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Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof

Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof (Alter Sankt-Matthäus-Kirchhof or Old St. Matthew's Churchyard) is a cemetery in Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany.[1] It was established in 1856 by the Protestant parish of St. Matthew. It is known for its interment of the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, folklore tellers "Cinderella" ("Aschenputtel"), "The Frog Prince" ("Der Froschkönig"), "Hansel and Gretel" ("Hänsel und Gretel"), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" ("Rumpelstilzchen"), and "Snow White" ("Schneewittchen");[2] Rudolf Virchow, variously known as "father of modern pathology", "father of modern medicine" or "father of social medicine";[3][4] and Claus von Stauffenberg, a German Army officer who almost assassinated Adolf Hitler.[5] As for Staufenberg, his corpse was exhumed by the SS on 22 July 1944, the day after his burial, and cremated to remove any traces of him. His tombstone, however, remains intact.[6]


File:Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof.jpg
Way through the cemetery

A Protestant parish named St. Matthäus (St. Matthew) was established in 1846 in southern Tiergarten area of Schöneberg. With the growing residents of eminent officials and scientists by the late 19th century, it became known as the "Privy Councilor's Quarters". The parish acquired a plot of land on the nearby hillside for their cemetery in 1854. It was first used for the purpose on 25 March 1856. It soon attracted even non-parishioners so that it had to be extended by 1883. To raise its value, interment fee for non-parishioners was increased in 1877. Due to impending saturation of the space, it was approved in 1890 that only the parishioners could use the cemetery. For non-parishioners, a new cemetery was created near the city. In 1909, a concrete funeral chapel was established in place of a small wooden chapel built in 1876. The artistic designs of the graveyard and chapel reflects the works of architects, sculptors, and artisans of the Prussian Empire. The German Reichstag planned to expand Berlin with demolition of the cemetery under Albert Speers' project. During 1938-1939, the northern section, covering one-third of the area, was demolished. The rest was to be done away by 1941. The government's investment in World War II led to loss of attention to the plan.[1] However, a number of graves were destroyed as Berlin was ravaged by the Allies towards the end of the war. After the war, the area is known as "Red Island" as it served as a strategic location, being netween two railway lines, for Nazi resistance.[7] The parish was dissolved in 2001, and the cemetery was took over by the Evangelische Zwölf-Apostel-Kirchengemeinde (The Twelve Apostle Church) of Berlin. The City of Berlin had declared about 60 graves as heritage sites.[8]

Important burials

Year Name Notability Image Grave
1859 Wilhelm Grimm of Brothers Grimm Academic, linguist, cultural researcher, lexicographer, author, folklorist, known for tales such as Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, and Snow White 75px 75px
1863 Jakob Grimm, the older Brothers Grimm As above Above right Above right
1887 Gustav Kirchhoff Theoretical physicist who invented black body radiation and Kirchoff's laws 75px 75px
1891 Leopold Kronecker with wife Fanni Kronecker Professor of Mathematics at Berlin University 75px 75px
1902 Rudolf Virchow and wife Rose Virchow Medical doctor, anthropologist, pathologist, biologist, politician; discoverer of the third tenet of cell theory, leukemia, chordoma, ochronosis 75px 75px
1920 Max Bruch and wife Clara Buch Composer and conductor 75px 75px
1944 Claus von Stauffenberg German Army Colonel and executioner of the Operation Valkyrie to assassinate Adolf Hitler 75px 75px


  1. ^ a b Mertens, Lutz; Wenzel, Marita. "The Old St. Matthew's Cemetery in Berlin-Schöneberg" (in German). Zwölf-Apostel-Kirchhofsverwaltung (Twelve Apostles Cemetery Administration). Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Hettinga, Donald (2001). The Brothers Grimm. New York: Clarion. ISBN 978-0-618-05599-9. 
  3. ^ "Virchow, Rudolf". Appletons' Cyclopaedia for 1902. NY: D. Appleton & Company. 1903. pp. 520–521. 
  4. ^ Weisenberg, Elliot (2009). "Rudolf Virchow, pathologist, anthropologist, and social thinker". Hektoen International Journal. Online. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Florio, Michael. "Claus Schenk Graf Von Stauffenberg". Find a Grave. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Porter, Erin. "Visiting the Brothers Grimm Graves". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Old St. Matthäus Churchyard". Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "Old St. Matthews Cemetery" (PDF). Evangelische Zwölf-Apostel-Kirchengemeinde. Retrieved 28 November 2014.