Bilsausschnit Französische Kapelle



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History of...

The barracks
The prisoners of war
The expellees

French Chapel

The origin
Religious use


POW Camp
Educational program
Escape & expulsion


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History of the French Chapel

1940, July 31st

Arrival of the first contingent of about 1300 French officers in Soest. Among them there are 32 catholic priests. On demand a tiny whitewashed room under the roof of block 3 was put at their disposal to keep the holy altar sacrament

1940, September

Two prisoners paint this room under the roof impressively after a priest had
pre-determinated the religious complex of themes of the wall paintings.

1940, Dec. 25th       

Consecration of the chapel to the glory of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Peter-in-Chains.


At first the chapel is used by former forced and slaved labourers and later on by catholic expellees and refugees. The latter have it consecrated as
“Hedwigs-Kapelle” after the Silesian patron saint.


Only the latest Belgian Military Father, Herman de Bie, made use of the
chapel since 1988.

1995, September

The Belgian Army leaves Soest and the chapel is opened for the first time to the citizens of Soest on the occasion of a day of open memorials

since 1997
Taking care of the French Chapel by GFK.



The French Chapel

Religious use

The French Chapel is a consecrated room and it is at the disposal of all interested people for worship and divine services. Twice a year worships are organized by the GFK.


Stations of the Cross

Meanwhile it has become a tradition to organize yearly Cross Way worships using Guillaume Gillet’s respective paintings created in 1944 during captivity. The Cross way leads the faithful through the block 3 of the camp up to the chapel under the roof. There the worship - celebrated by a priest - ends with a prayer for peace.  

Worships in Advent

The year ends with a solemn ecumenical service. These events will be announced in the local press on time.



The French Chapel

In 2007 a scientific treatise of a student of the university of Cologne made clear for the first time the condition of the nearly 70 years old wall paintings and underlined the necessity of restoration

Restoration works

In order to fulfill its responsability for the French Chapel in line with the articles of the association the executive committee of the GFK (Geschichtswerkstatt Französische Kapelle) had placed orders – during the past years – to restore very successfully important parts of the wall paintings. The western wall of the chapel with its biggest still active damages was restored in 2009. Two years later the eastern wall showing a map of France was subject of further restoration works. The latest works protecting the memorial at the southern and the northern wall were executed in summer 2012. Thanks to the help of numerous sponsors from near and far who supported actively the preservation of the chapel by spending money the restoration which was really urgently necessary could be financed. Last of all – as a fourth step – the beams and ceilings of the chapel have to be taken into consideration. But this only makes sense when the roof of block 3 over the chapel being defective since years will be repaired with long lasting effect by the «Bundesanstalt für Immobilienaufgaben».

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Sponsors who supported the restoration of pictures of sains

We express out sincere thanks to all of them

Claire Aubert, Echirolles (Fkr.)   -   Notre Dame de Bastia
Horst Biembacher, Soest   -   St. Rémy
Dr. Günter Boecken, Bad Sassendorf   -   Notre Dame du Puy
Frau Boecken, Bad Sassendorf   -   Notre Dame de la belle verrière
Eheleute de Chateauvieux, Le Vesinet (Fkr.)   -   Christus, St. Pierre, St. Paul, St. Louis
Helga Dreßler, Soest   -   Soest - Stern
Lothar Drewke, Werl   -   Bretonische Flagge - Hermine (Menhir)
Hans Flocke, Soest - St. Jean Baptiste
Dr. Patrick Fortmann, Soest   -   St. Patrice
Fam. Fournier-Beaubien, Kanada   -   Fleur de Lis
Michael Gallenkamp, Soest   -   St. Michel
Dr. Reinhard Gockel, Soest   -   St. Hubert
Christel Hannappel, Soest   -   Ste. Thérèse
David Haverland - Textpassage
Ulrich Haverland, Soest   -  St. Benoît Joseph Labre
Jakob Hecker, Soest   -   Jakobsmuschel 1
Dr. Odile Hecker, Soest   -   Ste. Odile
Propst Josef Heers, Soest   -   St. Louis
Georg zur Heiden, Soest   -   St. Jean Maria Vianney
Elfriede Heßmer, Soest - Friedenstaube und Ste. Germaine de Pibrac
Dr. Winfried Huck, Soest  -  St. Roch de Montpellier
Heidrun Grote-Huck, Soest   -   Ste. Genéviève
Familie Jacobs, Soest   -   Jakobsmuschel 2
Christina Jansen, Welver   -  St. René und Ste. Chantal
Georg Karbowski, Welver   -   St. Léonard / St. Vincent
Hartmut Kasten, Soest   -   Danse macabre / St. Ignace
Jean-Christophe Kling, Soest  -   Notre Dame de la Treille
Barbara Köster, Soest   -   Charles de Foucauld
Eheleute Dr. Horst Köhler, Soest   -  Calvaires
Familie Kolbe, Soest   -   Notre Dame de Liesse
Marlene Kraft, Neheim   -   Ste. Madeleine
Verena von Kriegstein, Bad Bevensen   -   Les Bn. Martyrs d’Amerique
Elisabeth Lange, Soest   -   Ste. Solange / Notre Dame de Pontmain
Jacqueline Legaret, Paris - St. Jean-Baptiste
Jean-François Legaret, Paris - St. Germain L'Auxerrois / Les Bn Martyrs d'Extrème Orient
Fa. Lehde GmbH, Soest - Pieta
Karl-Heinz Leifert, Soest   -   Les Croisés
Hubert M. Machinek, Siegen   -   St. L. M. Grignon de Montfort
Dr. Marie Mayer, Paris   -   Ste. Jeanne d’Arc und St. Bertrand de Comminges 
Eheleute de Montchenu, Le Vesinet (Fkr.)   -   Christus, St. Marcel
Fam. Hubert Müller, Staelen   -   Notre Dame de la Clarté
Käthe Müller, Soest   -   Sacré Cœur
Monika Nattkemper, Soest   -   Notre Dame de Boulogne
Erika Permiganau, Soest   -   St. Chlodwig
Annelies Radermacher, Essen   -   Bénédectine de Fécamp
Pater Hans-Georg Radina CM, Lippstadt  -  St. Vincent
Paul Rérolle - Frankreich - St. Laurent
Maria Rolf, Soest   -   Notre Dame de Lourdes
Eheleute Horst-Rainer Schewe, Blumroth   -   Karolus Magnus
Elke Schmücker, Soest   -   Ste. Marthe
Eheleute Margot und Paul-Guido Schomberg, Soest - Félicité et Perpétue
Klaus Schubert, Soest   -   St. Nicolas
Anneliese Schumacher    -   St. Yves
Schützen St. Sebastianus, Werl   -   St. Benoît
Ingrid Spiegel, Soest   -   Ste. Anne
Eheleute Dr. Thomas Sternberg, Münster   -   Ste. Radegonde
Maria Stute, Soest   -   St. François de Sales
Peter Sukkau, Soest   -   Soest - Stern
Michael Tepper, Soest   -   Ste. Colette
Eheleute Villeroy de Galhau, Wallerfangen   -   unbestimmt
Monsieur Vignolles, Paris - St. Theophane
Marie Vignolles, Paris - Ste. Blandine
Eheleute Völger, Münster   -   St. Lazare
Ilse Wagner-Möseler, Welver   -   Ste. Claudine
Martin Weimer, Soest   -   St. Martin
Birgit Wichterich, Soest   -   Ste. Jeanne d’Arc
Jule Elisabetta Wilhelm-Hecker, Hamburg   -  Notre Dame de la Treille
Heinz-Günter Wortmann, Möhnesee   -   St. Bernard und Paulustexte


Gedenkstätte Französische Kapelle Soest
Meiningser Weg 20
59494 Soest