Film Watch: ‘In Heaven, Underground’Posted: November 23, 2011
Here’s an interesting essay from filmmaker Britta Wauer, who has made a documentary about Berlin’s Weissensee cemetery. She wonders aloud, “Who would go to the cinema to watch a cemetery film?” (She needs to read more genealogy blogs!)
Anyway, the Weissensee cemetery is Europe’s largest Jewish cemetery that is still in use (after 130 years in existence, too). Wauer’s film In Heaven, Underground aims at explaining its enduring place in Berlin’s history and culture. “I wanted the screen to be filled with people telling stories of the rich lives that were once led in Berlin,” she writes.
But where to find those stories? Wauer sent out tentative queries through a magazine sent to Berlin expatriates, expecting maybe a couple of dozen responses. Within a few weeks she had a couple of hundred, from all over the world.
The trailer for the film imparts a mood that’s beguiling, and oddly uplifting:
In Heaven, Underground (official film site)
Find-A-Grave: Notable Weissensee burials
Spiegel Online: “Renovations Begin at Europe’s Largest Jewish Graveyard” (2009)