The Cemetery of the Nameless was established in 1840 to give a final resting place to unidentifiable bodies whom washed up out of the Danube. It was expanded in 1900 due to regular flooding (the original section is abandoned and largely inaccessible) and the “new” section is surrounded by grain silos and warehouses. After 1940, and the construction of Alberner Hafen (an industrial harbour) the currents of the Danube changed so far fewer bodies wash up, in this area at least.
The majority of graves are marked with ‘namenlos’ (nameless) or ‘unbekannt’ (unknown). Most are adorned with a simple, black, cast-iron cross with a painted silver crucifix. In my opinion, it’s this uniformity that is part of the appeal of visiting.
However, not all of those interred here are nameless. Some were later identified by relatives as having died by suicide. Wilhelm Töhn was murdered by drowning at age 11.
Dying to Visit Friedhof der Namenlosen?
The Cemetery of the Nameless is open all day, every day. There are no costs to enter.
From the centre of Vienna, take the U3 to ‘Enkplatz’, then take bus 76A to Alberner Hafen. Public transport connections are infrequent, and getting there and back will be the most time consuming part of your visit. From the bus stop in Alberner Hafen, follow the sign leading you into the industrial estate. You’ll feel like you couldn’t possibly be headed in the right direction, but you (probably) are. Keep track of the time for the return bus, because you don’t want to be stuck in this area.
remember you will die
remember you are alive