Weissensee Jewish Cemetery
I didn’t expect to, but I love this place. It is extraordinarily peaceful with gentle snow flakes falling creating blanket of calm and peace all around. The cushion of white and towering trees all above causes such a quiet, tranquil setting. All I hear are my boots crunching the snow underneath my feet and the pretty birds singing above, seemingly enjoying the fluffy flakes even though they must wonder what’s going on, since this is also the first day of spring.
It is almost like I am in a big, forested park save for all the headstones in the snow. I am standing in the Weißensee Cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe which was inaugurated in 1880. More than 100,000 people have found their final resting place here.
Right at the entrance, I walk past a monument commemorating the six million Jews who were victims of Nazi persecution. On stones arranged in a circle, the names of all the major concentration camps are inscribed.
In the north corner of the cemetery, there is a burial place for about 90 of the Torah scrolls which were desecrated during the pogrom night of 1938 (Kristallnacht).
Along with the calm, there is an inescapable feeling of melancholy. Of course, when looking at the dates on the headstones, there is an obvious gap in time. All the deaths pre-date WWII. And then nothing until more recent times. What strikes me is here are hundreds and hundreds of people whose families are no more. They ended right here as it is very likely their children were all killed during the war, ending the family line…just like that.
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