Peace Chapel

The Peace Chapel was built from 1832 to 1835 as a corpse house. Not accepted by the population as such, it subsequently served for various purposes. Currently the chapel is rented to the Volkshochschule Kaiserslautern, which operates the building as a socio-cultural meeting place with a versatile offer.

The Peace Chapel is the corpse house of the old cemetery, built from 1832 to 1835. In 1828, the Royal Bavarian Government had approved the construction of this cemetery in the east of the city. The chapel was proved to be one of the first Bavarian corpse houses. Previously, it was customary in Bavaria and the Palatinate to keep the deceased in the death home until the funeral.

Leo von Klenze (1784-1864), as chairman of the construction art committee in Munich and alongside Karl Friedrich Schinkel the most important architect of classicism, initially objected to parts of the submitted planning by Ferdinand Beyschlag. Following the model of Munich, he himself designed a new façade and thus laid the foundation for an outstanding example of classical architecture in Kaiserslautern. On March 10th 1832, the "plans drawn up by the Architectural Committee and approved by His Royal Majesty (S.K.M.)" were returned with the provision that "the execution of this beautiful and inexpensive project would not be subject to any circumstances."

After a public tender, Michael Schmeißer was commissioned with the construction works. After initial difficulties in supervising the works, Bell, a construction practitioner, was appointed to assist him as the construction manager. The cost of construction was 7000 Gulden until completion.

After its completion, the corpse house was initially not accepted by the population. With the opening of the new cemetery at Kahlenberg in 1874, the old cemetery lost more and more in importance. The building served in the following years as a dwelling for the cemetery guard and after the installation of a gate (1910) as a storage.

A major renovation of the interior was carried out in 1937. After a competition, the Nazis set up a so-called "honour hall" in the body hall, because of its "noble and strict form". A total of 27 projects had been submitted for the competition that the city had announced. The renovation of the interior was then carried out according to the plans of the two winners, A. Mayer-Caster and K. Anders, both from Ludwigshafen. The placement of the great Reichsadler as a sandstone relief was undertaken by Kaiserslautern‘s sculptor Sepp Mages.

The last renaming to "Peace Chapel" took place on September 15th 1949. Now the body hall was used for many years as a Protestant emergency church, subsequently by Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 2001 the Evangelical-Free Church Baptist community abandoned the place. For 15 years the Peace Chapel stood empty again. Sometimes there were new concepts of use, ranging from the establishment of a German-French cultural centre in 2001 to the setting up of an “ArchitekturRegal” by the then TU Kaiserslautern in 2014.

In 2016, the Volkshochschule established a socio-cultural meeting place in cooperation with the city's Cultural Council, the „ZukunftsRegion Westpfalz  e. V.“ and the „Verein für Baukultur und Stadtgestaltung e. V.“. The monumental building has since been thoroughly renovated with the help of donations and own investments and reopened at the end of 2023.