A Cemetery in Leipzig

23 Nov

Previously I mentioned that we went to Leipzig to look for my grandfather’s burial place. Today I want to publish some more pictures about our excursion to Leipzig.

We had come by train from Berlin arriving at the Main Station in Leipzig (Hauptbahnhof)

A tram took us to the Southern Cemetery (Südfriedhof). When we got of the tram we could see the Völkerschlachtdenkmal.

Crossing the road, we found ourselves right at what looked to us like the main entrance to the cemetery. There was a friendly lady in the building next to the entrance. She had the particulars of the graves at hand which were still under the care of the cemetery. People usually pay a fee which covers five years of care. If for any reason a renewal fee isn’t paid anymore, the grave site becomes a new plot for a new grave. My grandfather’s grave dated from February 1947. I knew that some of my cousins had continued to pay for the care of it. We even knew that the grave should be in section XXIV. I asked the lady could she please look up whether the grave-site still existed. The lady said, indeed, this particular grave was still under their care. It had been paid for till the year 2017. She showed us on the map where section XXIV was. This was it. We didn’t get any information about the position of the grave. We thought with the help of the grave’s number we should be able to find it anyway. Each grave under care had a particular number. We had the number of our grave. However to see the number you had to remove a stick from the soil. Then you could see the number underneath the stick. The problem was the numbers were not arranged in a consecutive order. We found the section all right. The grave-site number? This was another matter. We saw a young working woman who saw to the surrounding garden areas. She tried to help us find what we were looking for. She couldn’t work it out either where this particular site was. A gravestone with my grandfather’s name on it? Forget it. We covered the whole section, right left and center. We found nothing. In the end I felt rather tired and had a rest on a wooden bench while Peter kept on searching. Nothing! We hadn’t packed any food. Somehow we assumed we would be able to buy some food somewhere. But then except for flower-shops there had been nothing near the entrance. The toilet near the entrance was under repair. In the middle section of this huge cemetery there were toilet facilities which had been indicated at the entrance. Eventually we were heading for this middle section which turned out to be very beautiful: There were lovely well kept garden sections and stunning buildings with comforts, plenty of water and even a prayer room. Eating something, well, this had to wait. There was an office. Peter made inquiries. In this office every particular about every grave from way back was filed away. The lady from this office was able to give us a print-out with the exact position of the grave. Immediately we were full of hope again and we headed all the way back to section XXIV. We searched, and searched, and searched. We knew we were in the right area. Still no grave. We just could not see it! What was wrong? We didn’t know. I took another rest on that bench where I had been sitting before. Peter roamed about close by. The rest of the story is in the following pictures to be seen.

 

Me, taking a rest

We definitely had entered the right section.

Peter contemplated in front of this more recent gravestone that here was a person who’s name ended in “….mann”. But where was “Spickermann?”

Peter picked up the stick at the end of this grave site that said it was still under care.

He turned over the stick, looked at the bottom of it. This was it. He shouted over to me: Darling, Darling, I found something!

Look, look, look at the name!

Wow, I had been sitting close to Grandfather’s burial ground all along!

This is how this 65 year old gravestone has been supported for I don’t know how long.

Walking through this cemetery with its tall trees was actually quite uplifting and relaxing. Lots of autumn leaves on the ground already.

View to the middle section of this huge cemetery where the Crematorium is. I might publish about this a bit more some other time.

An excellent cup of coffee was on offer in one of the flower shops close to the cemetery. We were told they didn’t sell any food yet. With the coffee we did get a very tiny biscuit.

After coffee we had the energy to walk a bit closer to this impressive memorial.

The tram took us to the city center of Leipzig where we indulged in a beautiful meal in the old council building’s restaurant. .

This is where we had a lovely cooked meal.

As desert Peter and I shared “Leipziger Quarkkeilchen”. They were delicious. Exactly the way my grandmother used to make them

 

10 Responses to “A Cemetery in Leipzig”

  1. The Emu November 23, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    What a beautiful story with a heart warming ending
    Emu

    • auntyuta November 24, 2012 at 4:03 am #

      ‘The Singing Gardens, aptly named as one sits amongst the gardens and closes their eyes, you can hear natures orchestra playing amongst the mountain trees, combined with a cacophony of birds that bring the whole of natures wonderland to life.’
      This truly sounds like natures wonderland to me. I’m still in the process of digesting all the experiences of this long trip to Germany. I just went over to your site, Ian aka The Emu. Found your recent post there with the above description. Was wonderful to come across it at the start of the day.
      Thanks, Ian, for reading my above story and liking it.

  2. island traveler November 24, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Beautiful pictures. Amazing journey. It’s an inspiration to see you and Peter discover your family’s burial ground. You grandfather is smiling in heaven knowing he was remembered with love. Take care.

    • auntyuta November 24, 2012 at 11:25 am #

      Thanks very much, IT, for this beautiful comment. There are still a few people alive who knew him personally and remember him with love and immense respect. It would be great if this burial ground could be kept in the family. I talked to some descendents who showed an interest in it. Descendents are plentiful, however there’s a scarcity of male descendents, which means the name Spickermann may be on the verge of dying out.The Spickermanns used to be a very close knit family in the industrial city of Lodz during the 1800s and up to the end of WW II. None of them live in Lodz anymore. They are spread all over Germany and even America and Australia.

  3. Three Well Beings November 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

    Beautiful photos! I’m glad you found your grandfather’s grave after such a wild goose hunt! I spent some time today in the cemetery in my town where my great-grandparents are buried. There is something very meaningful to me about remembering our loved ones and giving a little time to ‘meeting’ them at their final resting place. It’s much easier for me because the family hasn’t spread too far abroad. Lovely post!

  4. auntyuta November 25, 2012 at 11:30 pm #

    Thank you so much for commenting, Debra. I am glad you liked this post.
    To me these resting places are very important in a historical sense and of course for remembering our forbears. Peter’s grandfather for instance died as a soldier in France in 1916. Some time ago Peter got in touch with the ‘Deutsche Kriegsgräber Fürsorge’. They were able to find out the exact position of the grave and sent him a picture of it. This is very precious to Peter. This grandfather, Otto, died when Peter’s father was only sixteen. Peter often thinks back how Otto may have found his death during WW I. He read up on the battles that went on in the area at the time. Maybe grandfather died of injuries he received in one of the battles.
    Since Peter and I live in Australia we could never keep up with all the resting places that are spread in Europe over quite some distances. The relatives close to individual resting places usually see to this. This particular resting place in Leipzig probably had hardly ever been visited since none of our family still lives in Leipzig. It is remarkable though that some of my cousins felt the need to keep paying for the upkeep of this particular site.

  5. Munira November 26, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    What a beautiful place to be buried……I’m amazed that you managed to ultimately find the elusive grave! And really glad you got to have a good cup of coffee, even though there was no place to eat as such.
    That 9th picture is simply breahtaking!

    • auntyuta November 26, 2012 at 5:46 am #

      Thank you very much, dear Munira, for this lovely comment. Strangely enough we didn’t feel all that hungry on that day. And since we had a very good meal later on in the city, we thought we’ve had a really good day.

  6. berlioz1935 November 26, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Dear Aunty Uta, I’m happy I could share the time with you searching for your Granddad’s grave. The South Cemetery in Leipzig is a beautiful place with the monument for the great decisive battle of Leipzig in 1813, against Napoleons Armies, nearby. The monument is being restored for next year’s bicentenary of the battle.

    It was quiet amazing that you were, unknown to you, resting only a meter away from the grave we were looking for. I think, your Granddad was looking for you to come and he set you down to have a rest, as you are much older now then he was when he passed away.

    • auntyuta November 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

      Thank you very much, Berlioz, for this beautiful comment. And I thank for for always being on my side when I need you. Much Love, Uta.

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