Today, to be interred at Weissensee requires proof that the deceased was
Jewish. This applies to Holocaust survivors around the world as well as
Per Weissensee [and I paraphrase here], the decision as to whether the
burial will be allowed is made by the (Kultus Abteilung) cultus/cultural
affairs department of the Jewish Community/Congregation of Berlin
(Juedische Gemeinde Berlin)
The cultural department, in turn, requires that the applicant provide
proof that the deceased was Jewish. Various kinds of documentation are
required, and all are checked thoroughly.
Knowledge that one's ancestors were Jewish is not enough. An example of
what the Jewish Congregation of Berlin considers proof of Jewishness for
purposes of becoming a member probably apply here: a Bar Mitzvah
certificate, a Ketuba, or a written statement >from a rabbi certifying
that the applicant is Jewish.
The person involved here had none of these. She emigrated >from Berlin in
1937, and thereafter lived a generally secular life. Her mother, who was
killed by the Nazis, is buried at Weissensee. Her maternal grandparents
are both buried there, as well as numerous other relatives. Although
these burials can be proved via their Weissensee records, they really
don't satisfy the required criteria of proof for this person. In the
U.S., she was not an observant Jew, nor was she affiliated with a
congregation, and her son has no knowledge as to her being a member of
the Jewish Congregation in Berlin. Her son is observant, but his rabbi
cannot write a certifying statement for a person he did not know.
I would appreciate suggestions >from anyone who has had a similar
experience with Weissensee, or who knows what would suffice as "proof"
in lieu of the documents listed. Thank you in advance,
Judith Lipmanson, Smyrna, Delaware, USA firstname.lastname@example.org