Große Hamburger Straße Cemetery

District: Mitte
Address before 1945: Große Hamburger Straße 26
Address today: Große Hamburger Straße 26, 10115 Berlin

From 1671, Jews were allowed to continuously reside in Brandenburg and, by extension, in Berlin. In the following year, they received permission to establish a cemetery. It remained in use until 1827. Among others, the philosopher Moses Mendelsohn (1729-1786) was buried here. From 1844, the area in front of the now non-active cemetery was occupied by the Jüdisches Altersheim Große Hamburger Straße (see Jewish Home for the Aged Große Hamburger Straße).
In 1943 members of the Gestapo laid waste to the final resting place of an estimated 7,000 individuals, containing some 3,000 grave markers. They dug trenches on the burial ground using dislodged gravestones as tools. Shortly before the end of the Second World War, fallen soldiers and civilians killed in the bombing raids were buried here in mass graves.
In August 1945, the remains of Heinrich Müller (1900-1945) — from October 1939 head of the Gestapo — were buried in one of the mass graves. He had committed suicide at the beginning of May of that year. In 1973, the East Berlin city administration removed the still extant graves of Jews as well as the wooden crosses erected for those who died in the bombing raids. All that remained was a symbolic memorial stone (which would subsequently be replaced many times) close to Moses Mendelsohn’s presumed gravesite, as well as a sarcophagus constructed out of the fragments of shattered gravestones. In 2007 and 2008, the cemetery/memorial site was redeveloped. Since then, a plaque has informed visitors of the mass graves on the site. In 2009, gravestones and gravestone fragments from the Große Hamburger Straße Cemetery that had been removed to Weißensee Cemetery were returned their original location.

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