Hirsau Monastery, Black Forest, Germany

Hirsau was an important Benedictine abbey, an extensive ground including a graveyard where only few stones have remained. The name proper is St. Peter and Paul, Hirsau as it is known localy, is the name of the village.

Hirsau  was once one of the most important monasteries in Germany. At the time of its construction in the late 11th century, St. Peter and Paul was the largest monastery in the German-speaking area. During the Palatinate War of Succession, the complex burned down (1692) and then fell into disrepair.

Jews, Nuns and Soldiers

Offenburg Alter Friedhof (30)

Green, peaceful and quiet, more like a park than a burial ground, the old graveyard in Offenburg is a beautiful place to spend time in, it gives you space to think and there is a lot to see and think about on the old Waldbach-Friedhof.

peaceful and quiet

Offenburg Alter Friedhof (29)

Graves and plants are well kept, everything is in good order, it feels rather German with the various sections allotted to certain groups. The dead have been interred here since 1870.


since 1870

women of strong faith

Nuns are buried on the Northern end of the spacious graveyard. The “Orden der Augustiner Chorfrauen” (Congregatio Beatae Mariae Virginis) was mainly concerned with the education of girls and originates in the nearby Vosges Mountains (France) in the 16th century.

Offenburg Alter Friedhof (5)

the Jewish community

Another section has been allotted to the members of the Jewish community from Offenburg and the surrounding  area (Durbach), some graves are very old and have been restored 2008, even though restoration is not typical within the Jewish tradition who tends to let the stones disintegrate. The aim was to make it possible for the German public to read the inscriptions in Hebrew and Latin, to give names to the graves, better to remember.

Offenburg is still home to a number of Jewish families. A memorial nearby commemorates those murdered during the Holocaust.

a name and two dates

Offenburg Alter Friedhof (9)Just a stone’s throw away there are the war graves of soldiers from France and Germany who died in World War I and II stretch along an accurate line.  Each life reduced to a name and two dates: birth and death.


It is a very peacefull place, a strange but important achievent for a graveyard that holds  not only the remains but also the memories of soldiers, persecuted Jews, nuns and sinners alike.

There certainly is a lot to see and think aout on the old graveyard in Offenburg.