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Windows smashed at renowned Bach church

January 1, 2020

Police are investigating after 25 panes of glass were smashed at a world-famous church in the eastern German city of Leipzig. Police are looking for a suspect, and the church pastor has her own suspicions.

St Thomas Church in Leipzig
Image: DW/G. Reucher

Police launched an investigation after windows were smashed at St Thomas Church in Leipzig, the burial place of composer Johann Sebastian Bach, on New Year's Eve.

Two stained-glass panels and more than 20 Art Nouveau panes were destroyed.

While it was unclear what the financial cost would be to the church, pastor Britta Taddiken said act of vandalism had caused "immense damage" because the panes were special productions.

During the attack, heavy stones were thrown into the building. "If there had been people inside, it would have been very dangerous," said Taddiken.

Police secured loose stones in the vicinity immediately afterwards, but no arrests were made near the scene.

Repeat attack?

However, Taddiken raised the possibility that a man who had already smashed two panes of glass at the church in the run-up to Christmas had returned. The individual had reported the damage he did to the police, having appeared a week earlier at the pastor's office. At that time, he had described himself as the "son of God."

"At first, we didn't consider him to be aggressive," Taddiken told the Leipziger Volkszeitung local newspaper. Police are still not believed to have apprehended the man in question.

Read more: Bachfest Leipzig: Exploring Bach's cantatas and other cycles

The church said the damaged stained-glass windows dated back to the 19th century, while the Art Nouveau ones were made at the start of the 20th century.

Bach was the cantor at Leipzig's St Thomas School — which still has a world famous boys' choir — in the 18th century.

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Richard Connor Reporting on stories from around the world, with a particular focus on Europe — especially Germany.