The baptismal font

One of the few pieces to survive the Second World War is this baptismal font. It is actually older than the church itself, having been crafted from limestone on the Baltic island of Gotland in the middle of the 13th Century. It was likely already used in the church that preceded St. Nicholas.

Unfortunately, it is unknown whether Otto Lilienthal was baptised in this font on 25th June 1848. Likewise, whether his brother Gustav, who was one year younger, received the sacrament of baptism from this font is also unknown. Nevertheless, the name Lilienthal is inseparably linked with the city of Anklam and St. Nicholas Church.

The house that the Lilienthal brothers were born in is only a stone’s throw away from St. Nicholas Church in Peenestrasse. Otto was the first born child of Caroline and Karl Friedrich Gustav Lilienthal. As well as his brother Gustav, Otto had six other siblings, five of whom passed away as young children.

The two brothers suffered another terrible blow when they witnessed the sudden death of their father, aged only 44. The father who sparked their interest in nature and its marvels. This loss brought Otto and Gustav, then 12 and 11 years old respectively, even closer together.

The Lilienthal brothers spent their childhood in Anklam. Neither of them found great success at the local secondary school, both being viewed as only moderately good students. Which only goes to show: Even with mediocre school reports, you can still become world-famous.

However, it was out in nature that the two scientifically-inclined boys were in their element. During their expeditions through the Anklam countryside, they would follow storks, for example. The boys were fascinated by the elegant way in which the birds flew, and would watch them for hours, posing the question: How does the stork manage to lift its heavy body into the air?