The farvel project is completed.

With farvel, Jennifer Beitel, Markus Traber and Lilli Berger have spent two years developing virtual 3D memory spaces and staging various events in Virtual Space. The team conducted research during the funding period up to and including September 2022 with the help of start-up grants from the Berlin University of the Arts and the Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf. Two companies emerged from the research results and start-up experiences:

Markus Traber and Jennifer Beitel with

Lilli Berger with

P.S. All rooms, including Mandy's memory room, will continue to be available under and will be jointly managed by us.

We want to help shape the culture of remembrance and are thus part of a natural process, because historically, the forms and rituals of mourning are in a state of continuous change. 

The funeral home as a service company that accompanies the bereaved, takes care of any formalities, looks after the deceased and organizes the burial has not existed for very long. Although burials are one of the oldest cultural forms of mankind, a market for funeral services did not emerge until the 19th century. 

In the Großer Lexikon der Bestattungs- und Friedhofskultur by Rainer Sörries1 it can be read that in the Middle Ages (6th-15th century) a burial is completely embedded in the social structure of society. The church is responsible for the burials. It is organized within the framework of religious affiliation and status of the deceased. In that period, funeral affairs are largely organized within the family. Since most people have few financial resources at this time, the bereavement community often reduces the funeral to only its essential components, such as transportation and burial without a coffin. Funeral services are performed out of a sense of religious and moral duty rather than to generate profits. Accordingly, until the 19th century, there is no demand for a choice of funeral services or corresponding goods.

Geburt des Bestattungsberufs 1

Around 1800, cemeteries are gradually moved out of towns and villages for hygienic reasons. Due to the lack of proximity to places of worship, the use of coffins prevails for logistical and hygienic reasons. From these areas of responsibility and activity, new professions develop, specializing in organization and coffining. For this occupational group there are first regional designations: Heimbürgin (East Germany), Totenfrau (Baden), Seelnonne (South Germany), Leichenhuhn (Switzerland), Leichenwäscherin, Lichtfrau und Lichtmutter (Münster), Seelschwester, Einmacherin (South Germany) and Leichenfrau1. The latter becomes the official job title1 in 1862. Their task is to wash and dress the dead, procure the coffin and report the death to the registry office. It is striking that until the economization of the funeral profession, the activities surrounding a burial are mainly carried out by women.

Geburt des Bestattungsberufs 2

Im 19. Jahrhundert bilden deshalb Frauen die erste offizielle Berufsgruppe, die exklusiv mit der Bereitstellung von Totenfürsorgeleistungen betraut ist. Die beiden Forscher Dominic Akyel und Jens Beckert stellen in ihrer Untersuchung „Kultureller Wandel und Marktentstehung am Beispiel des Bestattungsmarktes“ eine weitere signifikante Änderung fest. „Im Rahmen der allmählichen Kommunalisierung des Bestattungs- und Friedhofswesens seit dem Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts wurden die Totenfrauen und Totengräber in den städtischen Dienst aufgenommen und erfuhren so eine Aufwertung ihres Berufsstandes“2. This nationalization and development of the professional funeral industry thus marks the transition from family-based to professional provision of care for the dead and creates a new market. On the one hand, these developments relieve (working) families; on the other hand, there is a loss of knowledge within the family about death. In the long term, this leads to a dependence on external professionals.

Cover Image Credits:


  1. Sörries, Reiner (2002): Großes Lexikon der Bestattungs- und Friedhofskultur, in: Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel (Hrsg.): Wörterbuch zur Sepulkralkultur, 1. Aufl. Bd. 1, 1. Volkskundlich-kulturgeschichtlicher Teil: von Abdankung bis Zweitbestattung, Braunschweig: Thalacker Medien.
  2. Akyel, Dominic; Beckert, Jens (2014): Pietät und Profit. Kultureller Wandel und Marktentstehung am Beispiel des Bestattungsmarktes, in: KZfSS Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 66. Jg., Heft 3/2014

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