The Friedhof Altglienicke is part of Berlin’s Treptow-Köpenick neighborhood, located on its western border. The cemetery is bordered to the north, west, and south by green spaces, or individually standing structures, and to the east by an avenue, Schönefelder Chaussee (since 1920, previously Schönefelder Weg). The address of the cemetery is Schönefelder Chaussee 100, 12524 Berlin, which is where the entrance is located. The entire area of the cemetery comprises roughly 23,500 m².

The peculiarity of burial grounds U1 / U2 at Friedhof Altglienicke, namely, the collective-grave-like burial of large numbers of urns, which was carried out for a brief time from 1940 to 1943, has direct links to the national socialist reign. In the early years of World War II, urns of the victims of concentration camps and euthanasia centers were buried individually. Towards the end of the war, the ashes were brought unsorted to be placed first in collective graves and later, mass graves, for example, in ditches or adjacent bodies of water.

Historical plan burial grounds U1/U2

At a meeting of the administration of the Friedhof Altglienicke on October 11, 1940, the laying out of a collective burial ground was approved. Urns from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp could now be delivered directly to the cemetery with burial documents, that is, a form with urn number, date of the cremation, and dates of birth and death. Urns from the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps and the euthanasia facilities were sent to the crematorium Berlin-Treptow, which apparently served as a distribution point. The urns that arrived were collected there and subsequently transferred to the cemetery for burial.

The first burials for victims of war and tyranny in burial ground U2 began on December 6, 1940 and ended in 1952, when urns from those executed in the Plötzensee prison were buried here.

Buried in Friedhof Altglienicke’s collective grave are the urns of victims from various nations. Nearly two thirds of the deceased were German; roughly one third, Polish; further dead were from the Soviet Union, Austria, the former Czechoslovakia, and a few are of unknown nationality. The German victims include those whose urns were not requested by the immediate family, or for whom there was no immediate family. Since it was not possible to send the urns of foreign victim to their countries of origin, they had to be buried in Germany.

The newly designed burial site at Friedhof Altglienicke is meant to enable proper mourning for the bereaved. The victims, cited by name, are the starting point for a shared remembrance, commemoration, and learning.