Cemeteries in Distress

The effects of the flood of the century that ravaged the Ahr Valley in mid-July are still almost unimaginable today. All forms of infrastructure, the things that make human civilization possible, suffered extremely. The damage is estimated at 30 billion euros, and fortunately there was not only a great deal of German concern, but also a great willingness to help.

On the occasion of the devastation of cemeteries, especially the cemetery at the Ahrtor in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, the Round Table on Cemetery Culture in the 21st Century held two meetings to discuss how to provide help. Martin Struck, cemetery gardener and committed member of the Board of Trustees Intangible Heritage Cemetery Culture had offered to contact the responsible persons on site to clarify the question how help for the cemeteries and here especially for the users of gravesites can be provided. On September 6, we received the following message from the city administration of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, which summarizes what has happened to the cemetery and what needs to happen:

"After the storm disaster, the Ahrendorf cemetery (about 1.9 ha) presented a picture of devastation. The water had deposited thousands of cubic meters of mud, rocks and floating debris there. With the help of the German Armed Forces, which worked with up to 100 soldiers, and the THW, considerable clean-up work was carried out. In addition to the work in the public area, such as path construction, rebuilding the enclosure walls, establishing the water supply, war and honorary graves and repairs to the buildings, it is particularly important to locate the completely destroyed graves and make them findable for the surviving relatives. The urn steles will also have to be replaced in parts. After that, the damage to the individual graves will have to be recorded and the beneficiaries informed. Due to the fact that almost half of the approximately 1.750 graves are more or less damaged or destroyed, this task will take a corresponding amount of time. The cemetery is available for visiting. However, the lack of traffic safety of the path areas and loose gravestones pose a problem. Burials are therefore not to take place for the time being."

The situation has improved in parts by All Saints' Day. Martin Struck and helpers have worked for this in a special way. In a circular letter they report:

"On All Saints' Day, it was also possible to celebrate the holiday with dignity again at the particularly affected Ahrtor cemetery in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. 20 cemetery gardeners* from NRW were involved in the restoration – many gravesites could be fundamentally restored, paths cleaned and beds planted." Much more work is still to be done.

Dr. Dirk Pörschmann

You would like to help?

It is possible to support these restorations at the
cemetery financially by making a donation:
Donation account of the city of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler
Keyword "Flood/ Cemetery at the Ahrtor"

Kreissparkasse Ahrweiler:
DE 42 5775 1310 0000 3394 73
Volksbank Rhein-Ahr-Eifel:
DE 33 5776 1591 0020 0010 02

The flood disaster in mid-July 2021 also devastated many cemeteries in the Ahr Valley, including the cemetery at the Ahrtor in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler:
Torn down gravestones, washed up cars, huge amounts of mud and dirt ...


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

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