• Weißensee Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish Cemetery in Berlin's Weißensee district is the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Many famous doctors, authors and scientists are buried here. Several memorial stones at the cemetery honour the victims of the Holocaust.
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, October 1945, Remembrance ceremony to the Jewish victims of fascism, SLUB/Deutsche Fotothek, Abraham Pisarek
Berlin-Weißensee, October 1945, Remembrance ceremony to the Jewish victims of fascism, SLUB/Deutsche Fotothek, Abraham Pisarek

Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the main entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the main entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
The Jewish community of Berlin grew significantly during the 19th Century, and it soon needed a new, larger cemetery. The community purchased a plot of land over forty hectares large in Weißensee – back then still a suburb of Berlin. From 1880 on, Berlin Jews could bury their next of kin here. The tombs at Weißensee reflect the social developments taking place in Berlin at the time. Many of the wealthier families preferred magnificent family graves, and, what is unusual for Jewish cemeteries, the graves were increasingly built in the pompous style typical for the Wilhelmine era. Simple graves, more typical for Jewish tombs, can be found in those parts of the cemetery where representatives of the middle class buried their dead. In order to cope with the large number of burials, a second mourning hall was built in 1910. During the First World War, the Jewish community set up an honorary plot for Jewish soldiers killed in action.
After 1933, many young Jews who were planning to emigrate to Palestine were trained in gardening and farming at the cemetery nursery in order to gain a foothold in their new home more easily. Some Jews sought refuge from Gestapo raids in this vast area; the large family tombs were particularly suited for hiding.
In 1944, hundreds of graves as well as the second chapel, in which 500 Torah scrolls were hidden, were destroyed in air raids. Towards the end of the Second World War, the Jewish cemetery was one of only two Jewish institutions still officially operating in Berlin – the other was a Jewish hospital.
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, October 1945, Remembrance ceremony to the Jewish victims of fascism, SLUB/Deutsche Fotothek, Abraham Pisarek
Berlin-Weißensee, October 1945, Remembrance ceremony to the Jewish victims of fascism, SLUB/Deutsche Fotothek, Abraham Pisarek

Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the main entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the main entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
When the deportations from Berlin began, the number of Jews who committed suicide grew rapidly. Between 1941 and 1945, according to official records, about 1,900 people who had committed suicide were buried at Weißensee.
Jewish communist resistance fighter Herbert Baum was buried at Weißensee. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 and brutally abused. Until today, the circumstances of his death remain unresolved. The Gestapo consequently arrested and murdered 27 further members of the Herbert Baum group.
Image: no place given, undated, Herbert Baum, SAPMO-BArch, Bild Y 10 - 7364
no place given, undated, Herbert Baum, SAPMO-BArch, Bild Y 10 - 7364

Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Family tomb at the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Family tomb at the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
The cemetery complex and the chapel in the entrance area were designed by architect Hugo Licht in neo-renaissance style. The plots in the complex are geometrically divided into rectangles, trapezes and triangles.
The first post-war public Jewish service was held here on May 11, 1945. In the 1980s, the cemetery was declared a cultural monument of the GDR. Only then were preservation efforts begun in order to prevent a further decline of the cemetery.
Located in the entrance area is a monument to the Jews who perished in the Holocaust. The monument is encircled by stones on which the names of the largest concentration camps have been engraved. Herbert Baum's grave also recalls the murdered members of his resistance group. The Jewish community also had a former urn field reinstated and the ashes of Auschwitz victims laid to rest there. A further grave contains the Torah scrolls which were damaged in an air raid and subsequently buried according to Jewish custom.
The cemetery archive, which contains numerous priceless documents, survived the National Socialist era undamaged. Today, it is administered by the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation.
The State of Berlin and the Jewish community of Berlin are currently undertaking efforts to have the Weißensee cemetery declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Herbert Baum's grave, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Herbert Baum's grave, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone at the entrance of the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Graves of Jewish soldiers fallen during the First World War, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Graves of Jewish soldiers fallen during the First World War, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone to partisans and soldiers of the Red Army, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Memorial stone to partisans and soldiers of the Red Army, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, At the Jewish Cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, At the Jewish Cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, At the Jewish Cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, At the Jewish Cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Family tomb at the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Berlin-Weißensee, 2010, Family tomb at the cemetery, Stiftung Denkmal
Name
Jüdischer Friedhof Weißensee
Address
Herbert-Baum-Straße 45/Markus-Reich-Platz 1
13088 Berlin
Phone
+49(0) 30 925 3330
Fax
+49(0) 30 923 762 96
Web
http://www.jewish-cemetery-weissensee.org
E-Mail
info@jewish-cemetery-weissensee.org
Open
April to September:
Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
October to March:
Sunday to Thursday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.