Friedrich Schiller was laid to rest in the Kassengewölbe Mausoleum in St. Jacob’s Cemetery in the middle of the night on 12 May 1805. In 1827 what were believed to be his remains were transferred to the Ducal Vault. Scientific analysis has revealed since then that the contents in Schiller’s casket belonged to several people. Consequently, his sarcophagus in the Ducal Vault is now empty.

History

Around 1712/13 the state bursar Christoph Jenichen had his family mausoleum built in St. Jacob’s Cemetery. It was comprised of an underground vault and pavilion-like structure. Ownership of the vault passed to the State Landscape Treasury Department in 1742 which is why the site eventually became known as the “Kassengewölbe” (treasury vault).

The department allowed high-ranking members of society to be buried there if they had no gravesite of their own, as was the case with Friedrich Schiller. When it finally closed in 1826, the vault contained the remains of 64 individuals. In 1826/27 and 1911/14, Schiller’s remains were exhumed and transferred to the Ducal Vault. Following a DNA analysis conducted as part of a research project from 2006 to 2008, researchers confirmed that the remains did not belong to the poet.

Gisebert Nemetscheck, “The Kassengewölbe in Weimar where Schiller had once rested”, 1829
Gisebert Nemetscheck, “The Kassengewölbe in Weimar where Schiller had once rested”, 1829

The Kassengewölbe Mausoleum lost its significance after Friedrich Schiller’s alleged corpse was relocated to the Ducal Vault. The cemetery fell into disrepair. The town of Weimar made efforts to purchase the grounds in order to convert the area into a small park. In 1854 Duke Carl Alexander approved the purchase of the property. The underground vault was backfilled, and the pavilion was torn down.

The present vault, built in 1927 atop the original foundation walls, is a reconstruction based on the historical model. The stone plaques inside list the names of those who had once lain there, including Louise von Göchhausen, Anna Amalia’s court lady. Another commemorates Schiller’s burial here in May 1805.

Projects of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free State of Thuringia, represented by the State Chancellery of Thuringia, Department of Culture and the Arts.

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