In Heaven Underground
The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery
Research for the documentary film “In Heaven Underground – The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery” by Britta Wauer.
In Weissensee, a northern district of Berlin, the largest Jewish cemetery still in use within Europe is situated. At the 42 hectare big area 115,000 graves lie nestled between a jungle of old trees, rhododendrons and ivy. Founded in 1880, the cemetery has been growing steadily. Even during the Nazi period it has never been closed or damaged. Walking through the cemetery is like taking a walk through history and the list of famous artists, philosophers, lawyers, architects, doctors, teachers of religion and publishers who are buried here is long indeed. But the 130 year old cemetery is not only a relict from the old days, but a lively place. People from all over the world come in search of their ancestors’ or some celebrities’ graves. The filmmaker Britta Wauer traced the rich past of the cemetery and portrayed visitors from all different countries who talk about their childhood, their families and ancestors – who tell stories from Jewish, Berlin, and German history.Facts & Files did research for the documentary in German archives.
„In Heaven Underground” was shown at the Berlin filmfestival Berlinale and is winner of the Panorama Audience Award for best documentary.