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20130210 099

Friedhof der Namenlosen | Cemetery of the Nameless

 

Friedhof der Namenlosen or Cemetery of the Nameless is part of the 11th district of Simmering. It is quite far from the center of Vienna, near the junction of the Danube canal and the river itself. This tranquil place has been a burying ground since the 1800’s. Most of the bodies lain there are unidentified. Their badly decomposed bodies were washed ashore by the Danube’s currents. Only 42 of the many were identified by their families.

 

Back then, carpenters donated wooden coffins for these unknown souls. Their final resting place is usually commemorated with flowers, stones or simple crosses that bear the name “NAMENLOS” meaning nameless. Most of these people may have met accidents; some were probably murdered while others could have committed suicide due to depression or unrequited love. After 1940, those who were found swept by the river were buried in the Central Cemetery. Throughout the years, the river’s currents have changed and there are no longer any bodies being washed ashore. Still they are remembered especially on November 1st which is All Saint’s Day. Fishermen in the area have a tradition of building a raft filled with flowers in commemoration of those who died in the Danube. The raft is floated downstream while a band plays until it reaches the shore in the same way the bodies were brought there.

 

Unlike other cemeteries, few people visited the place. It was the movie “Before Sunrise” which made the Cemetery of the Nameless famous because it was depicted as a sad and romantic spot. This sparked the interest of many followers of the movie, attracting more tourists in the recent years.

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Taken on February 10, 2013