If you’re coming from north of Berlin, find your way to the Berliner Ring (A10), go towards Dresden / Frankfurt (Oder) (as opposed to Hamburg / Stettin (Szczecin)) (clockwise). At Ausfahrt 7, Freienbrink, exit and follow the L38 for about 3 kilometers to a traffic circle, then the L23 for about 6 kilometers to Spreenhagen.
Either way, you should program your Garmin (if you have one) to Spreenhagen 15528, Friedhofstraße 1. If you don’t have one, it’s still easy to find (Google map - click here).
Coming from the south, you’ll enter Spreenhagen on Hauptstraße. Once you pass the Volksbank Fürstenwalde, Friedhofstraße will be the second street on the right.
Coming from the north, you’ll enter Spreenhagen on Hauptstraße; Once you pass the Deutsche Post Filale on the right, Friedhofstraße will be the second street on the left.
As I entered Friedhofstraße, I passed the Freiwillige Feuerwehr on the left, then veered right towards the cemetery (left was the Ärztehaus). The cemetery was on the left. I parked across the street, adjacent to the green gate, and spotted the Jirkowsky family’s grave from the driver’s seat of my car; it was in the second row from the end, towards the right (east) as I exited the car and walked towards the gate. The cemetery is pleasantly immaculate, and unlike Berlin, where I had just driven from, free of graffiti. In fact, the entire town of Spreenhagen was immaculate, and (almost) free of graffiti. The cemetery chapel was locked, but nevertheless provided a serene and holy atmosphere throughout the cemetery.
|Cemetery gate, and Marienetta's grave from the street|
My first experience with the name “Marienetta Jirkowsky” (article in Wikipedia - click here) was when I was a young single airman in Berlin, and her story was in the headlines in late 1980. She was my age, and her photos revealed a very attractive and seemingly friendly and happy young lady. I seem to remember that the Jirkowsky saga got the attention of many of my colleagues who were my age or in my peer group. This particular Berlin Wall victim was an unfortunate lady that many of us would love to have met. We didn’t have Wikipedia back then, so we were able to find out little information about her, although Falko Vogt and Peter Wiesner, her successful accomplices in their joint escape attempt from Hohen Neuendorf to Frohnau on November 22, 1980, received a fair amount of publicity in Bild Zeitung. Our question was, “what caused this lovely young lady to want to do something as dangerous as this?”
Of the at least 140 Berlin Wall victims, Marienetta’s grave is one of the more remote graves, being it’s not in Berlin. Also, unlike the graves of Peter Fechter, Ida Siekmann, and Chris Gueffroy, which are preserved as historical graves, Marienetta’s grave is one of the more obscure graves. Nothing about this grave suggests anything more than a simple family grave, a mother and a father, whose daughter died earlier than normal. I would hope that in the future, this grave will not only be preserved as historical, (beyond the 25 year law governing the longevity of most graves in Germany), but also be noted as a grave of one of the victims of the Berlin Wall.
But this is unlikely to happen as long as a certain Bärbel Kultus is still around. Bärbel is Marienetta’s last known surviving relative, and the self-appointed spokesperson for the Jirkowsky family. She vehemently opposed the 2010 renaming of a Hohen Neuendorf traffic circle to “Marienetta Jirkowsky Platz” Her pleas with the Hohen Neuendorf mayor, a member of the leftist “Die Linke” party and a former East German communist party member, who would echo these pleas, were overruled by the city council, with its more moderate SPD majority. Her claims were that mourning should be a private family matter, and that there is no merit to having been killed at the Berlin Wall. What Bärbel would probably rather we didn’t know is that since 1970, and until the dissolving of the GDR in 1990, she was also a former East German communist party member, as well as a Stasi informant (Stasi rat-fink).
August 25, 1962 - November 22, 1980