October 27, 2014 — The melancholy German Autumn rested heavily on the leaf-strewn paths as I walked among dark tombs and stones with epitaphs in a language I could not read. I had walked two miles alone through a foreign city to get to this graveyard. I had nothing pressing to get to afterward, no reason to hurry. Every Autumn we look for those certain, special moments where time and memory, mood and nature all coalesce into a feeling that the English language has no word for. I felt it in that moment, the moment I was looking for the graves of the Brothers Grimm.
Jacob was born in 1785, Wilhelm the very next year, both in the town of Hanau, Germany. Most of their lives were spent together in academia, and they published the first edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales in 1812. Both died about four years apart, in 1863 and 1859, respectively, and were buried in Alter St.-Matthäus-Kirchhof in Berlin.
Eventually, I made it back to the entrance, found the map and the location of the graves I was looking for, and headed directly there with the sureness of a man who had just gotten to know the place. The Brothers Grimm are buried adjacent to each other, two of a set of four simple tall columns of black marble. The other two belong to Rudolph and Herman Grimm, Wilhelm’s sons. Other Brothers Grimm. At the base of Wilhelm’s grave someone had left children’s drawings.