Old Johannisfriedhof

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Old Johannisfriedhof 1903
Plan of the Johannisfriedhof Leipzig 1844

The old Johannisfriedhof is the oldest cemetery in the city of Leipzig .


The cemetery was created in 1278 on the site of the Johannishospital , a hospital for lepers . It was later attached to the Johanniskirche, which was built in the 14th century and destroyed in the Second World War . First of all, the deceased lepers were buried here. In 1476 the cemetery was enlarged, since now, on the instructions of the Elector, Leipzig residents without citizenship were also to be buried there. In 1536 Duke Georg's cemetery was finally designated as the general burial place of the city of Leipzig. As a result, the first and second sections were expanded several times in the 16th and 17th centuries. At the same time, the redesign in the style of a Camposanto took place .

In 1680 and 1805 the cemetery was expanded to include sections three and four. When this space was no longer sufficient, the last expansion with the fifth department took place in the years 1827 to 1863.

In its history, the cemetery has been the scene of war events several times. During the Thirty Years' War , Swedish troops holed up on it and partially destroyed it. In September 1813, the area became a storage area for prisoners and wounded, as the hospitals in the city were no longer sufficient. The soldiers lived in the tombs and used the wood from the coffins as firewood. This was testified by the gravedigger Johann Daniel Ahlemann .

In the fourth section there are (unmarked) mass graves with victims of the Seven Years' War and the Battle of Nations .

In 1883, the first and second departments were leveled and redesigned as a green area, with only Christian Fürchtegott Gellert's grave remaining untouched. On Christmas Eve that same year ended with the funeral of Dr. Emil Breiter the more than 600 years of using this cemetery as a burial place. There are documented 257,275 burials between 1484 and 1834. While mainly Germans were buried, the Swiss, French, Russians, Italians, English, Scots and Americans also found their final resting place there.

When it was decided to replace the nave of the Johanniskirche from 1585 with a larger new building, the remains of Johann Sebastian Bach were found in October 1894 , who had been buried on July 31, 1750 in the Johannisfriedhof. In 1900 the bones of Bach and those of Gellert were given a temporary resting place in a crypt under the chancel of the church.

View in 2011

In the years 1925 to 1929, the New Grassi Museum was built on an area that comprised the majority of the former first and the entire second department as well as the grounds of the Johannis Hospital .

In the further course of the 20th century, the cemetery continued to decline in size due to the widening of the adjacent streets and the construction of the Gutenberg School on the area of ​​the fifth department. As a result of this construction work, many tombs lost their original location. Of the crypt houses that were still abundant in the 1920s, only the Baumgärtner family crypt remains today. On December 4, 1943, St. John's Church was destroyed in a bomb attack. Only the church tower could be preserved and secured, but was blown up in 1963.

In 1981 the cemetery was closed and extensively renovated over the following fourteen years. In 1991, 58 tombs were erected from the New Johannisfriedhof in the southeastern part of the Old Johannisfriedhof. The cemetery has been open to the public again since 1995 and is a listed building as a museum park.

Buried personalities

NE = grave not preserved, V = gravestone present, but no longer marks the grave



  • Paul Benndorf : The old Johannisfriedhof in Leipzig. A contribution to the city's history. H. Haessel Verlag, Leipzig 1922 (the most detailed documentation with numerous photos of the no longer existing graves of the old Johannisfriedhof; contains a plan of the cemetery)
  • Frank Reichert: The end of church burials and the construction of the hospital crypt in St. Johannis. In: City history. Announcements from the Leipziger Geschichtsverein e. V. , vol. 2006, ISSN  1437-8604 , pp. 55-66
  • Erich Schmidt: The old Johannisfriedhof in Leipzig . in: Communications from the Landesverein Sächsischer Heimatschutz 4 (1914) 5, Dresden 1914, pp. 145–154 ( digitized version )
  • City administration Leipzig / Green space office (ed.): The old Johannisfriedhof. (Leaflet), Leipzig 1995

Web links

Commons : Alter Johannisfriedhof Leipzig  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Family tombstone commissioned by SL Crusius in "Der Friedhof zu Leipzig ...", p. 73, no. 508 at Google Books

Coordinates: 51 ° 20 ′ 13.1 ″  N , 12 ° 23 ′ 22.1 ″  E