Dr. Mark Himmelein recently traveled to Dresden, Germany for the re-consecration of the Frauenkirche

April 06, 2010

Dr. Mark W. Himmelein, chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and associate professor of German at Mount Union College, recently traveled to Dresden, Germany for the re-consecration of the Frauenkirche, an 18th- century Lutheran church which once stood in Dresden.


Himmelein, who helped support the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche financially, has a brick named for him in the new church. As a member of the Friends of Dresden, a group of American donors, Himmelein's contribution was part of the nearly $150 million raised by private donors from across the globe.

Since 1977 when Himmelein first visited the city as a student he has had an interest in the history of Dresden. "I decided I wanted to live this historical moment, not just read about it in a book or watch it on TV, and I made my travel arrangements last March," said Himmelein.

In June Himmelein found out that there were 100 tickets reserved for American donors and requested one of the tickets. Himmelein, one of the 100 donors picked at random to attend the event said, "I was delighted to learn that I was fortunate to receive a ticket for both events."

From October 27 to November 3 Himmelein took part in the Frauenkirche's first ecumenical service since 1945 and the dedication of the Peace Bell, a 4,873-pipe organ.

For the service, which was held on October 30, the eve of the Feast of the Reformation, Himmelein sat in the center of the church, in the tenth row. For the organ dedication he sat in the first row of the balcony.

For this massive event, only 1,800 people were able to be inside the church, although the service was broadcast to an estimated 100,000 people on big screen televisions in the area surrounding the Frauenkirche.

"The entire experience was incredibly meaningful, both personally and professionally, and I know that it will be reflected in my teaching and in further research," said Himmelein.

Himmelein said that he has lectured on the topic of Dresden, its reconstruction and its role in the German peace movement several times over the past two decades and will continue to keep these topics in his German courses at Mount Union.

Currently Himmelein, along with his students, have begun working on a translation project related the rebuilding of the Berlin City Palace. "Perhaps some of my students and I will be able to visit Berlin for the opening ceremonies when the project is completed in 2015."

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