Ohlsdorf Cemetery

Ohlsdorf Cemetery (German: Friedhof Ohlsdorf or (former) Hauptfriedhof Ohlsdorf) in the quarter Ohlsdorf of the city of Hamburg, Germany, is the biggest non-military cemetery in the world and the second-largest cemetery in the world after Calverton National Cemetery in eastern Long Island.

The cemetery has an area of 391 hectares (966 acres) with 12 chapels, over 1.4 million burials in more than 256,000 burial sites and streets with a length of 17 km (11 mi). Public transport is provided with 25 bus stops of two bus lines of the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund.


In 1877 the Ohlsdorf Cemetery was established as a non-denominational and multi-regional burial site outside of Hamburg. In 1923 the burials of Commonwealth servicemen from several cemeteries in Germany were brought to Hamburg, to build one of four permanent cemeteries in Germany.

Memorials for the victims of Nazism

There are six memorial sites for the victims of the Nazi era, the "Monument for the Victims of Nazi Persecution" (Gedenkstätte für die Opfer nationalsozialistischer Verfolgung); the monument, "Passage over the River Styx" (Fahrt über den Styx) for the victims of the Hamburg firestorm; the "Memorial Grove for the Hamburg Resistance Fighters", which includes a memorial erected on the initiative of the Sophie Scholl Foundation, the "Ehrenfeld Hamburg Resistance Fighters"; the "Cemetery for Foreign Victims", erected in 1977 to honor the victims of Nazi concentration camps and forced labor; and the Erinnerungsspirale ("memory spiral") erected in 2001 in the "Garden of Women", as a memorial for the female victims and opponents of the Nazi regime. An additional memorial site was erected in 1951 at the nearby Jewish cemetery, Ilandkoppel, the "Monument for the Murdered Hamburg Jews".

Memorial for the victims of Nazi persecution

The "Monument for the Victims of Nazi Persecution" lies across from the "new crematorium". Erected in 1949, it has a stele with a marble slab lying in front, engraved with the names of 25 concentration camps. The adjacent graveyard has 105 above-ground urns and 29 buried ones containing the ashes of victims and German concentration camp soil. This memorial evolved from what was established there during a week-long remembrance in November 1945.

Monument for the victims of the Hamburg firestorm

The remains of some 38,000 victims of Operation Gomorrha, the bombing campaign that took place from July 24 to August 3, 1943, lie in a cross-shaped, landscaped mass grave. In 1952, a monument by Gerhard Marcks called "Passage over the River Styx" was erected in the middle of the site.

Memorial grove for the Hamburg Resistance fighters

To the right of the main entrance on Bergstraße, is the memorial grove for the Resistance fighters from Hamburg, 1933–1945. Located here since September 8, 1946, this memorial is the burial site for 55 anti-fascists who were either executed by the Nazis or died in custody. A bronze sculpture, created in 1953 by Hamburg sculptor Richard Steffen (1903–1964), stands at the entrance to the grove. A stone wall borders the grove, on which are the words of the Czech Resistance fighter and journalist, Julius Fučík, executed in 1943, "Mankind, we loved you — be vigilant".

Notable burial sites

Part of the cemetery are three plots of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which were used as a burial site for Allied servicemen of both world wars. There are more than 2473 identified casualties by the CWGC.

The following notable persons are buried in the cemetery: