Hidden right off gentrified and tourist-frequented Chausseestrasse, between the Berthold Brecht-Literaturforum and the French (or Hugenot) cemetery, lies Berlin’s version of Pere Lachaise: the Dorotheenstadt cemetery. Not as large as the famous necropolis of the French capital and not as frequented, this 18th century graveyard nevertheless has an impressive number of celebrity graves and, more important, is an unsuspected quiet area right next to a busy thoroughfare. It’s a good place for a break and a stroll.
A small area surrounded by a low hedge is reserved for members of the nearby Berlin Academy of Arts, such as Lin Jaldati, a Jew who survived three concentration camps to make a successful career as a dancer and singer of Jewish songs. Today the city of Berlin maintains a number of honorary graves for people who made distinguished contributions in politics and culture, including the playwright Heiner Müller (a bird bath shaped like an ashtray adorns the notorious cigar smoker’s grave); and Johannes Rau, the eighth president of West Germany, who expressly wished to be buried here. And then there are the writers: Berthold Brecht and his wife Helene Weigel, who spent their last years in a house right next to the cemetery; and my favorite grave, that of GDR writer Christa Wolf, where visitors leave colorful pens in a small vase as a token of respect.
Dorotheenstadt Cemetery | Art & culture, Relaxing | Free
08:00 – 17:00 daily