When the rubble from the Second World War was cleared from the town centre of Anklam, the building where Lilienthal was born no longer existed, and the nearby ST Nicholas' church, in which he had been baptised, lay in ruins.
With its original spire height of 103 metres, the church was amongst the largest in the Hanse region. For centuries, the tower had acted as a sea navigation mark visible from far away, in the skyline of the town. On the last day of the war in Anklam, on the 29th April 1945, the church became the victim of shelling by the retreating German army. The church tower, in flames from the shelling, fell through the roof into the nave. From then the church was a ruin, unused for 50 years.
The history of the ST Nicholas‘ church:
Historical pictures and pictures of the reconstruction:
The rebuilding of the church is currently making great progress.
On 24th May 2011, the new roof of the church in its original form was consecrated.
In 2013-2014 the foundations were strengthened and the sacristy redeveloped.
Since 2015/16 the overall renovation of the building for the Ikareum - Lilienthal Flight Museum has been in progress with an investment of 24 million euros. This project includes the rebuilding of the church spire and the construction of a functional building.
Since 2016 the architectural firm of heneghan peng architects, selected via a Europe-wide tender, has been involved. The project for the exhibition design was won by the Berlin office of beier+wellach Projekte
Restoration is complete of the so-called Nicholas Window, donated by Paul Förster, the then technical director of the Pomeranian Sugar Factory in Anklam, and his wife Marie, “to the glory of God”. The original donation for the window took place in 1909, on the occasion of the completion of extensive reconstruction work in the church.
During the air attacks of the 8th US Air Force on the 9th October 1943, a large number of high explosive bombs fell in the vicinity of the St Nicholas church, the shock waves of which caused all the windows to be destroyed.
The restoration took place using a number of pictures and glass remains, at the initiative and expense of Dr Peter Eggert, Berlin.
Done by: Glasgestaltung Altlandsberg
A second, neighbouring, window was designed as a commemorative window.
The design by Jörg Breitsprecher, Anklam (1947 - 2011), commemorates the devastation of the town during the Second World War and the 60-year history of the church as a war ruin.
Its manufacture by the firm Glasgestaltung Altlandsberg took place with the financial participation of P Eggert.
The re-glazing of the choir of Lilienthal’s baptismal church was carried out on 2014 with the theme of ‘Lilienthal’. The magnificent, multicoloured apse windows decorated with Liliental motifs, designed by the Englishman Graham Jones, are an additional attraction in the church and is also a symbol for the progress of the overall project. The work was carried out by the Derix Glasstudio in Taunusstein.
The completion of the remaining windows was made possible through a campaign by the Friends of the church, with donors’ names being incorporated in "Goetheglas". Amongst the list of supporters are countless towns of the "Hansebundes der Neuzeit" (modern day Hanseatic towns), whose coats of arms decorate the window panels of the church.
Förderkreis Nikolaikirche Anklam e.V. demanded and supported the reconstruction of ST Nicholas' church since 1994.