Friday, May 25, 2012

"Here lies..." (The Pragfriedhof, Stuttgart)






Pragfriedhof, (Friedhof = cemetery) is located not terribly far from the main train station of Stuttgart. It is rather large, but more importantly, it is particularly interesting. It is home to many notables of Württemberg and world history as well to those whose names would never be recognized outside of Stuttgart itself.





The cemetery boasts a plethora of designs, moods and wit in the grave stones and statuary ranging from mourning maidens to stately structures and irons casts of birds and wistful youthful figures. It is most definitely a place to be visited for all it has to show in such a serene place. 


 






There were so many more of these weeping women cast in bronze besides the ones shown here in these few photographs. It is so interesting to me how people view death. Not only death itself, but how a grave marker can somehow make a difference toward how the deceased is remembered. As though a spectacular mausoleum makes the last chapter end just the way you want it to. Do some people forget that some of the living just might read the whole book again? Not just the last chapter? Whatever the case, this writer didn't know personally any of the people here, so what is here on display is all there is to tell about the ones underneath. And this much can be sure: they had money somewhere to be able to afford these memorials.




Besides famous names such as the Graf and Gräfin (Count and Countess) von Zeppelin and former Württemberg state presidents and others of their class, there are those who were mere court painters of little renown, drugstore owners or just housewives and businessmen. There are those who loved animals or somehow identified with one or another. I am curious about the crow that adorns one stone. The little howling dachshund atop the marker of a lady who lived to be 101 adds a personal touch. And more.


  





As is traditional in so many cemeteries in German-speaking countries, the ground directly over the grave is often beautifully landscaped with colorful flowers. They are maintained devotedly.

The cemetery has also adapted to what Stuttgart has become: a multi-ethnic society with almost 20% of its inhabitants coming from abroad. 







The Jewish Cemetery is separate from the larger cemetery. A bracken fence divides the two areas. Muslim graves are also found today in what was probably once thought of as the "Christian" section (as compared to the Jewish section).  Your writer rather doubts that the city fathers, or mothers for that matter, really thought there would be much other than "Christian" there when it was first opened in what was still rural ground in 1873 although technically within city limits. Certainly there had been a Jewish community in Stuttgart at that time. The influx of other religions from the East was in no way then as it is today, and this can now be seen at Pragfriedhof. The cemetery seems to have evolved and diversified along with the city's population. 




Jewish Cemetery at Pragfriedhof


It hasn't yet been figured out how to gain admittance to the Jewish section at the Pragfriedhof, but rest assured that I want to get in there if possible. The Jewish Cemetery in Bad Cannstatt is accessible during certain hours of the day. One will just have to come back and try again here. When your writer is able to enter, rest assured a follow-up will be in order.  



Jewish Cemetery at Pragfriedhof


There is another Jewish cemetery on the grounds of a Catholic up on Killesberg. It is possible to see it through the gate and the lower parts of the walls that surround it. It looks to have been restored at some point. History tells us why that need for restoration probably existed. More information can be found about the Jewish Cemetery at the Pragfriedhof at jewishcemeteryproject.org









































The Jugendstil crematorium (below) at Pragfriedhof, built between 1905 and 1907, the only crematorium in the city of Stuttgart. Every time I look at this, I think of Angkor Wat.














An imperial count of the old empire and one of the earliest directors of the airport


Count and Countess von Zeppelin (inventor of the airship bearing his name, as in "The Hindenburg")