Jewish Cemeteries in Berlin

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Berlin has five Jewish cemeteries, some of them are still in use. There were other, mainly medieval cemeteries that don't exist anymore. It's important to note that this overview is written from a very general, touristic perspective - a personal relation changes everything, of course.

Among the five that exist nowadays, the first three are the most important cemeteries:

1. The old cemetery at Hamburger Straße

Although it was destroyed in World War II and hardly has any headstones, it is Berlin's most famous and also most frequently visited Jewish cemetery - also because of it's location within the Jewish Quarter, between many other important places. It was opened in 1672 and was in use until 1827. The most famous person buried here is the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), for whom a new headstone has been created.

Old Jewish Cemetery in Berlin

2. The cemetery at Schönhauser Allee

From 1827 this was the community's cemetery. At this time, Berlin underwent a massive change and became the capital of the new German nation state as well as a major industrial center. The city - and with it, the Jewish community - grew so fast that the cemetery had to be closed and replaced by a new one in 1880. Some families though continued to use their plots much later, even after 1945. During the war, the cemetery was damaged by air raids but not destroyed. The most famous person buried here is the painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935).

Jewish Cemetery Schönhauser Allee

3. The cemetery in Weißensee

Opened in 1880, this cemetery was supposed to meet the community's increasing needs for generations to come. Today, in fact, it is Europe's largest still active Jewish cemetery with more than 115,000 graves. Not destroyed in the war, it demonstrates well the tremendous changes in Berlin's Jewish community before the Holocaust - its difficult path through the modern era, its ambition to assimilate into the German society as well as its achievements in science, arts and business. Many famous people are buried here, each with his or her own remarkable story. Moreover, the cemetery features a stunning variety of architectural styles, from common headstones to modern mausoleums.

Jewish Cemetery in Berlin Weissensee

These three cemeteries are frequented by tourists, though not equally often. The old Jewish cemetery is naturally a part of our tour through the Jewish Quarter. The cemeteries of Schönhauser Allee and Weißensee are not in that area and can be considered as options for advanced Jewish tourists, who have already seen the basic places.

The other two still existing cemeteries are these:

4. The cemetery of Adas Yisroel

The radical changes in the Jewish community - away from tradition and towards assimilation - led to a schism and to the creation of an independent haredi community called Adas Yisroel. They opened their own cemetery in Weißensee, also in use since 1880. Even though it's in the same area as the main Weißensee cemetery, these are two different places. The most famous person buried here is Rabbi Azriel Hildesheimer (1820-1899).

Adass Yisroel Cemetery in Berlin

5. The cemetery at Heerstraße

Berlin's newest - and, from a touristic perspective, probably least interesting - cemetery is an outcome of the city's division during the Cold War. The Weißensee cemetery was in East-Berlin and therefore out of reach for West-Berlin's Jewish community. The most famous person buried here is Heinz Galinski (1912-1992), the influential chairman of West-Berlin's Jewish community for many years.

New Jewish Cemetery in Berlin

Unlike the first three, these two are, from a tourist perspective, much less important and are rarely visited by tourists.