Friedenspark

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Coordinates: 51°19′39″N 12°23′41″E / 51.32750°N 12.39472°E / 51.32750; 12.39472

Friedenspark in 2008, with the Russian Memorial Church in the background

The Friedenspark ("Peace Park") is an open space of about 20 hectares in the centre of Leipzig, Germany, in the district of Zentrum-Südost, located between the Ostplatz to the north and the Russian Memorial Church (Russische Gedächtniskirche) to the south. The park was opened in 1983, after the secularisation and clearance, under the then East German regime, of the Neuer Johannisfriedhof ("New St. John's Cemetery"), which is what the space used to be, and its thorough reconstruction.

Neuer Johannisfriedhof[edit]

The cemetery entrance in about 1900
Mausoleum of the von Limburger family, Neuer Johannisfriedhof, 1902

The site of the Friedenspark used to be occupied by the Neuer Johannisfriedhof, which was opened as the second city cemetery of Leipzig in 1846, after it had proved impossible to enlarge the old cemetery, the Alter Johannisfriedhof, any further. The designs for the chapel and mortuary, built between 1881 and 1884, were by Hugo Licht (1841–1923). They were destroyed in World War II. During the time of the National Socialist government the remains of more than a hundred children from the Paediatrics Department of the Dösen Asylum were buried anonymously in urns in sections V 2, 3 and 5, victims of the then child euthanasia policy.[1]

On 31 December 1950 the Neuer Johannisfriedhof was closed to further burials, but remained accessible to the public up to 31 December 1970. From 1973 to 1975 the cemetery was secularised: vaults were removed, graves cleared and levelled. About 120 monuments and gravestones of civic or art-historical significance were taken to the Alter Johannisfriedhof and kept in the open air. A combination of damage during transit, theft and vandalism meant that by the early 1990s only 58 monuments remained. These were restored, and erected in the south-east of the Alter Johannisfriedhof.[2]

Burials of notable people[edit]

The locations of these burials, thanks to the clearance of the cemetery, are no longer traceable, and as above most monuments have not survived.

Transferred gravestones[edit]

Gravestones and monuments moved from the Neuer to the Alter Johannisfriedhof:

Friedenspark[edit]

Group of figures in the Friedenspark, 2008

The general development plan of 1970 envisaged the conversion of the cemetery into a park for sport and recreation for the students of the University of Leipzig. This plan was eventually given up in favour of a public park, in order to address the need for recreation and recuperation of the inhabitants of the old housing stock in the neighbouring districts of the Ostvorstadt and Thonberg.

On 20 July 1983 the Friedenspark was declared public property.[4]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Berit Lahm; Thomas Seyde; Eberhard Ulm: 505 Kindereuthanasieverbrechen in Leipzig. Verantwortung und Rezeption. Plöttner Verlag, Leipzig 2008, ISBN 978-3-938442-48-7
  2. ^ Leipzig.de
  3. ^ whose real name was Hans Bötticher
  4. ^ Leipzig-Lexikon.de

Literature[edit]

External links[edit]