Part of a two-century-old cemetery in Berlin, Germany was inaugurated last week as a burial site for lesbians only. Approximately 80 lesbians will be able to fit into the allotted space.
Spokeswoman for the Safia Association, a national group for mainly elderly lesbians, Usah Zachau, said the Lutheran Georgen Parochial cemetery blocked off 400-square-meters for a graveyard for up to 80 lesbians.
“The idea emerged four years ago in the lesbian group Safia, whose members, advancing in age, asked themselves where they wanted to be buried,” Safia member Astrid Osterland said. “We wanted to stay together, to be close to those with whom we lived, we loved, we worked, we fought.”
The space was created as a space “where life and death connect, distinctive forms of cemetery culture can develop and where the lesbian community can live together in the afterlife,” the association said.
“We had surveyed several cemeteries, but we decided on this one because we knew it was beautiful,” Osterland said, also making it clear a lesbian burial ground isn’t a fight against men. “There will be no barrier to demarcate it and all those who want to come and honor the dead with respect are welcome.”
In exchange for cleaning up, landscaping the area and promising to be responsible for its upkeep, the group was given the land for 30 years.
“We don’t have to pay any rent, but we had to invest a lot of money to turn that part of the cemetery into a usable burial ground again,” Zachau said.
A landscaping company commissioned by the group has built winding sand paths and framed the area with oak, birch and yew trees.
According to a spokesman for the Berlin Lutheran Church, they agreed with the women’s group as an effort to “revitalize its cemetery grounds by cooperating with other groups.”
“We are also in an ongoing discussion with Muslim groups to see whether they can have their own plots on our cemeteries,” Volker Jastrzembski said.
Currently the neighboring parts next to the lesbian area are not being used.
“Now there’s another reason for a journey to Berlin, even if it may be your last,” the group said.