The largest rural cemetery in the world, the Ohlsdorf Cemetery sprawls across 966 acres in Hamburg’s Ohlsdorf quarter. More than 1.5 million burials have taken place throughout its history and there are around 280,000 burial sites within the cemetery, together with 12 chapels.
While most of the people buried at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery are civilians, there are also a large number of prisoners-of-war in the Hamburg Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery. Memorials for the victims of Nazi persecution and the Hamburg Firestorm of World War II are found in its grounds, as well as monuments dedicated to those who belonged to Hamburg’s anti-Nazi resistance.
Visitors are invited to stroll along the leafy walking trails and gardens that are planted between the cemetery’s 17 kilometers of streets, as well as visit the on-site Museum Friedhof Ohlsdorf. When the cemetery opened in 1877 it was the first American-style park cemetery in Germany and the museum explores its funeral culture through old maps, tools, urns and tombstones.
In addition to over 400 Allied prisoners-of-war, the Hamburg Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery contains the bodies of sailors who were washed ashore on the Frisian Islands, British Commonwealth servicemen who were buried throughout northwestern Germany and soldiers who died in the post-war period. One of the most moving memorials at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the Monument for the Victims of Nazi Persecution that was erected in 1949 and is engraved with the names of 25 different concentration camps. It lies adjacent to a graveyard where more than 100 urns are found, containing the ashes of victims and German concentration camp soil.