An the small chapel “Maria hilf” it says “AD 2022”. Built twenty-two Anno Domini – in the year of the Lord. The year in which thousands died after a corona infection in Germany alone and thousands were killed in the Russian attacks in Ukraine. Another pandemic year, a war year, the small chapel in Badenweiler on the edge of the Black Forest was built, just a few square meters on private property, carefully furnished, a life-size wooden Maria looks at the visitor mildly. A chapel, despite the secular century? A sign of hope in the epidemic year? An appeal for peace in the war?
“We didn’t take any vows or anything like that,” says Gerhard Weil, who had the chapel built. Neither he nor his wife have miraculously recovered from an illness, their gratitude to heaven is simpler, but has grown over the decades: for the successful career at a large company in Essen, for the company that Gerhard Weil founded in Osnabrück (“Water treatment for industry, aquaristics and home use”). In the end he had 30 employees, and he also taught process engineering at a university.