Eckehard kiesewetter albersdorf – "grave robbery, says a man of age and "disturbance of the peace of the cemetery" – but does not want his name in the newspaper. In the course of the conversation, he admits that "probably something really had to be done", at the albersdorf cemetery. "It just looks completely different now", a woman, also from the ebern district, remarks matter-of-factly: "now we just have to see what they make of it."
The sight of the altered cemetery has surprised many albersdorf residents in recent days, even though the intervention had already been decided in the building committee a year ago and announced in advance. But the extent to which the picture changed came as a surprise.
A drastic change", confirms mayor jurgen hennemann. Until now, the graves had been surrounded by a four to five meter high and almost as wide thujee hedge, thus closed off from the outside by grass. Some cemetery walkers are said to have even furrowed their brows when surrounded by the massive hedge. Now the rows of graves lie completely exposed and unprotected on the slope next to the cemetery chapel, irregularly distributed graves to the left and right of an asphalt path leading up to a cross. The seven-meter-high green arch over the metal entrance gate next to the chapel has also disappeared.
"This has been going on for a few years", says werner riegel, albersdorf’s representative in the city council and at the same time third mayor of ebern, about the incision.
The massive hedge was only green on the outside, but dried up on the inside. Head of the building department martin lang reports severe damage in the growth and root area: "it had reached the end of its life, if you like, anyway."
Once planted in three rows, the dead middle row of thujae had already been removed years ago, reveals werner riegel. The stability of the hedge could only be ensured with about 1000 meters of wire. "Was there someone with a pair of scissors approached", says the local representative "the hedge had fallen down."
Another argument for the change was the high maintenance costs, as the workers from the city’s building yard had to make a special trip with a cherry picker to trim the 270-meter hedge. According to jurgen hennemann, the many wires made the pruning even more difficult. The decisive factor, however, according to the head of the building yard, christian raehse, was safety at work.
So now a tabula rasa has been made. The municipal building yard, whose work is praised by the mayors riegel and hennemann, has first of all created bare facts. "One can be quite satisfied with the result and the time frame", the city announces. A new hedge is to be planted around the remaining grave field as soon as the weather permits; thuja again, as requested by the burghers, but only in one row and "no more than 1.50 meters high".
"That was simply unacceptable, something had to be done", says riegel, and is surprised that critical comments are now being made behind the scenes: "i can’t understand why people in the village don’t approach each other openly." In the run-up to the acceptance, he had still asked on a plaque at the cemetery for the design wishes of the citizens "but nothing came". Now it will take three or four years until the cemetery is enclosed again.
The third mayor announced that two more trees will be planted, possibly an urn field will be created and the uneven tar surface in the entrance area will be replaced with paving stones.