Establishing a cemetery has always been the first step for a Jewish community in the process of settling in a new location. In telling the story of more than thirty Jewish cemeteries in Europe, Houses of Life offers a group portrait of two thousand years of Jewish history. From the catacombs of Ancient Rome, the story is traced through medieval cemeteries in Venice, Prague and England, across the cemeteries of the Renaissance and the Baroque periods, of the Sephardim and the Ashkenazim in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow and Istanbul and the cemeteries of the period of emancipation in Paris, Budapest, St Petersburg and Berlin. Each of the cemeteries and the communities they have served is richly illustrated with historical plans, maps, paintings, drawings and photographs. After 1945, Jewish life tentatively began to re-emerge in many parts of Europe, and the book also looks at a range of the continent's post-war cemeteries. From funerary customs to gravestone designs and topographical situations, Jewish cemeteries have enshrined cultural and spiritual values in a dangerous and often deadly world.
Houses of Life is a record of two thousand years of tradition and change, of persecution and survival.
Joachim Jacobs is a landscape architect based in Berlin. He specializes in regeneration projects across Germany and has contributed to numerous publications. He recently designed an extension to the Jewish cemetery in Berlin Grunewald. Hans Dietrich Beyer, born in Berlin in 1955, studied history and archaeology. He has worked as a professional photographer for the past 20 years. His regular commissioners include The State Museums of Berlin (Pergamon Museum), Museum 'Topography of Terror' Berlin (former SS-Headquarters), Jewish Community of Berlin, Touro University New York/Berlin and many other public institutions.