时差N小时:抢救二次大战中被破坏的柏林教堂

After the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was destroyed by a British bombing raid in World War II all that remained was its ruined tower.

Built in 1895, the tower has remained a poignant reminder of the horrors of war, as well as being a symbol of West Berlin's determination and extraordinary post-war recovery. But now the gaunt and jagged tower is making news of another kind: Traffic vibration has caused its walls to crumble, with chunks threatening to fall off onto pedestrians below.

Earlier the church authorities put the cost of repairing its neo-Gothic facade at 3.5 million euros (US$5.1 million), but now due to continuing disintegration the cost has soared to 4.1 million euros.

Charles Jeffrey Gray, 85, a former British pilot who carried out bombing raids over Germany, was one of the first to call for the rescue of Berlin's most famous wartime ruin, contributing US$930 to help spur the campaign. Since then donations have flooded in, with the Berlin city government pledging 1.5 million euros to the repair fund.

Gray's last bombing raid over Berlin was in February 1944. Around that time 500 to 700 planes were involved in raids over Germany, a reprisal for earlier nightly operations over London by German bombers.

"The tower must remain as a reminder for future generations of the horror of war," Gray said.

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