The Cemetery of the Nameless in Vienna was first established in 1840 and was dedicate to suicide victims who could not obtain traditional Catholic burials. This means that the unnamed individuals taken out of the Danube waters are the ones that fill the Cemetery of the Nameless. It is these unnamed graves that are kept in this small and modern graveyard chapel designed by an architect named Karl Franz Eder.
This cemetery might be home to unnamed graves, but it was designed and built with care and attention to detail. There are rose bushes that separate the two sections of the graveyard. The older part of the cemetery has become overgrown with trees and bushes, but the newer section built in 1933 is still maintained to this day. There is a small wall just beyond the rose bushes that separates the two parts.
How Many Unnamed Graves?
Since it was established up until 1900, there were roughly 500 unidentified individuals buried in the Cemetery of the Nameless. All of these people either drowned by accident or committed suicide in the Danube. Most of these unnamed graves reside on the older section. However, since 1900 more than 104 dead bodies have been buried on the newer side with about 60 of the bodies being unnamed. Many of these suicide victims are brought to shore by the junction of the river. Since religious beliefs keep Christian and Catholic cemeteries from housing these bodies, they are kept in the Cemetery for the Nameless.
Recent Unnamed Burials
Even though the Cemetery of the Nameless is still maintained in one section, there has not been a burial since 1940. This is due to the vast construction that took place on the Alberner Hafen that changed the currents of the Danube. Now it is much more difficult for suicide victims to be brought to shore. Since the victims are more difficult to spot, there have been far less burials. Even though the graves are for the unnamed, many of them are adorned with crosses constructed of cast iron. The individuals buried here may be nameless, but they are still paid tribute to in this cemetery designed just for them.