Chronological Table


Gerard Bunk is born in Rotterdam on 4 March, the youngest of seven children of the school principle, music teacher and choral conductor Gerardus Cornelis Bunk and his wife Maria.
"... Bunk was already a popular figure in his town at that time. Thousands knew him with his black curly head, his broad figure, and they knew him above all because he was the given singing teacher and conductor on all kinds of public and national occasions. In Rotterdam, G. C. Bunk was the capable and enthusiastic forerunner of the later movement for the improvement and promotion of folk singing. He did pioneering work and was not only a theoretician whose books on singing and music theory were used for decades by all kinds of educational institutions, but above all: he did great service in Rotterdam for the practical improvement of singing. He was the leader of a 'Dames- en Kinderen-Zangvereeniging' (which was later named after him), and he has many times publicly led and guided the schoolchildren of Rotterdam at festive occasions." (Doe Hans: De stad aan de Maas: herinneringen aan Rotterdam, Leiden 1941, p. 9f., quoted after Schroeder 1974, p. 9)
"... We then attended a higher [social] class school where the music teacher was also the headmaster, Mr. G. C. Bunk. [...] The movements sung here were more difficult than those in the school first attended. Two passages with some difficult intervals, syncopations, modulations and the like, which I wrote on the blackboard, they sang admirably. Mr. Bunk did not help his pupils over difficulties by singing, as all good teachers do, in fact he [...] hardly sang at all; after a little explanation he let them find their way through as best they could. I could not help contrasting such teaching, as calm as it was effective, with the terrible travails to which our teachers subject themselves by singing by ear, so damaging and destructive to the voice, so weakening to the whole fabric." (Report of John Hullah, Esq., L.L.D., on Musical Instruction in Elementary Schools on the Continent, 1879)


After first musical instructions from his father and after the five-year-old has been found to have absolute pitch awareness, he is taught to play the violin (which only lasts three years, “because much more talent for the piano and the organ”) and theory.


Hendrik de Vries (1857−1929) comes to Rotterdam's Grote of Sint-Laurenskerk as organist of the Bätz organ − for Bunk "the most magnificent organ work I have ever seen and heard." He attends the fortnightly organ recitals of his "idol" de Vries − which will later serve as a model for his own Orgel-Feierstunden − and becomes acquainted here with "pretty much everything that belonged at that time to the more valuable organ literature of home and abroad", including the organ works of Bach, Liszt, Guilmant, Widor, Reger and Bossi.


9 June: During the visit of Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Emma to Rotterdam, the father G. C. Bunk conducts a children's choir; they sing the festive cantata De koningin te Rotterdam composed by him to a text by J. R. Arnold, orchestrated by Ferdinand Blumentritt (1841–1903).


Enrolment at the Rotterdam Conservatory of the Maatschappij ter bevordering der Toonkunst; Bunk studies piano with the pianist, choral conductor and composer Anton Verheij (1871–1924); for a short time also organ lessons with Johan Besselaar (1874–1952), but Bunk learns to play the organ mainly through self-study.
In the meantime, he attends secondary school, is an assistant organist in various Protestant churches and is head of the pupilsʼ section of the Koninklijke Zangvereeniging “Rotte's Mannenkoor”.
In the cinema, the teenage Gerard Bunk is said to have accompanied silent films on the piano (according to later tradition by the musicologist Martin Geck; Else Bunk denied this).


13 December: dating of the first surviving composition, a Romance for piano four hands


4 March: First full organist position in Rotterdam taken on


June: Stay in London; possibly piano studies with the Russian-British pianist Mark Hambourg (1879−1960).
In September, departure for Hull/England to continue piano studies there − but break off:
Already in October or November he moves to Bielefeld to attend the special training class of the piano teacher Hans Hermanns.


3 March: Max Reger gives a concert in Bielefeld. Bunk has "scrawled the beginning of his ingenious B.A.C.H. Fantasia on the wallpaper before his arrival in his hotel room" (Liebe zur Orgel, p. 72). Reger is amused and signs a congratulatory postcard for Bunk's nineteenth birthday the next day.
20 June: first organ concert in the Bielefeld synagogue.
October: Bunk as master student and his later wife Else Geßner go to the Hamburg Conservatory with Hermanns, who becomes the "first teacher of piano playing" there.
23 December: Contract as piano, organ and theory teacher with the Bielefeld Conservatory.
Beginning of actual concert activity on piano and organ


After the draw of lots (common in the Netherlands), exemption from military service.
Letter from Karl Straube to Bunk's mentor Wilhelm Lamping (1861−1929) from 24 April: "... I would be very pleased to accept him as a pupil. ... and Mr. Bunk could take composition as a minor with Reger; or he may take Reger as a major and my class as a minor."
Composition of the organ works Legend op. 29 in May, of the Variations on an Old Dutch Folk Song op. 31 in December


January to March: Composition of the Sonata for Organ op. 32.
20−22 March: The new organ of the Reinoldikirche in Dortmund by E. F. Walcker & Cie. in Ludwigsburg with 105 stops on five manuals is inaugurated with a Bach festival. It is regarded as an important reference instrument of the Alsatian organ reform around Émile Rupp and Albert Schweitzer.
In the summer, Bunk organises six organ concerts in Bielefeld's Neustadt Church, in which he performs (according to a contemporary encyclopaedia of artists) "the works of the most important organ composers since Bach"; one evening is devoted exclusively to Max Reger.
Further organ concert cycles in the next few years in the synagogue. "I may perhaps ... assume that my good reputation as an organ player has found its foundation through these events."


5 May: Bunk stands in at short notice at the Max Reger Festival in Dortmund; he plays the organ of St. Reinoldi for the first time, alternating with Reger. Reger gives him the following advice: "Young man, don't play my things too fast; Brahms and I made the same mistake: we wrote down our tempi much too fast, play everything quite calmly, even if it is written faster! (Liebe zur Orgel, p. 74)
As Bunk's first compositions appear the Six Songs op. 22 and the Legend for organ op. 29 in the publishing house of J. Nöroth in Trier.
19 May: first letter from Albert Schweitzer (about the Legend).
September: on Reger's recommendation, appointed as teacher for piano training classes at the Dortmund Conservatory.


January/February composition of the Passacaglia for organ op. 40


Organist of the Old Catholic Krimkapelle in Dortmund.
3 January: Premiere of the childrenʼs operetta Gerda at the Groote Schouwburg Rotterdam.
30 March: Marriage to fellow student Else Geßner (1890–1976) from Bielefeld.
Composition of Der 1. Psalm for soprano solo, choir and organ op. 47.
In September founding of the Dortmund Trio.
From Dortmund, conductor of a municipal choral society Emmerich am Rhein (until the outbreak of war in 1914, performance of Schumann: Rose Pilgerfahrt, Haydn: Jahreszeiten, Bach: Johannespassion)


In September, takes up first organ lessons at the conservatory.
13 September, advertisement in the Rheinische Musik- u. Theaterzeitung: "Ibach grand pianos play exclusively in their concerts" with the names of Max Reger, Bunk and numerous other pianists.
17 November: Bunk conducts a choir of 600 school children at the Groote Doelezaal in Rotterdam in two performances of his cantata Holland Herleefd op. 48; the commissioned work – on a text by the reform pedagogue Jan Lighthart (1859−1916) − celebrates the liberation from Napoleonic rule 100 years ago.
25 November: Bunk probably meets Charles-Marie Widor, who plays his 5th symphony, among others, at the 44th organ concert in St. Reinoldi.


3/4 May: At the Dortmund Friedrich Gernsheim Festival, Bunk accompanies songs by the composer and Brahms friend, who was the teacher of his teacher Anton Verheij.
July: the Variations on an Old Dutch Folk Song (Herr, sieh die Not) op. 31 are published by Tischer & Jagenberg. Cathedral organist Bernhard Irrgang (1869–1916) performs the composition in the Berlin Cathedral; afterwards he reports the statement of the lady of the court Claire von Gersdorff “that the Emperor would certainly like it very much” (because of the Dutch “Trutzlied”). Tischer then advertises the Variations as “war music”.
Regardless of this, Charles-Marie Widor (who receives it belatedly) and Marco Enrico Bossi praise the work. It does not reach Albert Schweitzer, who is interned in Lambarene; Bunk plays the Variations for him in St. Reinoldi in 1928.
Tischer also publishes, probably commissioned, Two Pieces for Small Orchestra (On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring and Summer-night on the river) by Frederick Delius in Bunk's transcription for piano.
Composition of the Legend in F minor for organ and brass quartet op. 55a during the Christmas holidays


For the Rheinische Musik- und Theaterzeitung, Cologne, Bunk reviews organ music and writes music reports and essays over the next five years.
31 March: first participation (until 1931) as organ soloist in a concert of the Berlin Königl. Hof- und Domchor (later Domchor or Staats- und Domchor). Its director Hugo Rüdel (1868–1934) will recommend Bunk as Reinoldiorganist in 1925 with a letter of recommendation.
In August, composition of the Fantasia for organ op. 57.
6 October: Bunk plays with Max Reger his Mozart Variations op. 132 in the version for two pianos.


During a marital crisis in autumn, Else Bunk goes to Berlin-Charlottenburg to work in a bookshop. Her husband composes the Stieler Songs op. 61 during this time. Reconciliation meeting in Berlin


1 October contract with the Dortmund Orchestra: "Mr. Gerard Bunk commits himself as [permanent] soloist and accompanist (organ and piano) for the concerts of the Philharmonic Orchestra and, if necessary, also as organist for the opera performances of the Municipal Theatre".


7 November: premiere of the Symphonic Variations for organ and orchestra op. 67 at the Saalbau Essen under Max Fiedler (1859–1939).
23 November: first concert as conductor of the "Musikverein" in Unna (Mozart: Requiem), with which Bunk in future performs "two major works of choral literature every year".
End of 1919 ...


... or January 1920: Appointed organist and choirmaster of the Petrikirche in Dortmund.
The Eight Character Pieces for organ op. 54 are published by F. E. C. Leuckart.
October, advancing economic crisis: "with regard to the now almost prohibitively high fee rates of the orchestra involved in oratorio performances, especially for smaller choir societies", Bunk advertises himself as organist and pianist. "In the absence of the orchestra, a performance of even the larger choral works with organ or piano accompaniment might be justified, if it is performed with consideration of the instrumentation and according to other artistic principles."
November: Bunk's compatriot, the later conductor Paul van Kempen (1893–1955) becomes violinist in the Dortmund Trio; cellist is the solo cellist in the Municipal Orchestra, Carl Roser.


In 1922, the Riemann Musiklexikon lists him as a "sought-after accompanist". "Special adaptability," Bunk himself explains in a 1958 curriculum vitae, "led to accompaniment for many famous vocal soloists and instrumentalists who in earlier years did not travel with their own permanent accompanists as they do today."
26 June: premiere of the Concerto for organ and orchestra op. 70


15 April: joint concert with Günther Ramin in Leipzig's Thomaskirche.
1 July to 15 September secret stay in Zermatt as pianist of the house orchestra of the Seiler Hotels, in order to escape the situation "in the terrible Dortmund", which had become acute due to the occupation of the Ruhr, and to obtain stable currency. After the message of his mother's death on 6 July, Bunk composes the Consolation in F minor for organ op. 65 No. 3 in Zermatt.
15 December: Bunk inaugurates the "Eerste Nederlandsche Concert- en Cinema-Orgel, vervaardigt door de Firma A. Standaart" in Rotterdam's WB Theatre.


Bunk can be heard in first radio broadcasts at the piano on the Münster radio station.
6 May: Berlin premiere of the Concerto for organ and orchestra op. 70 with the Blüthner Orchestra


1 October: Bunk becomes organist at St. Reinoldi and conductor of the Bachverein.
November: A church music school is attached to the now municipal conservatory; Bunk continues to teach organ at the Protestant department.
23 November: premiere of the Symphony op. 75 in Karlsruhe.


27-30 July participation in the Freiburg Tagung für Deutsche Orgelkunst (Conference for German Organ Art).
First organ transmissions from St. Reinoldi, heard as far away as England. In 1937, the organ virtuoso Wilhelm Middelschulte, a friend of Bunk's, presumably listens in Chicago: "... I could hear my Passacaglia played by Gerard Bunk in Dortmund (Sunday Febr 7th) if I connect with the Köln-Reichssender (Cologne) – plays about 11.00 o'clock Sunday − Is that about 5 or 6 in the morning in America? I will try to connect and get up at that time − It is a novelty."(quoted from Meyer 2007, p. 492 )


13 July and 4 August: Bunk demonstrates a Walcker concert organ at the Frankfurt Internationalen Ausstellung Musik im Leben der Völker (International Exhibition Music in the Life of Nations).


19 September: naturalisation, after concerns had already been raised during Bunk's application to fill the position of Reinoldi organist with a "foreigner" (Liebe zur Orgel, p. 87).
On 11 November, meeting with Albert Schweitzer, who plays an organ concert in St. Reinoldi


Bunk records his organ pieces Canzone in G major and Melodie in B major for Deutsche Grammophon. There is also a recording of Mozart's church sonatas KV 67 and 336 with the orchestra school of the conservatory under Paul van Kempen (Deutsche Grammophon, also Polydor and Decca-England). These records are the earliest surviving sound documents with bunk.
6 October: The Thomanerchor Leipzig gives a guest performance in St. Reinoldi under Karl Straube; Bunk plays organ works by Sweelinck and Bach.
6 November: Bunk's first Orgel-Feierstunde (organ ceremony) in St. Reinoldi; the organ ceremonies are intended to "provide an overview of the most important works of organ literature" and are now held fortnightly by Bunk; the focus is on the works of Bach and Reger.
He now regularly conducts the Bachverein at St. Reinoldi for festive services (a cappella literature, Bach Cantatas) and passion performances.

Programme of the first organ ceremony


Revision of the Sonata for organ op. 32.
Bunk also becomes organist of the Dortmund synagogue with a Walcker organ.


In February, first concert with the Orchestra of Professional Musicians at the Dortmund Employment Office (Orchester der Berufsmusiker beim Arbeitsamt Dortmund), which Bunk uses for church music performances and conducts in entertainment concerts broadcast by the Cologne and Breslau radio stations (he includes Intermezzo and Spanish Dance from his children's operetta Gerda on the programmes under the pseudonym "F. Cornelius", derived from his second and third first names Cornelis Filippus).
Two records survive from a radio broadcast by Westdeutsche Rundfunk AG on Holy Saturday from the Reinoldikirche with Bunk's organ playing (Bach: two chorales pdfDRA-Dokument-des-Monats-März-2007.pdf, Beethoven: two Gellert songs).
In the organ ceremony on 7 October, Bunk plays Sigfrid Karg-Elert's Passacaglia op. 25B, among other works. "That my little children are heard on the magnificent Reinoldi organ," Karg-Elert writes to Bunk, "which I was allowed to play through friend Holtschneider's willingness in 1911, is a very special joy to me, and that you (yourself a highly gifted composer of repute), who wrote such wonderful and wise words about me in an article X years ago, supports my works, is a special honour to me."
18 October: premiere of the motet Selig seid ihr Armen op. 77 in St. Reinoldi by the dedicatee Carl Holtschneider (1872−1951) and his Madrigalchor


Attack on Bunk in the first issue 1933 of the journal Musik und Kirche: whether this is "really the task of an organ ceremony", asks the anonymous author "A." of a gloss (probably the hymnologist and music researcher Konrad Ameln, 1899−1994) and quotes abbreviated from the explanatory text of the organ ceremonies: "'to enable everyone to hear the monumental.... organ work.... (5 manuals and pedal, 107 stops, 79 subsidiary stops, echo organ, a total of 7104 sounding pipes) in regular recitals....' […] how little even church musicians often think about the meaning and purpose of organ ceremonies" (p. 45).
3 May: Bunk demonstratively begins a series in the organ ceremonies entitled "Masterpieces of German Organ Art"; it will comprise eight events until September 1934.
11 May: post of organist at the synagogue "resigned" (later note by Else Bunk; the exact circumstances have not survived).
13 May: Bunk takes part in a charity concert of the Mandolin Concert Society in St. Reinoldi under Theodor Ritter (1883−1950), who is significant for the mandolin movement. The complete programme is printed in Musik und Kirche and condemned as "unholy": "An iron broom is needed, for we know well enough: it must be swept again and again until the last evil roots of such rampant weeds are seized. The 'charitable end' justifies the means? No! [...] Church musicians ahead in the fight for German culture!" (p. 209f., "W. R.")
In the July-August issue of Musik und Kirche, Bunk, thus put under pressure, signs the Declaration of the German Orgelbewegung. The manifesto of "numerous leading personalities of church music and organ art" is virtually an address of loyalty to the new rulers (p. 187f.).
The allegedly "elitist" Musikverein Unna is transformed into the "Städtischr Volkschor" (Municipal People's Choir); Bunk initially takes over the direction, although according to the newspaper "Gerard Bunk, the conductor of the dissolved Musikverein, [is] not [allowed] to be the leader of the new choir, because many Volksgenossen see him as an exponent of that association" (13 November).
3 December: first concert with the Bielefeld Children's Choir, which Bunk will accompany on the organ until the end of his life, especially in Christmas concerts.
At the end of the year, the Dortmund press writes that "the organ ceremonies are an outdated concert form that no longer has a raison d'être in the Third Reich. The circle of people who could understand these events is too small. The ideal concert form is the liturgical one. In this form, every listener takes a lively and active part in the music performed." (quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 143)


October 9: The Dresdner Kreuzchor sings under Rudolf Mauerberger in St. Reinoldi, Bunk participates as organist. Mauersberger wants to bring him to the Kreuzkirche afterwards. The change does not come about, but Bunk uses the discussion in the Dortmund newspapers about a possible departure to improve his position at St. Reinoldi.
Publication of the Passacaglia for organ op. 40 by Breitkopf & Härtel


August: summer stay with the Heinrich Walcker family in Murrhardt. Disguised as a fitter, Bunk visits the construction of the Walcker organ in the Kongreßalle in Nuremberg, which is not accessible before completion.
30 October: The publisher Breitkopf & Härtel asks Johann Nepomuk David for an expert opinion on Bunk's Fantasia for organ op. 57.


Publication of the Fantasia op. 57 by Breitkopf & Härtel. The assessment of the work written in 1915 in a review as a "concert piece for the concert hall of a cosmopolitan type" for the "virtuoso" is a disparagement by the standards of the Orgelbewegung (Zeitschrift für Kirchenmusiker, 1 December 1939).
18 October: Pastor Martin Niemöller from Berlin-Dahlem speaks at a Confessing Church meeting (Bekenntnis-Gemeindeversammlung) in the Reinoldikirche. Bunk plays the organ.
Konsistorialrat Oskar Söhngen delivers Bunk's appointment as a director of church music by the Berlin Oberkirchenrat on 21 October.


In February Bunk buys a harpsichord from J. C. Neupert: "I am now also available as a harpsichordist with my own instrument for the authentic performance of early music (solo, accompaniment, continuo)". In the summer, composition of the Variations and Fugue on the Old Dutch Folk Song "Merck toch hoe sterck" for harpsichord op. 80.
On 16 March, a "Husarenritt" occurs when Bunk stands in for the intended pianist (who, however, has mixed up the date) at a recital by Heinrich Schlusnus (1888−1952), celebrated baritone of the Berlin State Opera. The episode is handed down by Schlusnus' wife Annemay: The surprised Bunk is "pulled into the car" from the organ bench, there "he was told songs, tempos, transpositions of the first group of songs at a hundred-kilometre tempo. And this intelligent, musical man understood everything, he was fired up for the hussar ride. ..." (von Naso: Schlusnus, p. 134f.)
18 August: During the summer holidays, Bunk leaves the 168th organ ceremony to the 21-year-old Siegfried Reda (1916−1968), who plays his own works, among others. Reda had studied at the Dortmund Conservatory. "His organ teacher and mentor there was Otto Heinermann (1887−1977), whose personality and musicality influenced him," Reda's student Martin Balz in turn reports. "Also formative for Reda was the great Walcker organ of Dortmund's Reinoldikirche and no less its organist Gerard Bunk and his interpretation of Reger."
August: Bunk is elected conductor of the municipal "Musikverein" in Gütersloh. The first concert is a song recital on 4 October, in which he accompanies the soprano Adelheid Armhold (1900−1992). In Gütersloh, Reinhard Mohn and his later wife Magdalene Raßfeld receive private piano lessons from Bunk.
September to November: climax of the disputes with the critic of the Dortmunder Zeitung, Otto Brodde (1910−1982), who accuses the church musician Bunk of "concert-like behaviour". Bunk should "ex officio tie in with the spiritual change of all church administrators." Brodde signed his letters of dispute to the presbytery of the Reinoldikirche "in German-Evangelical faith" (quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 159f.).
4 September: After an evening music (Abendmusik, in the style of Tunder's and Buxtehude's Lübeck Evening Music) at the beginning of July in St. Reinoldi with motets and organ works by Buxtehude, Schütz, Bach and Brahms, Bunk applies to the presbytery for the permanent establishment of such concerts; now also travelling with the Bachverein and especially with Bach programmes in Rhineland and Westphalia.
29 September: Bunk announces to the mayor of Unna his resignation as artistic director of his "pain child" ("Schmerzenskind"), the Volkschor.
Before that, quarrels also in the Bachverein: he is accused of a lack of "community feeling"; he can counteract his dismissal or a split in the choir. Bunk is interrogated by the Gestapo about the internal situation in the Bachverein.


29 January: On the eve of the so-called "Tag der nationalen Erhebung" (Hitler's rise to power), German Christians want to hold a "thanksgiving service" in the Reinoldikirche. During the clash with supporters of the Confessing Church there are riots; Bunk plays the organ, as it says afterwards in a leaflet of the German Christians, "in favour of the Confessing Front".
18 May: First performance of the Variations and Fugue for harpsichord op. 80 at the Reichssender in Cologne


May 3: With the 201st organ celebration and with Bach's chorale prelude Hilf, Gott, daß mir's gelinge, Bunk begins a large-scale cycle of masterpieces of organ art from Sweelinck to the present.
10 June: Evening music (Abendmusik) "on the occasion of the extension of the Reinoldi organ" by a Rückpositiv. "With its characteristic six Baroque voices, connected to the 'Positiv' (lower manual) of the console, a strikingly 'true to style' sound was now possible for the performance of early music." (Liebe zur Orgel, p. 92)
Karl Straube's letter of 14 July: "... without your artistic personality and without your spiritual strength, all notes would only be the sound of clay, but not spirit and gifted revelation. So I wish you that the divine power may always be close to you in the implementation of your beautiful and great plan to let the organ music of the last 350 years rise again in the works of the masters in living sound. The prayer with which you offered such will to God as a thank-offering will be fulfilled and full success shall be given to you." (quoted from Gurlitt/Hudemann: Briefe eines Thomaskantors)
In August, composition of the Musik für Orgel op. 81.
On 8 December, Bunk writes to his friend Max Lorf, who is stationed as a soldier in Bromberg: "... Our Requiem performance [Mozart Requiem on 26 November] was magnificent ... The choir was really, really great! What a pity that you had to miss again! One singer after another of those who are in the field writes letters of lament and has a great longing for the Bachverein! ... By the way, would you have the great kindness to end the war soon, for I am very tired of the whole thing, and you????" (quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 183)


On May 14, Rotterdam is destroyed by the German Luftwaffe.
Bunk commissions the libretto for an oratorio based on Jesus Sirach 43 ("God's Glory in Nature"). On July 22, he begins the composition; the elaboration of the sketches and the score will extend throughout the war until finally 1946. To the organist Oskar Rebling (dedicatee of the Musik für Orgel) he writes that he is working "on an oratorio, – even in the air-raid shelter".
The Musik für Orgel op. 81 is published by Breitkopf & Härtel.


In a short scene in Alfred Hitchcock's thriller Saboteur, filmed the year after the US entered the war, the blind Mr. Martin plays from Summer Night on the River by Frederick Delius in the piano arrangement by Bunk (republished by Oxford University Press in 1930).
On 14 May, the last joint concert with the former trio partner Paul van Kempen: Bunk plays Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor K. 491 with the Dresden Philharmonic under van Kempen.
Increasing "resistance from the [Nazi] party" against the performance of church music works by the Gütersloh Musikverein; Bunk resigns as conductor on 4 September.


Throughout the year (until the beginning of 1944) concert tours with the Viennese cellist Slavko Popoff through southern Germany, occupied Alsace, the so-called "Sudetenland" and Austria, often organised by the Nazi organisation "Strength through Joy"; e. g. 3 February: "Arrived in Kitzbühel at about ½ 5 in the afternoon (in Munich there had been a good hour's stay), we were told at about 6 that the concerts could not take place at all, because everything had been cancelled because of Stalingrad." (Bunk: Popoff-Tournee 1943, quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 197)
4/5 May: first air raid on Dortmund. After attacks, Bunk climbs into the attic of the house at Saarlandstraße 87 (home address since 1916) to see whether the Reinoldikirche has been hit. In order to be able to evade attacks, they also move into an apartment in the south (Lücklemberg, Waldhausweg) in the house of the music pedagogue Edgar Rabsch (1892–1964) and rent a hotel room in Hagen.
During the second air raid on the night of 24 May, St. Reinoldi and the organ were damaged: "Destroyed that night was the Fernwerk, which burned with it in the attic. A few days later, the Rückpositiv (after a life span of barely 4 years!) and part of the organ gallery were crushed by falling masses of stone. The main part of the organ, the I, II, III and IV manual and the pedal with all the pipes, as well as the console, which alone was a work of art, were still standing. However, it was initially impossible to bring these parts to safety, as the ceiling over the organ threatened to collapse and the work would have been too dangerous. It was then arranged that a strong scaffolding be erected in front of the organ case to support the ceiling above the organ so that the salvage work could proceed. / This scaffolding has stood there for months without anything being done to bring the organ to safety. The scaffolding was only used later on to protect the organ case very inadequately against rain and weather with old rugs and blankets [...] At first, no place was known for the organ parts, but later a suitable place was found somewhere in the Paderborn area [...]. The removal then failed because no means of transport could be provided, as was later the case when the much less valuable Hans Sachs organ was removed from Gelsenkirchen. [...]" (Bunk: Bericht über den Verfall der Reinoldiorgel, quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 114f.)
11 to 27 July: He is deployed for Wehrmacht concerts in Denmark ("Bunk-Quartett" or "Gruppe Bunk").
15 September: After the destruction of St. Reinoldi's, the 260th organ celebration takes place in the neighbouring Marienkirche; the programme includes works by Bach – introduced with the organ chorale Aus tiefer Noth schrei ich zu dir (Out of deep anguish I call to You). In the next organ celebration on 24 November, Bunk plays his own Variations and Fugue op. 31 on the Dutch folk song Herr, sieh die Not.
Bunk about himself as a multi-instrumentalist at a concert on December 5 with Popoff in the Vienna Konzerthaus: "The 3 instruments on the podium, grand piano, harpsichord, organ console, reminded a little of the artist luggage of a 'musical clown'!"


25 January: Concert with Popoff in Tilsit/East Prussia followed by further concerts in Vienna (3 February, 2 May).
The organ in St. Reinoldi is completely destroyed: "It is also reported that on 24 March, another attack near the church destroyed the organ together with the case, the back wall was torn out and the valuable material of organ pipes was largely destroyed, the console completely. Thus the fate of this famous organ has finally been sealed, and the memory of this magnificent organ work will be mixed in all circles of music connoisseurs with the feeling of displeasure towards those people who have understood so little about protecting and preserving one of the most magnificent cultural assets of our city of Dortmund, which is already so poorly endowed with cultural monuments. [...]" (Bunk: Bericht über den Verfall der Reinoldiorgel, quoted from Boecker 1995, p. 115).
10 September: last, 263rd organ celebration in the Marienkirche.
During another attack, St. Marien is also destroyed and Bunk's entire organ sheet music as well as the Bachverein's sheet music is lost: "About the attack itself, I can only say that it was the most devastating devastation that 'man's mind has devised', as it says in a beautiful song. [...] As I said, there is NOTHING left in D! The conservatoire has also gone, of course! Oh, what can I tell you, it cannot be described, ask me about any building, one can only answer: GONE!!! And now, for me personally, comes something quite terrible, which I had to discover in the once again burnt-out Reinoldikirche: my entire valuable organ library, which was my pride, with the rarest sheet music, has TOTALLY burnt down!!!!! I had the rest of my organ sheet music in the Marienkirche, which also burnt out with the valuable organ (the case from the 15th century!!!)" (Bunk to his mother-in-law Marie Geßner in Bielefeld, presumably after the air raid on Dortmund on 6 October)


12 April: Shortly after the liberation, Bunk plays the organ for an American field chaplain in the Große Kirche in Dortmund-Aplerbeck: "At 7 p.m. the Americans enter Aplerbeck. The evening dawns and the guns fall silent: A tall captain walks slowly to a church from which organ sounds emanate. A few devout people sit in the pews and listen to the music. 'I stopped for a moment in the tower,' reports one man. 'That's a master, I thought, and what he's playing is Johann Sebastian Bach!' How delighted I was to see at the organ the revered master of the smashed Reinoldi organ, Gerard Bunk! / The American, a field chaplain, asked the great organist to play something by Bach after all. 'Do you have sheet music?' – 'Toccata in D.' – Bunk smiled, turned around and began to set registers and free combinations. Then in the high hall of the little damaged church sounded Joh. Seb. Bach's Toccata in D. With the notes rushing to the heights, our hearts lifted and detached themselves from all the heavy suffering and hardship they had to bear in the last days and weeks.'" (Ruhr Nachrichten, 9/10 April 1960, according to the memoirs of Wilhelm Koch, 1907–1976, a deacon who was a friend of Bunk's; Koch had come into conflict with the Nazi regime on several occasions.)