Destruction of the Church 1944/1945
During its approximately thousand year history, Zyfflich church has been partially destroyed several times by wars and fire. In the final stages of the Second World War our church was almost completely – and many at the time believed permanently – reduced to rubble and ashes.
As “Operation Market Garden” got underway in September 1944 with the intention of furthering the allied advance into what was then the German Reich, Zyfflich suddenly found itself right on the front line. It was the start of a bitter battle, known to many as the Battle of Arnheim. Zyfflich was evacuated on 22nd September 1944, just a few days after the battle began, and was subsequently under fire for several weeks. On 16th December 1944 the church was almost completely destroyed in a bombing raid, as were most of the houses in the town.
Since Zyfflich was declared a restricted zone, people were unable to return to their devastated home town until 1945. To the delight of everyone, however, the church was still a church even in its destroyed state: The blessed sacrament in the tabernacle was recovered unscathed from the rubble of the ruins nine months after the bombing.
Reconstruction of the Church from 1950 to 1961
In 1949, the rubble was cleared away and other damaged masonry on the north side of the nave was demolished. From June to October 1950, structural support work was carried out on the church. The reconstruction of the destroyed church was only made possible due to the great dedication and personal commitment of the people of Zyfflich.
Architectural investigations and excavations in1950 and 1951 led to important insights into the original structure of the Romanesque church. Thus, for example, a font from the original monastery church was discovered (a circular tuff stone construction with a diameter of 3 metres).
The restauration of the building, construction of the nave and expansion of the layout to three naves took until 1956. The artists Alfred Göhre from Düsseldorf and Ludwig Baur from Telgte undertook the subsequent interior design.
The church was reconsecrated on the 7th/8th of October 1961. The whole parish celebrated this event with a festival weekend.