Wiesbaden, Germany
Church of St. Augustine
20 Wiesbaden, Germany - detail

“I went to Wiesbaden for the first time with an exploratory group picked by General Bradley who commanded the main American forces fighting against the Germans in April of 1945. We came into a city that had been one-third destroyed in a twenty-minute raid on the night of February 1st or 2nd. I went quickly to the English church to see if I could use it for our services. When I got there I asked an engineer to come and see it with me. He told me, ‘Chaplain, put your helmet back on your head.’ We’d taken them off because it was a church. And, he said, ‘the roof may fall on top of us any minute.’

“Many chairs had been piled around the altar and there had been some inner destruction, I was told, by elements of the Hitler youth who were angry at the enemy forces that had been bombing their city. But I picked up these shards of glass from the floor of the church.

“I wasn’t able to use the church at all. Instead, I took over the big casino they had there and used that. I held my services in a reading room where I had a great deal of unwanted competition because on the ceiling of the library there were undressed copies of Grecian goddesses. It’s not easy to talk to a congregation when they look up… and that was funny.”

Story and Shards Artist Statement Specifications