The article focuses on ethical and aesthetical issues in Heinrich Böll’s novel Der Engel schwieg. Composed between 1949 and 1950, but published posthumously in 1992, this novel dates back to the beginnings of Böll’s literary production and offers a reservoir of images, themes, motifs and characters of the so-called “rubble literature” which would then inhabit the author’s subsequent literary imagery. The article highlights the features of Böll’s criticism of German postwar Church and State by investigating the different roles played by the body and, in particular, by the metaphor of blood in Der Engel schwieg. As the article demonstrates, in the novel, blood becomes a metaphor for the suffering of war veterans and evacuees, Trümmerfrauen and Trümmerkinder, who inhabit a city destroyed by bombing in WWII, behind which it is not difficult to recognize a Cologne dominated by the complicity between economic and ecclesiastical powers to the detriment of social justice and Christian values.