It was carved by German sculptor Helmut Heinze who was raised in the city of Dresden and was very much aware of the bombing of that city, especially the controversial and devastating British-American bombardment in 1945.
Heinze was professor for plastic arts at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts until he retired in 1997. He then began work on this sculpture which he called the Choir of Survivors. It depicts seven figures and, like all his works, is characterised by a reduction in substance and sparseness in design language.
When it was finished it was donated to Coventry Cathedral by the Frauenkirke Foundation of Dresden and installed in the ruins as a sign of reconciliation.
It was unveiled by the Bishop of Saxony in 2012. This was one of the 50th anniversary events which commemorated the work of the Peace and Reconciliation Ministry of Coventry Cathedral. These also looked towards the future as the ruins were rededicated to be a permanent memorial to civilians killed, injured or traumatised by war and violent conflict. Canon Director for Peace and Reconciliation, David Porter, commented: ‘Reconciliation can be said to have truly happened when we are able to memorialise the suffering of our enemies’.
It was the first permanent memorial to German civilians within the grounds of the Cathedral. Previously a Memorial to Civilians Killed in War had been placed outside the Cathedral ruins and you will meet them next as you follow this Peace Trail.
A PDF of “A Framework for Remembrance” elaborated by citizens of Dresden is available here.