Profile: Günter Blobel - The Biologist and the Cathedral; May 2000; Scientific American Magazine; by Ezzell; 2 Page(s)
NEW YORK CITY-One of the most formative experiences in Gunter Blobel's life was encountering the Frauenkirche-the Church of Our Lady-as a child in Dresden, Germany. It was February 9, 1945, and eight-year-old Blobel and his family were fleeing to find safe haven from the Allied bombs that were falling over Nazi Germany. As they passed through Dresden, Blobel was particularly dazzled by the beauty of the Protestant church's dome-the "stone bell" that had towered 90 meters over the skyline of the city for 200 years.
But he did not have long to enjoy his view of the Frauenkirche. Four days later Blobel and his family watched with horror from the nearby hills as ton after ton of Allied ordnance rained on Dresden, igniting a firestorm that laid waste the city's Baroque-era treasures and took tens of thousands of lives. The glow from the conflagration illuminated the countryside for miles: "You could read a newspaper by it," Blobel recalls. For two days the Frauenkirche burned, until finally the exquisite structure groaned, and its stones collapsed into a pile of charred rubble.