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Rhenish lignite district: you are fighting for the last houses


Germany wants to get out of the coal, but five villages in the Rhineland should still give way to the excavators. Some residents fight back. Are new places of pilgrimage for the climate movement emerging here?

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Dorothée Laumanns from Berverath is fighting for her home

Photo: Till Uebelacker / DER SPIEGEL

Dorothée Laumanns stayed seated.

On the wooden bench of the listed church "Heilig Kreuz" in Keyenberg, a good kilometer from the edge of the Garzweiler II open-cast brown coal mine.

The church, which is over 1000 years old, has been owned by RWE since 2019, and the Catholic parish may still use it until it is demolished.

Keyenberg should disappear - as well as four other places.

Her parents once had Dorothée Laumanns baptized in the church, where she also celebrated communion.

She cannot believe that her past should be erased.

"I kissed my boyfriend back at the church for the first time," she says.

"My son had communion classes here."

The place is important to her.

"I'm not a church-goer, but there are a lot of memories attached to it."

After the service on a Sunday in mid-September, some villagers stay in the church.

They sing together, some pray.

The police let them be.

Many interested people come by until the afternoon.

"This church is intended to become a place of pilgrimage for the climate movement," says one visitor.

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Source: spiegel

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