Sunday, 26 August 2012

Berlin Cemeteries: Stahnsdorf

This Summer we had a week in Berlin and since it was my birthday it was kind of a present for me to visit Berlin's largest Cemetery: Stahnsdorf.

It is the second biggest Cemetery in Germany (Hamburg Ohlsdorf is the biggest Park-Cemtery in the world) and it has a strange shabby charm. There are many spots where at first glance you don't notice that this is a cemetery rather than an ordinary wood.

This explained by the history of this cemetery:

It was built in 1908 and during the reign of Adolf Hitler something extraordinay happened: Fascist Germany wanted to redesign Berlin into a vast City named "Germania". And many cemeteries in the City of Berlin were in the way of the monumental (or just mental) planning.

So many graves were moved to the Stahnsdorf cemetery.

After WWII however this cemtery was suddenly on communist ground. And they couldn't be bothered with the preservation of some splendid captialist tombs. So for more than 4 decades everything began to decay (the tombs) and to grow (the woods).

We discovered a part of this cemetery on our own in the morning (after the rain had thankfully stopped) and then we took part at a guided tour for children. It turned out that this guided tour was brilliant! The guide was  very entertaining and still provided plenty of information. We entered several mausoleums and even some crypts with coffins in them!

For further information : Friends of Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf

Benches. Quite uncomfortable i presume...

 This is the Headstone of a famous engineer: Edmund Rumpler. An on further examination you'll see that it's not an Angel you see there: It's an Ikarus!

This is the next (and last) celebrity for today: F. W. Murnau. He actually died in Santa Barbara, CA and it took a while to get him back to Berlin because since he knew how to live he was absolutely broke when he died. Friends of him preserved his body and showed him around like an attraction to get the money together for the burial in Germany!

He was originally named Plumpe (as were his brothers) but he deemed this name too dull so he chose his name after a town in Bavaria.

His actual coffin. It's an iron one rather than wood. American custom i'm told.

The next one is a very interesting grave: This expressionistic piece of art is the first grave in the world made out of reinforced concrete, a very modern material at that time (1920)
The concrete Cathedral.

Got very lucky with the sun.