Sometimes I find that the past in Cologne can only be traced by faint outlines, and you need to know where to look for it. One example for this can be found in the quiet Bayenthal neighbourhood in the south of the city. At the Martin Luther House, the parish hall of the local community planned by architect Clemens Klotz and built by the Evangelical parish between 1933 and 1934, was a relief depicting Martin Luther on one side and an SA man (the street thugs of the Nazi party) and a swastika on the other, to symbolise the strong connection of the church with Hitler’s politics.
This side of the relief was chipped off in 1945, but the outline of the SA man has been preserved. In 1985 a memorial plaque was installed to commemorate the church’s involvement in the injustice of the Nazi regime. The inscription reads:
“Justice elevates a nation, but sin is the destruction of its people.”