It's not the first time the top of the Maxkirche in Dusseldorf has wavered. When storm low Klaus sweeps over the city, the cross and weathercock have to be taken down, otherwise the fall into the depths is threatened.
Interviewer: Stormy storm Klaus did quite a number on the Maxkirche in Dusseldorf's Carlstadt district at the end of last week. The top – the cross and the weathercock – came shaking badly. It was a very dangerous situation. There was a danger that the top would fall into the depths. Then the height rescuers of the fire department had to intervene.
Pastor Frank Heidkamp (city dean of Dusseldorf): That is correct. It was also a shock in the early afternoon to see how much the tower was shaking. The cross on the tower alone weighs half a ton. And if this then crashed, anything could have happened.
Interviewer: Work was being done at a height of a good 40 meters, and attempts to reattach the cross properly at the top failed. So cross and weathercock had to be dismantled. That was a very demanding and tedious task.
Heidkamp: Around 23:15 o'clock the cross was also only down on the ground and until then height rescuers of the fire department had tried to secure the top of the tower. The whole thing had been cordoned off and there was traffic chaos. Until the cross was down, that was really hard.
Interviewer: Now the Maxirche has to be scaffolded. What exactly is the work to be done??
Heidkamp: Of course, first of all, structural engineers and experts will take a close look at the tower to find out whether it is shaky itself or only the rod where the cross will be inserted. That will certainly take some time. Then the insurance representatives will come, because it will of course cost something until the cross and the rooster are back on the tower. I ame weeks, if not a month or two.
Interviewer: In the meantime, this four-meter-high cross is being repaired in a blacksmith's shop near Koblenz, Germany. What does the expert say there? Can it all be repaired?
Heidkamp: There was actually no damage to the cross. The tower itself is now in the spotlight and there you just have to see what can be done. Kunstschmied had nothing to say about this.
Interviewer: This is not the first storm that has swept over Dusseldorf. Have there ever been problems? Has the cross ever swayed like this?
Heidkamp: The cross that is now on the top did not sway so much. But I had a look in the archives. In December 1955 it happened that the dome of the tower with the cross and the weathercock also swayed and at that time the cross had to be taken down as well. The cross, which is now above, is on 27. April 1995 only came on it again. The story with the storm and the Maxkirche continues.
Interviewer: Work is now being done on the Maxkirche. Is it still open for visitors??
Heidkamp: Yes, thank God. So both the building inspectorate and the fire department have given their okay. As I said, the tower is now scaffolded so that nothing can happen. Everyone is cordially invited to the church services, especially now in Holy Week and at Easter.
The interview was conducted by Carsten Dopp.