Photo by Eugénie Novellati
If you didn’t get your fill of graveyards on Halloween (and believe all that candy should be distributed more equally anyway), why not pay homage to communism’s fallen heroes at the Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde?
The cemetery has been a popular resting place for socialist leaders since before World War I. When 33 communists – including Karl Lieb knecht and Rosa Luxemburg – were shot during and after the Spartacus uprising in January 1919, demonstrators made sure they were all buried at the so-called “Sozialistenfriedhof”, cementing the graveyard’s importance as a sacred site of remembrance.
In 1951, the newly formed GDR built a new monument, the Gedenkstätte der Sozialisten, and began using the Zentralfriedhof as a place to hold state funerals for “truly socialist people”.But among the 32-hectare site’s graves, you’ll also find pre-GDR luminaries such as artist Käthe Kollwitz, as well as regular citizens. In 1978 the graveyard expanded to include a monument for Nazi victims.
The Zentralfriedhof hasn’t neglected the dark side of socialism either: in 2006, a new monument was erected to remember the victims of Stalinism. As for the GDR’s perpetrators, they’re also buried there – but don’t look for Stasi leader Erich Mielke’s grave; it’s been intentionally left unmarked. Spymaster Markus Wolf has also been resting in Friedrichsfelde since 2006, sharing the tombstone of his equally famous elder brother, the socialist film director Konrad Wolf.