Famous Graves 2

The Final Resting Place of Notable People – Part 2

Where are they buried? Welcome to Part 2 of our guide to notable people buried in Germany. In most of the entries below, we use the German word for cemetery (der Friedhof, FREED-hohf). If you want to learn more about the lives and careers of the people listed below, please see our Notable People pages.

Berliner Dom

Not all of the famous deceased rest in cemeteries. The Hohenzollerngruft (Hohenzollern vault) in the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) is the resting place of several Prussian princes and kings of the House of Hohenzollern.
PHOTO: © Hyde Flippo

Famous People Buried in Germany – Part 2

Fontane grave close

The grave of the German writer Theodor Fontane and his wife Emilie in Berlin. PHOTO © Hyde Flippo

Theodor Fontane (1819-1898)
German poet and novelist of French Huguenot descent. Considered the leading exponent of “poetic realism” in 19th Century German literature, two of Fontane’s best-known novels are Effie Briest (1896) and L’Adultera (1882), both based on real-life episodes in Prussian Berlin and Brandenburg.
Berlin: Friedhof II der Französisch-Reformierten-Gemeinde, Liesenstraße. Note: This cemetery is notable for having been partially destroyed by construction for the Berlin Wall, which used to cut through it. Fontane’s gravestone was destroyed in World War II, but later restored. His grave (in East Berlin) was accessible only with a special permit while the Berlin Wall was still standing.

Gert Fröbe (Karl-Gerhart Fröbe, 1913-1988)
Film actor. Best known as Auric Goldfinger in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. Icking (Bavaria): Waldfriedhof (Forest Cemetery).

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
Poet, author. Germany’s “Shakespeare.” (See full bio.)
Weimar: Historischer Friedhof (Historic Cemetery) in the Fürstengruft (Royal Vault). Note: There is an entrance fee of 2.50 EUR to view the closed oak coffins of Goethe and Friedrich Schiller side-by-side in the Fürstengruft building. (They share the room with Weimar nobles, for whom the vault was originally built.) Schiller’s coffin has been empty since 2008, when genetic testing of the remains proved they were not Schiller’s.

Jacob Grimm (Jacob Ludwig Karl, 1785-1863)
Wilhelm Grimm (Wilhelm Karl, 1786-1859)
Writers, linguists. The Brothers Grimm did important work in the field of German grammar and linguistics. Between 1821 and 1822 they also collected three volumes of folktales from all across the German-speaking region (Grimms Märchen). The first volume (“A-Biermolke”) of their ground-breaking Deutsches Wörterbuch (“German Dictionary,” DWB) was published in 1854. The last DWB volume was not completed until 1960, a century after their deaths. Berlin: Alter St. Matthäus Friedhof.

More on The German Way
Tarzan in Acapulco
Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984) was born in Austria-Hungary, in what is today Romania. The Olympic swimming champ later became Tarzan on the silver screen. So why is his grave in Acapulco, Mexico?

Alfred Herrhausen (1930-1989)
Speaker of the Board of Directors of Deutsche Bank. Herrhausen was assassinated by a roadside bomb set by the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion) terrorist group not far from his home in Bad Homburg, Germany. Bad Homburg: Waldfriedhof, where old and new sections border each other. – Also see Terrorism in Germany.

Heinrich Hertz (1857-1894)
Physicist. Besides lending his name to the term for “cycles per second,” as in kilohertz (KHz) or megahertz (MHz), Hertz did pioneering research related to electricity and electromagnetic waves. (See Hertz bio.)
Hamburg: Ohlsdorfer Friedhof, section Q 24, 53-58.

Heinrich Hoffmann (1809-1894)
German physician, poet, and author of Der Struwwelpeter (1845). Frankfurt am Main: Hauptfriedhof (Main Cemetery), Eckenheimer Landstraße 194; Location: North Wall, Hoffmann-Donner. WEB: Der Struwwelpeter and other books by Hoffmann at Project Gutenberg

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859)
Geographer, naturalist and explorer. The Humboldt Current west of South America is named for him. Humboldt was one of the first scientific explorers, journeying to the Americas in the early 1800s. He was one of the world’s first environmental scientists. His older brother, Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835) was a distinguished linguist, diplomat, and founder of the Humboldt University in Berlin. The two brothers are buried near their former residence, Schloss Tegel, in the Reinickendorf district of Berlin. (More…)
Berlin: Schlosspark Tegel (Tegel Castle Park).
Also see: Alexander von Humboldt: Why Do We Find His Name All Around the Globe

Erich Kästner (1899-1974)
Author. Two of Kästner’s humorous tales for children, Emil und die Detektive and Das doppelte Lottchen, were made into Disney films: Emil and the Detectives (1964) and The Parent Trap (1961, 1998). (More about Kästner from About.com.)
Munich: Bogenhausener Friedhof.

Ernst Litfass (Litfaß, 1816-1874)
Printer, publisher. Pioneering inventor of cylindrical advertising columns (Litfaßsäule, Berlin, 1854).
Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischer und Friedrichswerder Friedhof, Chausseestraße 126.

Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Religious reformer, Bible translator. Luther was the principal figure in the 16th century Protestant Reformation in Europe. (See Luther bio.) Wittenberg: Schlosskirche (Castle Church), below wooden pulpit.

Heinrich Mann (1871-1950)
Author, novelist. Heinrich was the elder brother of Nobel Prize-winning novelist Thomas Mann. His best-known novel is Professor Unrat (1904), which was later the basis for the movie Der Blaue Engel (1930), starring Marlene Dietrich.
Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischer und Friedrichswerder Friedhof. Note: When he died in California, Heinrich Mann was first buried in Santa Monica’s Woodlawn Cemetery. In 1961 his ashes were moved to Berlin (then East Berlin), but his gravestone in Santa Monica remains. His wife Nelly is buried in California. His brother Thomas died in Switzerland and his grave is near Zurich.

F. W. Murnau (Friedrich Wilhelm Plumpe, 1888-1931)
Film director. German-born Murnau worked briefly in Hollywood (Sunrise, 1927) before being killed in an auto accident in Santa Barbara. His best-known film is the silent classic Nosferatu (1922). Stahnsdorf (near Potsdam): Südwestfriedhof der Berliner Synode (Southwest Cemetery). See photo below.

Murnau grave

F.W. Murnau’s grave in Stahnsdorf near Berlin is shared with his Plumpe relatives. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

Helmut Newton (1920-2004)
Fashion photographer. Groundbreaking, controversial photographer born in Berlin. Berlin: Friedhof III (Cemetery III), Berlin-Friedenau.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
German philosopher. (See Nietzsche bio.) Röcken (near Leipzig): Röcken Kirchhof (churchyard cemetery).

Georg Simon Ohm (1789-1854)
German physicist. (See Ohm bio.) Munich: Alter Südfriedhof (Old South-Cemetery).

Carl Orff (1895-1982)
German composer. Best known for his classic “Carmina Burana” cantata, Orff was born in Munich.
Andechs (near Munich): Schmerzhafte Kapelle (Chapel of Sorrows) in the Andechs Abbey Church (Klosterkirche).

Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
German composer. (See Pachelbel bio.) Nuremberg: Rochusfriedhof (St. Rochus Cemetery).

Johannes Rau (1931-2006)
German president (1999-2004). Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischer und Friedrichswerder Friedhof, Chausseestraße 126.

Marcel Reich-Rainicki (1920-2013)
Noted German literary critic. Frankfurt am Main: Hauptfriedhof (Main Cemetery), Eckenheimer Landstraße 194; Location: Gewann XIV, U-Hain, 34

Ernst Reuter (1889-1953)
German politician. Reuter was the mayor of Berlin (1948-1953) during the city’s critical post-war years and the Berlin Airlift. Berlin: Waldfriedhof Potsdamer Chaussee.

Richthofen's grave in Wiesbaden

This is the final resting place of Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron) in Wiesbaden’s Südfriedhof. Before this he was interred three times in France and Germany. See more below. PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron, 1892-1918)
Legendary World War I flying ace who shot down 80 enemy aircraft. Later known as “The Red Baron,” Richthofen had a total of four burials! (See photo below.) Also see his full bio.
Wiesbaden: Südfriedhof (South Cemetery), since 1975


The Red Baron was buried four times. Pictured here is his first burial in Bertangles Cemetery, France (near Amiens), with an honor guard of British airmen on April 22, 1918. Three years later Richthofen was reburied in a more elaborate grave at the military cemetery in Fricourt, France. The third and fourth (last) burials were in Germany. PHOTO: Sgt. John Alexander, official 3 Squadron photographer (Wikimedia Commons)

Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003)
German film director, actress, photographer. See her full bio.
Munich: Waldfriedhof/Neuer Teil (Forest Cemetery/New Section), Lorettoplatz 3.

Graves map

This helpful directory near the entrance shows the location of the Rothschild family graves (and others) in Frankfurt’s Old Jewish Cemetery. (Click on the image for a larger view.) PHOTO: Hyde Flippo

Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812)
Mayer Rothschild was the German Jewish founder of the European financial dynasty that began in Frankfurt am Main in the early 1800s. Over time Mayer and his sons expanded their banking and financial empire from Frankfurt to London, Naples, Paris, and Vienna.
Frankfurt am Main: Jüdischer Friedhof (Jewish Cemetery), Battonstraße 2. The Battonstraße cemetery dates from the 13th century and is the oldest Jewish cemetery in Frankfurt, older than the so-called “Old Jewish Cemetery” (1828), and one of the oldest in Germany. It was partially damaged by WWII bombing. – NOTE: The graves of Mayer Amschel’s sons (and their wives) lie in the Alter Jüdischer Friedhof (Old Jewish Cemetery) on Rat-Beil-Straße. A framed, glass-enclosed map near the Old Jewish Cemetery entrance shows the location of the Rothschild family graves, as well as the grave of Paul Ehrlich, the Nobel Prize-winning discoverer of a cure for syphilis, and other notable Frankfurt Jews. A third Jewish cemetery, the New Jewish Cemetery, north of Frankfurt’s Main Cemetery, was opened in 1928. Address: Eckenheimer Landstraße 238.

Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1841)
German architect. Many of Berlin’s buildings and monuments were designed by Schinkel. Web: Schinkel (Wikipedia).
Berlin: Dorotheenstädtischer und Friedrichswerder Friedhof, Chausseestraße 126.

Helmut Schmidt (1918-2015)
German politican, publisher. Schmidt was Willy Brandt’s successor in 1974 and West German chancellor (SPD) for the next seven years (before the “other” Helmut, Helmut Kohl). See our Helmut Schmidt – Mini Bio for more.
Hamburg: Schmidt joined his wife Loki at the Ohlsdorfer Friedhof in November 2015.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
German philosopher. Frankfurt am Main: Hauptfriedhof (Main Cemetery), Eckenheimer Landstraße 194; Location: Gewann A, 24.

More on The German Way
Conrad Veidt (1893-1943)
Berlin-born Conrad Veidt had big-screen success as an actor in Germany, the UK, and in Hollywood (as Maj. Strasser in CASABLANCA). Veidt was only 50 when he died of a heart attack while playing golf at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles. So why are his ashes in London?

Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin (1838-1917)
Inventor of the rigid-frame airship named for him. (See Zeppelin bio.) Stuttgart: Pragfriedhof (Prague Cemetery).


Also see: Death: The German Way of Death and Funerals – Customs, laws and regulations related to funerals, burial and cremation, including info for expats in Germany.

Back | Famous Graves in Germany – Part 1

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