As people the world over celebrate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall today, it is worth remembering the man who fought to preserve it.
Born in 1948 to a mother who cleaned the houses of American military officers, Manfred Fischer spent his childhood in Frankfurt am Main, in the heart of what would become West Germany. He arrived in Berlin in the late 1960s to find a city divided by the notorious wall that would later become a central character in his life’s work.
After finishing his theological studies in the early 1970s, Pastor Fischer had his pick of a half-dozen parishes. He chose to serve the Church of the Reconciliation, the only one in Berlin bisected by the wall. He tended to his flock as East German guards with shoot-to-kill orders used the church bell tower overhead to dissuade potential escapees.