Something Old, Something New…

Heilbronn was desolate and almost deserted. It had been a railroad center of strategic importance and its chemical and other industrial plants had been expanded during recent years. Tens of thousands of German citizens had been killed in a twenty-eight-minute raid by our bombers and in the later artillery bombardments. The stench of unburied dead filled the town. The highest tower of the church of St. Killian had been used for German machine gun nests built into concrete reinforced cubicles. It was as battered as most of the other solidly built stone structures that had once been Heilbronn’s glory. (J. Rorimer,138)


Church of St. Killian 1933-1944 (J. Rorimer, 178-179)

This morning I departed from Füssen, traveling on three trains eventually reaching the city of Heilbronn. Thankfully, it was not desolate nor deserted. After checking into my hotel, I headed for the church of St. Killian, just a 5-minute walk away. For most of the trip, I have been studying the striking before and after photos in my grandfather’s book (above), and I wanted to see for myself how much the church had changed since its bombardment on December 4th,1944.

I conduced a thorough inspection, both inside and out, as well as from above and below, studying the book as I went, looking for details of original stonework, and imagining myself in my grandfather’s shoes. Here’s what I discovered:

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8 thoughts on “Something Old, Something New…

  1. I have been reading some of your blogs out loud to my husband Richard. Tears have come to my eyes as you make the scenes past and present so vivid. Thank you for sharing all of this. Althea

  2. Dear Monuments girl, as I child I lived on Kirchbrunnenstrasse from 1963 to possibly 1970. The stonemasons were like bees in those years making exact copies to rebuild this amazing cathedral. People would come to the healing fountain to get their weekly bottle of Heilwasser. My mother had many of the original stone work in our home until she passed away in 2010. I walked everyday past the Kilians Cathedral and also past the St. Peter Cathedral through the Deutschhof. They are wonderful memories for me. The Kugler Toy store, the Hoyler Bakery, the vegetable store and the butcher shop. If you looked long enough into the store you could glean a piece of coldcut, a broken cookie or a small apple. Great memories. Thank you for bringing them back.

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