Cemeteries are also signs of the times

Cemeteries are also signs of the times

Even if they are places for eternity in the figurative sense – cemeteries are signs of the times. And graves are often images of life. They represent more or less the importance of the deceased in their previous life, or the affiliation to a perhaps influential family in the village. With the coarseness of a tomb one wanted to represent the importance of the deceased beyond life.

The design of the graves also ranges from magnificent tombs, almost buildings, to simple enclosed areas with a modest wooden cross – a piece of earth that is planted several times a year depending on the season or covered with a stone slab. Whether they are "normal" or not graves or those for urns. They differ only in the coarse.

Also the cemeteries of the present are signs of our time. The limits within which they may be designed are governed by statutes, i.E. Regulations. Regardless of whether they are in municipal or ecclesiastical hands. Because graves are a public matter, and the deceased are, in purely legal terms, an ownerless thing, whose burial is also to be decided by the local authorities or the church.

Deviating from the specifications is usually very difficult. The erection of a buddha figure in the christian cemetery in helmbrechts recently made headlines. Cemeteries are also a reflection of the spirit of the times. As a rule, they don’t build magnificent tombs anymore, even for presidents.

All are equal in death: the grave of u.S. President john f. Kennedy’s grave is covered by a flat stone slab with a gas flame in the center, the last resting place of the first german president theodor heuss is indicated by a simple vertical stone with an inscription, only a simple stone cross indicates that of charles de gaulle, as well as those of the chancellors konrad adenauer or willi brandt.

The graves for urns, for which less space is needed, will be even more modest. They are kept in niches in the wall, closed with an inscribed plate. Or also embedded in the ground and covered with a stone slab or planted with flowers on a small flat area. And in recent times one modest even more, let urns in meadows or under trees. Only small stone plates or signs on the trees – or nothing at all – point to the deceased.

"This is the trend of the times" says wolfgang sieger, a member of the stammbach church board, who is especially concerned with the cemetery’s needs. "Often the children have moved away and can no longer take care of the graves as they used to." Therefore, in the cemetery of stammbach, around the over 400 year old friedhoff chapel, shallow graves for "normal" urns have been built in addition to the usual graves graves marked only with narrow stones. And at the moment a tree grave field is being set up next to the chapel around a sycamore maple: in an irregular arrangement, 1.20 meter deep pipes are sunk into the ground, in which two urns can also be stored one above the other. The tubes are closed with granite stones, which are to be inscribed.

"We went back and forth in the church board, but we didn’t want it to be completely anonymous says sieger. Grass is planted between the pipes of the grave. Possibly the horticultural society will donate another tree. "But it will not be enough for a peace forest in stammbach" adds pastor susanne sahlmann "but we’ll see."

The municipality is taking a positive view of the new possibilities in the cemetery, as mayor karl philipp ehrler comments: "i am pleased that the church community, with the church board and our pastor at the helm, has repeatedly introduced new and modern concepts and innovations in the cemetery system. This is very suitable for the needs of many people."

Something similar could possibly be created at the stadtsteinach cemetery as well. This was hinted at by mayor roland wolfrum at the recent meeting of the burgers. But first of all he will get ideas from the best planners, which can then be discussed in the city council. However, the city council has already taken note that something must be done about the paths on the cemetery grounds: the management of the old people’s home had already contacted the administration about this: it is very easy to get stuck with rollators and wheelchairs.