Cemetery of the Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichswerder communities

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Cemetery of the Dorotheenstädtische and Friedrichswerder communities
Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof I
Cemeteries in front of the Oranienburger Tor
Coat of arms of Berlin.svg
Park in Berlin
Cemetery of the Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichswerder communities
Partial view of the cemetery
Basic data
place Berlin
District Berlin center
Created 1762
Newly designed In 1814 and 1826, considerably enlarged
around 1950 and after 1990
Surrounding streets Chausseestrasse , Hannoversche Strasse
Buildings Mourning hall and numerous grave chapels , a partially preserved wall to the former Charité cemetery
User groups pedestrian
Technical specifications
Parking area 17,000 m²

The cemetery of the Dorotheenstädtische and Friedrichswerder communities (short: Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof) is located in the Berlin district of Mitte ( Mitte district ). It covers an area of ​​17,000 square meters. The entrance is at Chausseestrasse number 126. Numerous important and prominent personalities have found their final resting place here. Due to the design of its tombs, the cemetery is also an important testimony to the art of tombs in Berlin, especially of the 19th century. The complex is completely under monument protection .


Map of Berlin in 1789, the Oranienburger Tor top left

In the second half of the 18th century there was not enough space in Berlin for burials. The population grew, and unused areas were in demand as building land. In addition, the city administration feared that living in the immediate vicinity of graves could support the outbreak of epidemics . Therefore, King Friedrich II. , Known as Frederick the Great, provided suitable terrain outside the customs wall ( excise wall ) , and several cemeteries were built in front of the Oranienburger Tor . The Charité cemetery existed there until 1856, the St. Hedwigs cemetery until 1902. The French cemetery , laid out in 1780 for the Berlin Huguenots right next to the Dorotheenstadt cemetery, has been preserved to this day.

Oldest tomb of the Dorotheenstadt cemetery for Johann Jacob Frölich (1737–1807)

The Dorotheenstädtische Friedhof itself was founded in 1762 and there have been burials there since 1770. Dorothea , the second wife of the Great Elector , had once given the nearby Dorotheenstadt her name. Like the Dorotheenstädtische Church , the cemetery belonging to it was named indirectly after her. At first it was mainly a burial place for simple, often destitute citizens. Gradually this character changed. In the area of ​​the two associated parishes, Dorotheenstadt and Friedrichswerder , were institutions such as the Academy of Arts , the Singakademie , the Bauakademie , the Academy of Sciences and the Berlin University . Many of the employees there also lived in this district. The social significance of those who were buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof increased, and more elaborate and artistically sophisticated tombs were created.

Between 1814 and 1826 the cemetery was enlarged several times. In 1834 the parishes acquired additional land for burials in other parts of the city, the Dorotheenstädtische parish in Gesundbrunnen in Liesenstrasse ( Liesenstrasse # Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof II ), the Friedrichswerder parish in Bergmannstrasse in Kreuzberg . The communities were amalgamated after 1945, and since 1961 the Friedrichswerder community has been responsible for the jointly used cemeteries. The old cemetery had to be closed due to overcrowding in the late 1860s; After 1869, burials could only be carried out on previously purchased grave sites.

In connection with the widening of the adjacent Hannoversche Strasse, parts of the cemetery grounds were sold in 1889, and the grave sites of Hegel , Fichte , Klenze and others relocated to their current locations. Later, after the introduction of cremation , the cemetery proved to be sufficiently large despite the reduced area, and in 1921 it was opened for new burials. During the Second World War , the surrounding residential areas suffered severe damage, and the Dorotheenstadt cemetery was also affected. In the 1960s, the East Berlin magistrate considered converting it to a green area.

Entrance to the cemetery, next to it the Brecht House , photo from 1978

Monument preservation

Grave of Karl Friedrich Schinkel , in the background the mausoleum of the Hitzig family

Overall, the historical substance of the cemetery was repeatedly endangered. In difficult times - war, revolution or inflation  - willful destruction occurred, iron and non-ferrous metals were stolen, lack of money and lack of specialist knowledge prevented proper maintenance. In addition, various tombs were sold to master stonemasons for further use in the 1930s .

The public preservation of monuments began in 1935 with an initial inventory. The entire cemetery has been a listed building since 1983. Between 2000 and 2006 extensive listed restoration work was carried out on 38 graves so far. The graves of Christian Daniel Rauch , Johann Heinrich Strack and Karl Friedrich Schinkel were restored . The repair of the Strack grave alone, for which a special marble from Italy was needed, cost 250,000 euros. The next important project, planned for 2007, was the largest mausoleum in the cemetery, the tomb of the architect and Schinkel student Friedrich Hitzig . The frescoes still preserved here are among the last examples of this type in Berlin and were in critical condition. A total of 6 million euros has been estimated for the work on further graves over the next few years.

Buildings and works of art

Historical cast-iron grave decoration

Cast iron grave crosses
Family grave Kruger

In the first half of the 19th century, iron was a material that was widely used for artistic or decorative tasks. In Prussia it was particularly valued as a patriotic material since King Friedrich Wilhelm III. In March 1813, under the motto Gold I gave for iron, I had called for a rally to equip the freedom fighters against Napoleon . The numerous cast-iron crosses, figures and decorative elements in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof - as in other Prussian cemeteries - often came from the Königliche Eisengießerei Berlin , founded in 1804 , whose products were internationally known as Fer de Berlin . The widespread use of cast iron as an art material continued until the mid-19th century. In 1874 the royal foundry ceased operations. Iron bars border many of the grave sites in the Dorotheenstadt cemetery. There are a large number of cast iron grave crosses, often decorated with Christian symbols such as a flaming heart or anchor, as well as iron memorial plaques, professional insignia and symbolic figures. Outstanding examples of this type of design are the Jacobi and Pattri graves, but above all the cast iron monument on the grave of the mechanical engineer and co-founder of the Freundsche Eisengießerei Charlottenburg Martin August Freund . It is a Lekythos designed after an Attic model , which shows a relief of Norne Skuld . The figure was cast according to a design by the deceased's brother, Hermann Ernst Freund, in Copenhagen; the vase was made in the Gleiwitz iron foundry. The simplest form of the classicist tomb is represented by the Krüger family grave from 1844: iron tablets embedded in the wall. The Prussian court painter Franz Krüger is also buried here, who was nicknamed the Horse Krüger because of his perfect depictions of animals.

Steles, obelisks and wall graves

Gravestone for Johann George Hossauer
Grave stele of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and his wife, first from cast iron, destroyed in 1945 and 1950 by a representation of sandstone replaced

In 1821, Karl Friedrich Schinkel drew drafts for five different forms of steles that could be made as tombs in marble or granite , as well as a model for a tomb that was to be cast in bronze on behalf of the Association for Industry in Prussia . His designs are represented in several variants at the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof - but also elsewhere in Berlin cemeteries. The crowning of each of these steles consists of a palmette - acroterion (actually a gable ornament on Greek temples) with an allegorical figure. A typical example, here with three steles in front of recessed rectangular wall panels, is the grave of the goldsmith George Hossauer and his family. Further examples: the graves of Christian Peter Wilhelm Beuth , the father of Prussian industry and by Schinkel himself. At the suggestion of his friend Beuth, his grave was equipped with a stele based on Schinkel's design. Usual stelae forms exist as tombs of other personalities such as Philipp Buttmann, Eduard Gans or Friedrich Carl Rungenhagen .

The old form of the obelisk can also be found in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof. The design of a tall, cast-iron obelisk, which was made in the royal iron foundry in 1819 for the grave of the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, who died in 1814, probably came from Schinkel . This tomb was destroyed in 1945. Since 1950, a lower obelisk made of shell limestone or sandstone has stood in its place . Another obelisk made of granite marks the grave of the philologist and rector of the Berlin University August Boeckh, which carries a portrait medallion by Reinhold Begas.

The burial in wall graves took place mainly for larger families. This form usually shows a three-part facade projection (example Bramer grave) or as a triptych in the neo-Renaissance style (example Albert Dietrich Schadow)

Sarcophagi, small temples and mausoleums

The replica of ancient Roman sarcophagi can also be seen in this cemetery, as the tomb of the stonemason and master builder family Cantian shows. The graves of August Borsig, Johann Heinrich Strack and Alexander Calandrelli, among others, were built as small temples based on the Greek model. Finally, mausoleums were also erected in honor of the deceased, of which the Hitzig family is particularly noteworthy.

Mourning hall

In the access area of ​​the cemetery on Chausseestrasse there is a cemetery chapel from 1928 on the right-hand side . This small building was extensively restored and rebuilt after 1990 and was inaugurated on July 8, 2015 with a service held by Bishop Markus Dröge . At the same time, the light sculpture installed by the American sculptor and light artist James Turrell was presented to the public. In the gable windows, behind the tall, narrow panes on the side of the facade, there are large-area LEDs that work with changing colors. These shine one hour before sunset and penetrate the memorial room inside the chapel. In the apse and on the altar a "shadowless, comforting LED lighting" is installed. Since then, readings, poetry recitations and similar activities by friends of the celebrities buried in this churchyard have been taking place in the slightly watercolor glow of this art installation.

Builder and sculptor of the 19th century

Famous Berlin builders and sculptors of the 19th century as well as their students were involved in the grave furnishings of the Dorotheenstadt cemetery and are partly buried there. The eminent sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow designed the tombs for his second wife and for himself; His student Heinrich Kaehler had made a statuette of the master in his Berlin studio in 1822, which was placed on his grave in 1851.

At the end of the access path to the cemetery there has been a statue of Luther since 1975 - Ernst Waegner's copy of a work by Schadow that he originally created in 1821 for the market square in Wittenberg . The 2.2 meter high marble copy by Ernst Waegener, made in 1909, was initially in the Dorotheenstädtische Church, which was damaged by aerial bombs in 1943 and only demolished in 1965 despite being in good condition. The memorial had previously been relocated and temporarily stored in the Marienkirche near Alexanderplatz.

Even Christian Daniel Rauch , the younger, soon successful competitor Schadows got a tomb in its design, the portrait medallion on it comes from his pupil Albert Wolff . The portrait of the industrialist August Borsig on his elaborately designed grave site - designed by Johann Heinrich Strack, a pupil of Schinkel, who is also buried in the Dorotheenstadt cemetery - and the model for the gilded portrait medallion on Schinkel's grave stele comes from Rauch . August Kiss , another of Rauch's pupils, delivered the portrait medallion on the stele of the Beuth tomb. The grave of the builder Albert Dietrich Schadow is adorned with cast zinc figures by the sculptor Hermann Schievelbein , who was also buried here. A special case is the grave of the 'architect of the king' Friedrich August Stüler ; his canopy grave with portrait and richly ornamented iron grating had been destroyed at the end of the war in 1945; since 1996 a modern iron construction of a similar shape and size, again with a portrait bust, has replaced the former grave equipment.

Special facilities

Resistance fighters

Memorial for resistance fighters

A towering cross made of rolled steel profiles and a stone block are reminiscent of resistance fighters who were murdered by the National Socialists . The stone bears the names of Klaus Bonhoeffer , Hans John , Richard Kuenzer, Carl Adolf Marks , Wilhelm zur Nieden , Friedrich Justus Perels , Rüdiger Schleicher and Hans Ludwig Sierks . You were involved in the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20, 1944 and were imprisoned in Lehrter Strasse. On the night of April 22-23, 1945, they were killed by an SS commando in a nearby park. We also remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans von Dohnanyi , who were killed in the Flossenbürg and Sachsenhausen concentration camps , and Justus Delbrück , who saw the end of the war but died a little later in Russian custody.

In the immediate vicinity of this memorial, a plaque indicates a mass grave of 64 people, some of whom were unknown, who perished in the vicinity of the cemetery in the last days of the Second World War.

Academy of Arts

The Akademie der Künste has acquired the rights of use for a small area delimited by low hedges . Members of the academy are buried here, including the graphic artist and painter René Graetz , the writer Anna Seghers , and the poet Erich Arendt . Lin Jaldati also rests here - this is the stage name of a Jewish woman who was born in Amsterdam and who managed to survive in three concentration camps; after the liberation she was successful as a dancer and singer of Jewish songs.

Graves since the 1970s

The City of Berlin looks after a number of honorary graves at the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof . Worthy personalities from politics and intellectual life were and are buried here, for example Günter Gaus († 2004), journalist - from 1974 to 1981 he headed the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany in the GDR, with its official seat on Hannoversche Strasse, just beyond the cemetery wall ; Hans Mayer († 2001), literary scholar and critic who left the GDR early as an uncomfortable thinker; the playwright Heiner Müller († 1995) - at the grave of the passionate cigar smoker there is a bird bath in the form of an ashtray; Peter Palitzsch († 2004), initially assistant to Bertolt Brecht at the Berliner Ensemble as director ; Johannes Rau († 2006), the eighth President of the Federal Republic, who had expressly requested this final resting place. In 2010 the GDR civil rights activist and painter Bärbel Bohley was buried in the cemetery, as was the West Berlin Communard and apo activist Fritz Teufel . In 2012 the director Kurt Maetzig was buried in the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, in 2013 the writer Wolfgang Herrndorf , the cultural scientist and politician Lothar Bisky and the actor Otto Sander .

The songwriter Wolf Biermann mentioned the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof and some of the people buried there ( Brecht , Weigel , Hegel , Eisler , Langhoff , Heartfield , Becher ) in the song Der Huguenot Cemetery (1969) - whereby Biermann obviously succumbed to an error, because the Huguenot cemetery , i.e. H. the French cemetery of the French Reformed Congregation is directly adjacent to the Dorotheenstädtischen, but not identical with it.


Buried personalities


Grave of Erich Arendt
Grave of Egon Bahr
Grave of Thomas Brasch


Grave of Paul Dessau
Gravestone for Adolf Dresen


Gravestone for Steffy and Hanns Eisler



Grave of Günter Gaus
Grave of the visual artist René Graetz


Grave of John Heartfield

Y – K

Grave for the actor Wolf Kaiser




Gravestone for Johannes Rau



Gravestone for Anna Seghers


Grave of Fritz Teufel
Gravestone for Beatrice and Arnold Zweig

See also


Guided tours and events deal with the history and the present of the cemetery.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i Institute for Monument Preservation (Ed.): The architectural and art monuments of the GDR. Capital Berlin-I . Henschelverlag, Berlin 1984, p. 332 ff .
  2. ^ A b Landesdenkmalamt Berlin: Monuments in Berlin. Mitte district. 2003, p. 655.
  3. ^ Landesdenkmalamt Berlin: Monuments in Berlin. Mitte district. 2003, p. 77.
  4. Institute for Monument Preservation (Ed.): The architectural and art monuments of the GDR. Capital Berlin-II . Henschelverlag, Berlin 1984, p. 154 ff .
  5. a b c Landesdenkmalamt Berlin: Monuments in Berlin. Mitte district. 2003, p. 656.
  6. ^ Landesdenkmalamt Berlin: Monuments in Berlin. Mitte district. 2003, p. 656, personalities 792.
  7. Chapel at the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof on www.nedelykov-moreira.de; accessed on April 25, 2018.
  8. Ingeborg Ruthe: Turrell's light and the voices of the dead . In: Berliner Zeitung , 7./8. April 2018, p. 26.
  9. ^ Landesdenkmalamt Berlin: Monuments in Berlin. Mitte district. 2003, p. 655, note 793.
  10. ^ Marina Mai: Birthday of the cemetery: Watering cans and history . In: The daily newspaper: taz . November 21, 2019, ISSN  0931-9085 ( taz.de [accessed July 20, 2020]).

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '42.3 "  N , 13 ° 23' 1.3"  E