Dresden, where Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Johann Sebastian Bach son, had been organist since June, [The details added in this section are from Christoph Wolff "Bach", III, 7 (§8), "Grove Music Online" ed., L. Macy. http://www.grovemusic.com/ . Last accessed August 9, 2007.] though not in the presence of their dedicatees. However in 1734, Bach performed a secular cantata "dramma per musica" in honour of Augustus in the presence of the King and Queen whose first movement was the same music as the "Osanna" ["The Bach Reader", p. 132.]

February 13, 1945

The bombing of Dresden by the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and United States Army Air Force (USAAF) between February 13 and February 15, 1945, 12 weeks before the surrender of the German "Wehrmacht", remains one of the most controversial Allied actions of the Second World War. The raids saw 1,300 heavy bombers drop over 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices in under 15 hours, destroying convert|13|sqmi|km2 of the city, the baroque capital of the German state of Saxony, and causing a firestorm that consumed the city centre. [
* [http://www.spiegel.de/flash/0,5532,10589,00.html Aerial views of the damage] , "Der Spiegel", retrieved January 10, 2008.
*The number of bombers and tonnage bombs in the lead are taken from a USAF document written in 1953 and classified secret until 1978: Angell, Joseph W. [http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/PopTopics/dresden.htm "Historical Analysis of the 14-15 February 1945 Bombings of Dresden"] , USAF Historical Division Research Studies Institute Air University, 1953, retrieved January 7, 2008. Also see Taylor, Frederick. "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945", 2005, front flap, which gives the figures 1,100 heavy bombers and 4,500 tons.
*Burleigh, Michael. [http://books.guardian.co.uk/reviews/history/0,6121,1142632,00.html "Mission accomplished"] , "The Guardian", February 7, 2004.
*Addison, Paul. "Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden", pp. 74.
*Bomber Command Arthur Harris's report, [http://www.learningcurve.gov.uk/heroesvillains/g1/cs3/g1cs3s1.htm "Extract from the official account of Bomber Command by Arthur Harris, 1945"] , National Archives, Catalogue ref: AIR 16/487, which says that convert|1600|acre|km2 were destroyed.
] Estimates of civilian casualties vary greatly, but recent publications place the figure between 24,000 and 40,000. [The consensus among historians is that the number killed was between slightly under 25,000 to a few thousand over 35,0000. See
*Evans, Richard J. [http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.org/trial/defense/evans/520di#evans_520di7p512n52 "David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition"] , [(i) Introduction.
*Addison, Paul. "Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden", p. 75.
*Taylor, Frederick. "Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945", p. 580.
* All three historians, Addison, Evans and Taylor, refer to:
**Bergander, Götz. "Dresden im Luftkrieg: Vorgeschichte-Zerstörung-Folgen". Munich: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1977, who estimated a few thousand over 35,000.
**Reichert, Friedrich. "Verbrannt bis zur Unkenntlichkeit," in Dresden City Museum (ed.). "Verbrannt bis zur Unkenntlichkeit. Die Zerstörung Dresdens 1945". Altenburg, 1994, pp. 40-62, p. 58. Richard Evans regards Reichert's figures as definitive. [http://www.holocaustdenialontrial.org/trial/defense/evans/520di#evans_520di7p512n52] . For comparison, the March 9-10, 1945 Tokyo raid by the USAAF, the most destructive firebombing raid in WWII, Fact|date=January 2008 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed, and over 83,000 people are estimated to have died in the firestorm. [http://www.usaaf.net/ww2/hittinghome/hittinghomepg9.htm]
] Destroyed in the bombing were the Sophienkirche, along with many other historical buildings. The Sophienkirche was gutted by the fire which resulted from the bombing, including the Silbermann Pipe Organ. However, the ceiling and walls remained intact until 1946, when the weight of the vaulted ceiling, with out the reinforcement of the internal support columns, which were destroyed by the fire, collapsed leaving only the south spires standing until their intentional destruction in 1950.

Aftermath

Gradually the ruins around the destroyed church were cleared. A reconstruction would have been quite possible, however the SED, which was in charge of the reconstruction of Dresden starting in 1950, doomed the church with a comment by Walter Ulbricht, the party chief of the SED, : "…a socialist city does not need gothic churches".

Despite large protests by Dresden monument conservators, architects and citizens, the remains of the church were destroyed in 1962 on resolution of the party and government of the GDR, German Democratic Republic.

On May 1, 1963 the last parts of the oldest Dresden town church disappeared -- up to a partial destroyed sandstone framework of a church windows, which were stored in the catacombs under the Brühl's Terrace.

References

Notes

#^ Wolff, Christoph (2000). Johann Sebastian Bach: The Learned Musician. W.W. Norton, pp.41-43. ISBN 0-393-04825-X.
#^ Carolina Classical Connection (1997–2005). J. S. Bach Biography: Muhlhausen. Retrieved April 27, 2005. "Bach's maternal uncle, died at Erfurt, bequeathing to his nephew a sum of 50 gulden. This inheritance ... [made] it possible for Bach to propose and subsequently to marry his second cousin from Arnstadt, Maria Barbara Bach... The wedding took place on October 17 in the village church at Dornheim, near Arnstadt."
#^ The Face Of Bach-The Portrait in Erfurt Alleged to Depict Bach, the Weimar
#^ The consensus among historians is that the number killed was between slightly under 25,000 to a few thousand over 35,0000. See Evans, Richard J. David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition, [(i) Introduction. :::*Addison, Paul. Firestorm: The bombing of Dresden, p. 75. :::*Taylor, Frederick. Dresden: Tuesday, February 13, 1945, p. 580. :::*All three historians, Addison, Evans and Taylor, refer to: ::::Bergander, Götz. Dresden im Luftkrieg: Vorgeschichte-Zerstörung-Folgen. Munich: Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, 1977, who estimated a few thousand over 35,000. ::::Reichert, Friedrich. "Verbrannt bis zur Unkenntlichkeit," in Dresden City Museum (ed.). Verbrannt bis zur Unkenntlichkeit. Die Zerstörung Dresdens 1945. Altenburg, 1994, pp. 40-62, p. 58. Richard Evans regards Reichert's figures as definitive. [4] . For comparison, the March 9-10, 1945 Tokyo raid by the USAAF, the most destructive firebombing raid in WWII, [citation needed] 16 square miles (41 km²) of the city were destroyed, and over 83,000 people are estimated to have died in the firestorm.


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