Review – In Heaven Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery

In Heaven Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery is a film I will not soon forget. The soundtrack, alone, stirred my heart. The cinematography is stunning, showing the cemetery set within 100 acres of prime forest, within the boundaries of the city of Berlin.

The forest and its life forms, from trees to birds to foxes, to vegetation and to the most minute forms of life, surround the over 115,000 graves. Life thrives within the grave sites, both above and underground in Wiessensee Jewish Cemetery.

The film shows individuals visiting graves, individuals who have traveled far to find the graves of ancestors, students in an art class creating head stone rubbings, bird watchers, and so much more. It also shows how many individuals strive to keep the cemetery from becoming overgrown, which is almost impossible with over 115,000 grave sites. Trees that have fallen are removed from grave sites, some are cut down in order to prevent them from falling on graves or destroying headstones. Headstones are repaired by various organizations. Life in all of its forces continues its stronghold within the cemetery walls in ways I could not imagine. It is a very affecting film.

The 130 year old cemetery has withstood wars, including World War II and the Nazi rule. For some unknown reason, the Nazis left the cemetery alone and untouched. There are theories as to why, but nobody actually knows the true reason. Some feel that the Germans were afraid of a Golem, while others feel they just didn’t get around to removing it. Whatever the reason, the cemetery stands as a testament of history and time. It still accepts those for burial, to this day.

It is not only a film depicting deep Jewish historical value, but also a film that is inspiring, heartfelt, soulful, and one that defines Jewish rituals, values and traditions. In Heaven Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery is a tribute to those buried there, a tribute to living Jews and to the deceased Jews buried within its walls. It is a tribute to life, and as the title suggests, a tribute to what lies underground. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Visit here, and here, to read about the history of the cemetery.

January 17, 2012 – 22 Tevet, 5772

All photography, writing, poetry, etc. is my copyright and may not be reproduced without my express written permission.

9 Comments

Filed under Films, Holocaust/Genocide, Judaism

9 responses to “Review – In Heaven Underground: The Weissensee Jewish Cemetery

  1. Amazing that the Nazis didn’t destroy it!

  2. Thanks for the awesome review! For more screenings of the film, check us out at http://www.7thart.com, like us on facebook.com/7thartreleasing and follow us @7thartreleasing! We have a tone of Jewish themed films that may be of interest to you!

  3. Thank you for the review – it sounds haunting and absorbing at the same time. “…trees to birds to foxes, to vegetation and to the most minute forms of life, surround the over 115,000 graves…students in an art class creating head stone rubbings, bird watchers…” – you paint quite a picture with your words.

  4. I am doing my family history and that of my husband’s family and so much much of his Mother’s side is so hard to look at. My MIL finally started to talk about her family and her escape from Nazi Germany. (her siblings, but not her parents or grandparents) For many years, she wouldn’t speak of it…I don’t know if I could watch the film but I will look into it….

    • I, too, am doing research. A lit of it is from Eastern Europe. Some is difficult to look at, but I do it, for THEM and for mynchildren and grandies. They need to know their heritage.

      The film is incredible

  5. Pingback: Skies and More | jewaicious

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