The Zionskirche is intimately connected with recent German history. Built between 1866 and 1873 and consecrated in the presence of Kaiser Wilhelm I and Otto von Bismarck, it was at the centre from the very start in dealing the social problems that affected a city in breakneck expansion through rapid industrialization. The renowned Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who conducted confirmation classes at the Zionskirche, felt bound to grapple with the strained social circumstances of his charges. In the autumn of 1987, the church became the focus of history as the opposition Umwelt-Bibliothek (environmental library) housed in the parochial house was forcibly cleared by the East German Stasi, inspiring a storm of protest that was to become a beacon of the civil rights movement in the GDR. Today the parish, once one of the city’s most notoriously run-down working class districts, has become a desirable residential neighbourhood that now faces the problems of gentrification, though the area is bounded on one side by one of the starkest social barriers in Germany, directly along the line where the Berlin Wall used to stand.