The village church

What are we, really? What do we have on this earth that has not been provided by you alone, oh Father?
Paul Gerhardt (1607–1675), Protestant theologian

Tunnelstraße 5–11

The Stralau village church, dedicated in 1464, is the oldest building in the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. After five years of construction on the cemetery, established in 1412, the church was complete. Church and cemetery are the only visible remnants of the former fishing village.


The church became Protestant in 1539 in the course of the Reformation in Brandenburg. The few remaining Stralau Catholics belonged to the Church of Our Lady or the Liebfrauenkirche congregation (today: St. Marien-Liebfrauen) in Kreuzberg’s Wrangelstraße.

The late-Gothic structure of the Stralau town church features a single nave with a ribbed, vaulted ceiling. The baptismal font, the stained glass of both choir windows, and the four corbels in support of the archway stem from the church’s early days. The original wooden bell tower was replaced in 1823/24 by a brick spire, designed by city councilman Friedrich Wilhelm Langerhans (1780–1851) of the planning and construction commission. The nave was partially destroyed in the bombings of the Second World War but was reconstructed and rededicated in 1949. The church’s tower, restored in the 1930s, began to tilt decades ago and is now at a slant greater than the Tower of Pisa.

At the beginning, pastors came to minister in Stralau from various churches in Berlin. Only in 1909 did the town receive its own rectorate. The Stralau congregation’s first pastor was Robert Zastrow (1877–1932), who remained in Stralau until his death. His successor, Franz Kirchmann (1898–1945), member of the Confessional Church, took the job in 1933 right at the start of the Nazi regime. The Stralau town church was part of a minority who opposed the Nazis’ co-optation of religion and the Church. Even in the Stralau town council, the majority belonged to the Nazi-aligned German Christians and mobilized against their own pastor. Stralau remained an independent congregation until 1977. Today, the town church belongs to the Protestant congregation of Boxhagen-Stralau. From 2012 to 2014 the congregation, together with the local organization Förderverein Stralauer Dorfkirche e. V., restored the Stralau village church.

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