Did you know that until 1922 the plaza in front of Berlin’s oldest railway station had a rather irregular shape and required special design efforts because of an eighteenth-century cemetery that stood in the way? The old Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof – Holy Trinity Cemetery – was the first burial ground of the Holy Trinity Parish and even though it was not much used for the purpose it opened for, it remained in the very heart of Berlin for nearly two centuries, providing shade to weary travellers – who could lean against its walls but could never enter – and a lot of headache to the city-planners.

To learn more about the forgotten Berlin burial site, listen to the new episode of Berlin Companion Podcast on your podcast-streaming platform of choice. Landing Saturday, June 4th at 9 AM Berlin time!

What do large cities do when they run out of space to bury their dead? They go beyond their limits. Traditionally all large European cities like Paris, Vienna or London eventually established new burial sites further and further from their centre. Vienna even considered using the pneumatic tube system to transport their deceased to the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery).

By the end of the nineteenth century Berlin faced a similar problem and dealt with it the same way: by opening new cemeteries on its outskirts. In two cases it went even further: it set up new burial grounds in Brandenburg. Here’s a short story of one of them and the railway line (not a pneumatic one) built to serve its guests – a line which opened for regular service on June 3, 1913.

To visit Stahnsdorf Cemetery with a guide, please visit the cemetery’s web page at
Veranstaltungen – Südwestkirchhof Stahnsdorf (suedwestkirchhof.de)

To find out more about the famous Berliners buried in Stahnsdorf visit:
Wikipedia page of the cemetery

To see maps of the railway line known as “Leichenbahn” visit (highly recommended) page of
Stadtschnellbahn-Berlin

To watch a short film presenting the state of the line’s remains today go to
The Vanished Railway Line to Stahnsdorf by AirBerl

Sounds:
Main theme: “Assembly Line Frustration” © Ionics Music | TerraSound.de

Via Freesound:
Bells and religious hymn on the top of “Dell’Avocata” mountain by Felix Blume
“Magnificat” by Tarikki
“Spooky Dark Pad” by John Wally
“Secundo tempore2” by John Wally
“Train Stopping” by Vlatko Blazek
“Gates of Heaven” by Theo Ther
“Wales Steam-train” by Jrosin

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The 1920s in Berlin were an incredible time, full both of misery and wonder. It was the time which brought both the worst and the best in people who lived there. And sometimes it helped pave way for genius. Or future classics.

Episode 5 of Berlin Companion Podcast tells the story of one such classic made in Berlin.





Sound effects:

BBC Sound Effects Archive
bbc_animals—_07037493 piegeons cooing
bbc_animals fighting for food

Freesound
Suspense Comedy” by Tyops
Ambient Traut” by Vann Westfold
Silent Movie – Sam Fox – Hurry Music” by FreqMan

Storyblocks 

Main theme: “Assembly Line Frustration” © Ionics Music | TerraSound.de

You can follow Berlin Companion on:

Twitter at @kreuzberged and @BerlinCompanion

In April 1945, as the Red Army was closing its grip on Berlin, coming closer and closer to Hitler’s last refuge under the Chancellery gardens, one of his favourite pilots managed to fly a small aeroplane into the burning capital and land it near Brandenburg Gate. On board she carried a wounded future head of the Nazi Luftwaffe.

Aircraft Capitan Hanna Reitsch. Here is the story of her remarkable Berlin coup. And of her post-war denial.

EPISODE 8 DEATH AND RAILWAYS: THE CEMETERY AT POTSDAMER BAHNHOF Berlin Companion Podcast

Last week we  talked about the long-vanished cemetery railway line which connected Berlin-Wannsee with Germany's second largest burial site, Berlin's Südwestfriedhof Stahnsdorf. This episode remains in the realm of both the dead and the railways but with a serious shift towards Berlin's centre. This time we are travelling to the first half of the eighteenth century and will take it from there until we have reached (and left) one of Berlin's best-known railway termini, Potsdamer Bahnhof. To see images of the old Dreifaltigkeitsfriedhof visit:File:M Dreifaltigkeitskirche Berlin 1910.jpg – Wikimedia CommonsView of the church seen from Mohrenstraße looking west over Zietenplatz (Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1982-1213-508 / CC-BY-SA 3.0) – Wikipedia To see photos of the first and the second Potsdamer Bahnhof look here:First Potsdamer Bahnhof on a 1843  steel engraving by C Schulin after a drawing by E. Henning and in 1850 by an unknown author (both images in PD) 1890 Potsdamer Bahnhof with the cemetery before it (image in PD, here via Bildindex and Wikipedia)You can see the exact position of the cemetery on the historic 1846 Berlin map here:Kreuzberged – Berlin Companion Sounds:Main theme: “Assembly Line Frustration" © Ionics Music | TerraSound.deVia Freesound:"Bells and religious hymn on the top of "Dell'Avocata" mountain" by Felix Blume"Train Stopping" by Vlatko Blazek via Freesound"Gates of Heaven" by Theo Ther via Freesound"Wales Steam-train" by Jrosin via Freesoundbbc_animals–f_07028130 via BBC Sound Effects"Wind howling" via BBC Sound Effects07037493 pigeons cooing via BBC Sound EffectsWater Trickling by Yoyodaman234 via Freesound20070808.horse.wav by Dobroid via FreesoundU1 nearing Hallesches Tor by Katja Schäfer via SoundcloudSupport the show
  1. EPISODE 8 DEATH AND RAILWAYS: THE CEMETERY AT POTSDAMER BAHNHOF
  2. EPISODE 7 COFFINS ON WHEELS: THE CORPSE TRAIN OF BERLIN
  3. EP 6 SLEEPING IN BERLIN: LIVING IN A BOX
  4. Ep 5 SOUND IN BERLIN. WHEN HITCHOCK COMES TO TOWN
  5. Ep. 4 LANDING IN BERLIN