The Dresden Trust has recently been formed in Britain to support the Society for the Rebuilding of the Frauenkirche in Dresden, which plans to rebuild the church, destroyed by Allied bombing in February 1945. The society - which has so far raised about 3 million deutschmarks of its estimated required total of DM160 million ( pounds 64m) - plans to begin the rebuilding this summer.
Under the influence of the Elector Augustus II the Strong (1694-1733), who determined to make Dresden a centre of art and culture, the city became one of the most beautiful in Germany. Designed by the architect George Bahr, the Frauenkirche was built entirely of stone between 1726 and 1743, as an important symbol of German protestantism and a significant landmark on the city's skyline. Its acoustic was considered excellent and many musicians, including JS Bach, performed there.
The bombing in 1945 destroyed six square miles of the city and killed many thousands of people. The church's dome, weakened by fire, collapsed two days later. Since then, even though the rebuilding has been planned since the end of the Second World War, only two sections of wall and a pile of rubble have remained as a reminder of the devastation and destructiveness of war.
The church will be rebuilt exactly to its original form, using historic building techniques, most of the original stones and other fragments, as well as sandstone from the Elbe valley. All the Baroque interior furnishings, including the organ, will be restored. So far the church's ruins have been stabilised and the stones are being catalogued for re-use. The Dresden Trust hopes to give money towards a window - costing about pounds 100,000 - or another part of the building, depending on how much it raises; it sees the British contribution as one of reconciliation and
For further information, contact: The Dresden Trust, St Nicholas, Church Road, Angmering, West Sussex BN16 4JP, telephone 0903 850930 or 081-348 8198.
Illustration: Hulton Deutsch