Roof collapse of Catholic Church, as it happened. Symbolic event for the German Church.

Roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed: experts comment on the possible cause

The roof of the Elisabeth Church in downtown Kassel collapsed on Monday. The city narrowly escapes disaster. The current development in the news ticker.

Large parts of the roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed on Monday afternoon. Nobody got hurt.

"My Precious Pearl from Paradise" Church - a pure expression of Vatican II.  The roof fell in.

He survived.  The Religion of Humanity, idolised

And the veil of the modernist temple was torn in two from top to bottom

The weather could play a role in the collapse of the roof in downtown Kassel.

The church was only structurally checked last year.

+++ 6:02 p.m.: In addition to church services, cultural events also take place in the Elisabeth Church on Friedrichsplatz, for example in conjunction with the documenta world art exhibition. Objects were hung on the church roof several times for exhibitions. According to the parish, the statics of the roof structure were repeatedly checked.

Cathcon covered the documenta art exhibition at the time.  It turned the Church into a green dream.


How symbolic of the modernist Church- a Bishops leads the Faithful around in circles in a never-ending labyrinth.

documenta also was also responsible in Berlin for some vile anti-semitic images which almost brought down a government minister.  Full details on all here.  

+++ 5:38 p.m.: “Roof collapses without any recognizable external influences hardly ever occur in Germany,” says Werner Seim, head of the “Building Preservation and Timber Construction” department at the University of Kassel. The only two objects that would spontaneously come to mind in this context were the ice skating rink in Bad Reichenhall in 2006 and the Berlin Congress Hall in 1980.

Experts on possible cause after roof collapse in Kassel's Elisabeth Church

+++ 4.42 p.m.: The Diocese of Fulda commissioned the Kassel engineering firm HAZ, which specializes in structural planning in old buildings, to carry out a report on Monday. “We left everything else behind,” said civil engineer Ulrich Huster, who was on site on Tuesday. The office has already worked on the Hercules and the Löwenburg. The causes of the collapse will be investigated. The insulation may have gotten wet, Huster said. The results will be made available to the insurance company, which will certainly commission another report.

+++ 3:29 p.m.: “Despite the proximity of the AOK building, only a few employees there noticed the collapse of the neighboring church roof on Monday afternoon. At the time in question, two employees heard a noise that reminded them of a glass container being emptied. There was apparently no shock,” said a spokesman.

Defects in Kassel's Elisabeth Church as early as the 1980s: What we know so far about the roof collapse 

Church roof collapses in Kassel: adjacent offices are also closed

+++ 2:57 p.m.: The church was built in the late 1950s. The roof consists of a wooden structure placed on brick walls. The beams broke in the middle for reasons that are still unclear, and the entire roof collapsed into the interior of the church. For security reasons, no one can enter the church on Kassel's Friedrichsplatz. Adjacent offices are also closed. According to the fire department, there is currently no further risk of collapse.

+++ 2:25 p.m.: The amount of damage has not yet been determined after Monday's collapse. Not even on the church's listed organ. This originally stood in the Protestant St. Martin's Church. When St. Martin's Church got a new organ, it was sold to the Catholic community for a symbolic euro. The Bosch organ, built in 1964, was installed in 2015. The installation cost around 500,000 euros. The five to six paintings by Johann Heinrich Tischbein that were in the church may not have been damaged. According to churchwarden Bartmann, they were standing behind the organ. “It could be that they were protected.” 

The roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel suddenly collapsed: So far, no investigation has been carried out by the public prosecutor's office

+++ 2:01 p.m.: There is currently no investigation pending at the Kassel public prosecutor's office regarding the collapsed church roof, says spokesman Andreas Thöne. “So far there is no information available that could justify an initial suspicion of criminal behavior.”

+++ 1:36 p.m.: A lot of checks are being carried out on and in the building today. Among other things, a possibility for a temporary cover is being sought. A drone will also be used to ensure the safety of those who will be working in the building in the next few days.

Church roof collapses in Kassel: damage in Elisabeth Church needs to be analyzed

+++ 1:17 p.m.: In the next phase, the damage will be analyzed and the question of what condition the organ is in will be clarified. According to Bartmann (Board of Directors), it also needs to be clarified how the church can be protected from cold and water, said Bishop Gerber. This all needs to be thought through carefully and wisely.

Meanwhile, the Protestant Church has also offered its support. Dean Barbara Heinrich announced that the neighboring Karlskirche would be available for events by the Catholic community. “There is a well-established neighborhood with the Karlskirche.” When this was rebuilt, many ecumenical events could have taken place in the Elisabethkirche. They also want to see whether there are opportunities in St. Martin's Church. “We are connected in a large ecumenical community in Kassel,” says Heinrich.

Roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed: last statistical study in 2023

+++ 1 p.m.: According to Franz Bartmann from the parish's administrative board, there was a static study of the Elisabeth Church last year before the documenta. “There is no recent church that has been statically examined so often,” says Steinert. There were no signs or indications beforehand that there was anything wrong with the roof structure from the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Bartmann, moisture may have penetrated the roof during the storm that raged in Kassel on June 22nd. This will become apparent when the structural engineer re-examines it. The collapse may then be an insured event. But you don't want to speculate.

After the church roof collapsed in Kassel: supervisor in shock

+++ 12.43 p.m.: After the roof of the Elisabeth Church collapsed on Monday afternoon at Kassel's Friedrichsplatz, neither the cause nor the amount of damage has yet been determined. This is what Bishop Dr. Michael Gerber and Vicar General Prelate Christof Steinert at an on-site visit in Kassel

After he found out about the collapse via text message on Monday afternoon, his first thought was that hopefully no people were injured, said Gerber. Despite all the shock caused by the collapse and despite all the drama, we are grateful that no people were injured.

The supervisor who was in the church when it collapsed suffered shock but did not want to be treated in the hospital, said Franz Bartmann from the parish's administrative board. If the roof had collapsed on Sunday or last year at documenta, the outcome could certainly have been very different.

+++ 12.19 p.m.: Since 11.30 a.m. the church representatives have been answering questions from the press on site. Following the collapse of the roof on the Elisabeth Church in Kassel yesterday, Bishop Michael Gerber and Vicar General Prelate Christof Steinert, among others, gathered. Father André Lemmer was traveling to the USA at the time of the accident and is currently connected via video call.

Collapsed roof of the Elisabeth Church: Weather could play a role

+++ 11:56 a.m.: The weather could play a role as the cause of the roof collapse. As Jürgen Schmidt from the Wetterkontor in Ingelheim says, it rained extremely heavily in the last two weeks of October: 60 liters per square meter. This corresponds to the amount that is normally achieved on average in October. Between October 25th and 28th alone, Kassel recorded a rainfall of 45 liters per square meter. At the beginning of November it rained off and on, but not so much. There have been no abnormalities in the wind in the past two weeks, reports Schmidt.

The roof of the Elisabeth Church collapsed: That's what the city of Kassel says

+++ 11.06 a.m.: The city cannot comment on the possible causes of the collapse of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel. The city is currently not involved in the work and planning surrounding the collapse of the roof of the Elisabeth Church. Press spokesman Viktor Deutsch told that the leadership of all upcoming measures lies with the church, which is responsible as the owner.

The inspections of the building structure of the churches in the city area are also the responsibility of the respective parishes - regulated by law. That doesn't change even after the incident on Monday. Depending on the year in which the respective buildings were constructed, appropriate tests would certainly now be considered in the communities, says Deutsch.

The city of Kassel would only be involved in the ongoing processes again if it was necessary to close the adjacent street or secure the public paths. This could be the case, for example, if the construction of a temporary roof requires extensive measures.

Church roof collapsed in Kassel: a service took place on Sunday

Update from Tuesday, November 7th, 9:45 a.m.: Kassel narrowly escaped a catastrophe. On Monday, the roof of the Elisabeth Church directly on Frankfurter Strasse collapsed like a house of cards. On Sunday, a service by the Italian Mission took place in the church with around 100 people. The fact that no one was injured in the collapse is nothing short of a miracle.

After the accident, everyone involved was relieved that there were no people in the church apart from a church overseer. Two visitors are said to have left the church shortly before it collapsed. At the time of the collapse, the overseer was in his apartment on the side of the church and initially thought there had been a loud traffic accident in front of the building.

The Elisabeth Church, inaugurated in 1960, was already considered a need for renovation in the 1980s due to the inadequate statics of the bell tower. The roof of the church was last checked in the run-up to the documenta last year, without any abnormalities becoming known.

The roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed: one person was still in the building

Update from Monday, November 6th, 7:21 p.m.: No people were injured when the roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed. A supervisory employee who was in the church at the time of the accident, shortly before 1 p.m., was in a protected niche. He escaped with shock and was treated by rescue workers. According to reports on site, two visitors left the church shortly before it collapsed.

Collapse of the roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel: listed organ damaged

Nothing is yet known about the cause or the extent of the damage. As photos from rescue workers suggest, the collapse may also have damaged the listed Bosch Bornefeld organ, which was moved from the Martinskirche to the Elisabethkirche almost ten years ago. In addition to other works of art, several paintings by Johann Heinrich Tischbein are also said to be stored in the gallery area. It is currently unclear whether they were damaged.

Police and fire departments were on site with a large contingent and numerous emergency vehicles. Firefighters removed loose parts of the roof from the edge of the facade using a turntable ladder and a crane truck basket. During the operation, Frankurter Strasse was closed from Fünffensterstrasse in the direction of Altmarkt, and there were significant disruptions to city traffic until the afternoon

Only on Sunday a large service by the Italian Mission was celebrated in the church. After the accident on Monday, fire brigade spokesman Tobias Winter said on site: “We are very happy that there were no other people in the building.”

The city of Kassel said upon request that such buildings are inspected by the owners. “In addition, churches that are used as places of worship are generally not subject to recurring inspections by lower building supervisory authorities,” said a spokesman. According to paragraph 1 paragraph 3 of the Hessian Meeting Places Directive, its regulations do not apply to rooms that are dedicated to church services, the spokesman explained.

Elisabeth Church in Kassel: Roof collapses, police and fire brigade on site

Report from Monday, November 6th, 1:59 p.m.: Parts of the roof of the Catholic Elisabeth Church on Friedrichsplatz collapsed on Monday afternoon. According to police spokeswoman Ulrike Schaake, the fire department and police were called to the church around 1 p.m.

As the emergency services report, parts of the roof have actually collapsed, which is why the entrances to the building have now been cordoned off as a precaution. According to current information, no people are said to have been injured. According to information from our newspaper, a church employee who was said to have been in the building at the time of the collapse was taken to hospital as a precaution. Due to the deployment of the fire brigade and police, Frankfurter Strasse is currently closed between Fünffensterstrasse in the direction of Altmarkt. There are significant disabilities.

Those who know the area are asked to avoid the area. The opposite direction of Frankfurter Straße is currently not affected by the closure. No further information is currently available. It is currently not possible to predict how long the road closure will last. According to the police, a structural engineer has now been involved and has started work on site.

Roof of the Elisabeth Church in Kassel collapsed: massive traffic jam in the city center

According to information from our newspaper, the former organ of St. Martin's Church was also damaged in the collapse, which, according to the police, stretched along the entire length of the building. There are also said to be works of art by Tischbein in the church - under the gallery. It is not yet clear whether they were affected. Many events take place in the church - in addition to the services. Just yesterday there was a big service from the Italian mission. The cause of the collapse is still unclear, according to a police spokeswoman. The amount of damage cannot yet be quantified. The fire brigade has started to remove the individual roof parts.

The foundation stone of the church was laid in 1959. Just last week, the memorial event to mark the destruction of the old Elisabeth Church 80 years ago took place - in the new Elisabeth Church. The old Elisabeth Church stood where the State Theater is today.


Faith dispelling Long Night of the Churches here in 2015 


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