Preserving the cemetery’s extraordinary burials and highlighting this unique heritage area is the objective of the Mémoire Mulhousienne association, which is working to create a website that would make the cemetery more alive than ever.
“Death does not exist: everything is presence, eternally, not a beat of your heart can be lost. It will continue to ring through the gardens…” These first lines of a poem by Nathan Katz undoubtedly inspire members of the Mémoire Mulhousienne association. Since 1994, this association has worked to protect and promote the central cemetery, which they consider a true history book that allows us to understand the past and present of the city of Bollwerk. “The cemetery is almost 150 years old and contains a number of extraordinary burials, it is an important heritage”underlines Joël Eisenegger, who has directed Mémoire Mulhousienne for ten years.
A wonderful cemetery
“There are 40,000 graves, 120 of which are protected as part of the cemetery’s classification as an outstanding heritage site. With those surrounding them, there are 600 to 700 graves that deserve special attention., the president continues. From the industrialist Nicolas Koechlin to the mayor Joseph Klifa, passing by the artist Véronique Filozof or the chemist Emilio Noelting, most of the personalities who have written the history of the city rest in this place. “The cemetery is extraordinary, from its architectural aspect, from its style, from the masters who made some graves that stand out, says Joel Eisenegger. But it is above all the personality of the people who rest there that makes it remarkable… For the way they marked history, they deserve to have their graves protected! »
And to do this, Mémoire Mulhousienne volunteers regularly lend a hand to the maintenance and restoration of several monuments. For five years, a partnership with Semaphore has enabled young people to reintegrate, preserving this unique heritage: “They provide maintenance and gardening work, which allows them to find a living and professional environment to rebuild, says Joel Eisenegger. At first, it seems strange to them, but they take it very seriously and their work is outstanding! »
“Connecting a Legacy System”
It is not enough to preserve the heritage to bring it to life, therefore the association makes it a point of honor to highlight it and make it known to as many people as possible: visits on the occasion of Heritage Days, monthly visits organized by the Maison du patrimoine Edouard Boeglin, the publications of thematic brochures, or even the publication of the book “Les sepultures remarkables du verrezat e Mulhouse” in 2021… “What we are interested in is making sure that the cemetery is considered an XXL history book, the link in a heritage system, pleads Joel Eisenegger. For us, it is an open museum and a wonderful place for education. »
To go further and allow as many people as possible to immerse themselves in the history of Mulhouse through the prism of the cemetery, Mémoire Mulhousienne is working on the creation of a dedicated website, modeled after Rennes Cemetery Where Glieres. “We don’t know what will be left of this cemetery in 50 years, we have a duty to record this legacy in a sustainable way”, analyzes the president of Mémoire Mulhousienne. If the project is in the planning stage, the association already has an idea of what its “Cemetery 3.0” will look like.
Showing the graves and characters
“We imagine a place with panoramic views of cemeteries, graves that tell stories, why not audio content too. We want to pass the stone, with portraits of people… Second, we also want to put QR codes in situ, in the cemeteries to identify the wonderful graves and allow a gateway to the site. » Joël Eisenegger, who hopes to see the first realizations of this project come to fruition at the end of the year, launches an appeal for all those who want to contribute to the project: “We need people who want to work on this topic, for filming, to produce content or to implement technical solutions! »
+ information on www.memoire-mulhousienne.fr