The socialist graveyard

Is your goth side going through political crisis? Why not reconcile at the resting place of the communist dead
. Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde not only pays homage to communism’s fallen heroes, but reminds us of the grimmer aspects as well.

Image for The socialist graveyard
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.