- Memorials -


Fritz Wunderlich Bust


In the City Park Benzinopark Trierer Straße) in Kusel, a bronze bust of Kammersänger (tenor) Fritz Wunderlich can be found.

The artist was Professor Erich Koch.


The artist Erich Koch

Erich Koch was born on 24th March 1924 in Roßbach near Wolfstein (Kusel district). He is one of the most influential personalities of the Munich art scene.

After taking over the management of the metal workshop and the bronze foundry of the Bavarian Academy in 1958, he became professor in 1975.

Professor Koch is also a Palatine award winner. In 1989 the Volksbank Kaiserslauten had a comprehensive exhibition to celebrate his 65th birthday.


History of the piece of sculpture

The artist, Erich Koch, worked from October 1972 until February 1973 on the Fritz Wunderlich bust with several interruptions. He cast the bronze bust himself and created it using a certain wax melting process. Difficulties creating the bust, so he said, were because he could only work from photographs. He tried to capture an authentic 'image' of Fritz Wunderlich as a stage performer.


On the 8th February 1973 in Munich, Erich Koch introduced the bust to the public in the presence of Eva Wunderlich.


Location: at the Bank Kreissparkasse (Kusel)

On Saturday morning, 9th March 1973, the Fritz Wunderlich bust was handed over at the Landratsamt (County Council Chambers). The Chairman of the County Council (Landrat ) Gustav Adolf Held welcomed representatives of the Bank who donated the bust, representatives of the Administration and schools of Kusel and special guest the sister of Fritz Wunderlich, Frau Decker accompanied by her husband. Erich Koch, the creator of the bust was specially mentioned.

Landrat Held also passed on greetings from Eva Wunderlich to the small gathering and her regrets of not being able to attend.

The bust was displayed in the foyer of the bank.


Next location: City and Folk Museum


On Friday afternoon, 17th September 1976, Siegfried Klaaßen, Director of the local Bank (Kreissparkasse Kusel) handed over the bust to the city representatives. It was also the official opening of the memorial room in the City and Folk museum. The bronze sculpture was erected in the Fritz Wunderlich memorial room with Eva Wunderlich and daughter Constanze present.


Final location: Kusel City Park

On Wednesday 17 September 1986 at 19.30 a festive ceremony took place at the City Park to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Fritz Wunderlich's death. In spite of the rainy weather there was a large gathering in the park.


In his opening speech Mayor Jochen Hartloff expressed: "The city of Kusel is going to greatly respect the inheritance of Fritz Wunderlich and is aiming to meet his high standards. Certainly the date of his death would be a day of mourning but also an opportunity to commemorate the artist". He described the location for the bust created by Professor Erich Koch as a place of honour.


Professor Emmerich Smola speaking of his recollections first put himself into the person of Fritz Wunderlich and then with his thoughts he went back to the night when Erika Köth informed him about Wunderlich's death. Their work together had always been an extraordinary experience. The professor remembered the last two days in the recording studio with him, where he sang many different songs.


The ceremony, musically developed by Praetorius-Blechbläserquintett (brass quintet) concluded with the Tosca Aria "Ich hab' noch nie geliebt so das Leben".




Look at the Photos

Replica location - VDK-Recreation Centre.
A replica of the bust stands on the first floor of the VDK-Recreation Centre in Kusel.

Photo Replica
Location Pfalztheater


Replica Location Pfalztheater
At the end of the eighties the replica was handed over by an engineer to the Culture Department of the City of Kaiserslautern, they passed it on to the Pfalztheater and the State administration.

The official unveiling of the bust took place on Saturday night 14th October 1995, before the premiere of "Tannhäuser" at the new theatre.




Photo on the left:
Bust VDK-Recreation Centre
Photo on the right:
Bust VDK-Recreation Centre