Berlin Cemeteries

On the following pages, the history of the Berlin’s cemetery system from the Middle Ages to the present day will be described in a brief summary.

The progress over time has been structured into five sections: Before 1800, 1800 to 1920, 1920 to 1948, 1948 to 1990, and after 1990.

The sections describe the change in the manner of handling death, and hence also the change in cemetery culture, with the respective effects on the design and function of graveyards and cemeteries.

Berlin Cemeteries before 1800

The immediately adjoining medieval cities of Berlin and Cölln were first mentioned in documents dating from the middle of the 13th century. From that time until the 18th century, the dead were for the most part buried in churches and on church graveyards, i.e., directly around the churches. Berlin Cemeteries before 1800

Berlin Cemeteries, 1800 to 1920

Until the beginning of the 19th century, there were only a few institutional cemeteries, such as the Invalidenfriedhof (Invalids' Cemetery), opened in 1748, and the Garnisonsfriedhof (Garrison Cemetery), presumably opened in 1702 or 1706; other than that, there were only denominational cemeteries. Berlin Cemeteries, 1800 to 1920

Berlin Cemeteries, 1920 to 1948

In 1920, the municipality of Greater Berlin was established by the union of a total of ninety-four single communities, in which there were numerous municipal and denominational cemeteries. Berlin Cemeteries, 1920 to 1948

Berlin Cemeteries, 1948 to 1990

The developments in the eastern and western parts of the city proceeded differently, even with respect to the cemetery system. In East Berlin, the existing cemetery land was generally sufficient. In West Berlin there was more likely to be a shortage of burial space. Berlin Cemeteries, 1948 to 1990

Berlin Cemeteries since 1990

With reunification, Berlin state law was consolidated. The existing West Berlin cemetery law was now applicable to the cemeteries in the eastern part of the city as well. Berlin Cemeteries since 1990