shipping box with Herbert's urn

The Story of Herbert Marcuse�s Ashes

by Harold Marcuse, Dec. 2002, updated July 2003, Apr. 2005

to: Herbert's Death, Burial, Grave and Gravestone picture page,

Herbert's Burial News Articles page

Herbert Marcuse official homepage


Herbert died suddenly of a stroke while on a visit to West Germany in 1979 (see picture page). He was cremated in Switzerland Austria [corrected 7/7/03--see note below] because his wife Ricky felt that enough Jews had been reduced to ashes in Germany. His ashes were then sent back to the US, to a funeral home in New Haven, Connecticut, near where Herbert's son Peter lives. (German law doesn't allow human remains to be sent to a private address.)

Ricky (Herbert's third wife) hadn't yet decided what to do with the ashes, so they remained at that funeral home. Peter didn't immediately realize that Ricky's premature death in 1988 meant he was now responsible for the ashes. The senior partner in Peter's former law firm, who had arranged for the funeral home to receive the ashes, died a few years later as well, before Peter learned the name of the funeral home.

None of us really thought about the ashes' whereabouts, until in November 2001 a reader of this website asked about them (see first message below). Peter had to make some phone calls to find out exactly where they had been sent. In 2002 they were moved to my parents' home in Waterbury. That is the story of their "rediscovery."

Just as an aside: some family members couldn't resist taking a look inside the "urn" (actually a cardboard box). Human ash is granular (not flakey), and a lot of staples are mixed in. (Presumably the wooden coffin was stapled together.)

NOTE: Cremating Herbert in Austria instead of Germany makes no logical sense. Once Austria had been annexed by Hitler in March 1938 (known as the Anschluss), most Austrians behaved like 120% Nazis. Disproportionately many Austrians (from Hitler himself on down) were involved in key roles in the genocide of the Jews. [back to top]


December 2001 e-mail asking about their whereabouts:
From: Michel Meynen <[email protected]>
To: Harold Marcuse <[email protected]oo.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 15:33:47 +0100
Dear Sirs,
One of my students at the Karel De Grote-Hogeschool
in Antwerp asked me during the philosophical course
if I knew where exactly Herbert Marcuse was buried
after his death in Starnberg.
I'm sure that you are able to give me this information.
Many thanks on forehand!
Yours sincerely,
Dr. Michel Meynen

Harold answered this initial inquiry shortly thereafter:
This is an interesting question.
To the best of my knowledge, he was cremated in Austria, and his ashes are in an urn in New Haven,
Connecticut, USA. They have not yet been buried.
I'll check into this, and let you know if I find out more.
Harold Marcuse

Harold cc'd his answer to Peter, who confirmed this a few days later:
You're exactly right.
You want them?
Peter

Harold gave it some thought in an e-mail to Peter on December 20/21, 2001:

Well, how about we bury them somewhere where people can visit them. I think Berlin would be appropriate. Herbert was born in Berlin, and I think there's something fitting in his remains returning there. He was, after all, quintessentially a German intellectual, even if he decided never to return to Germany permanently while he was alive. Why give the Nazis the satisfaction of having purged the country even of the remains of some of its finest intellectuals? Hasn't Germany finished its 40 years in the desert?

Three suggestions: "Dorotheenstädtischer Cemetery contains the graves of countless famous Berliners. This is the last resting place of Fichte, Hegel, Schinkel (he designed the gravestone himself), Stüler, Borsig, Heiner Müller (d. 1995), Gottfried Schadow, Litfaß, Heinrich Mann (d. 1950), Brecht, Helene Weigel, Anna Seghers, John Heartfield (d. 1968), Arnold Zweig, Johannes R. Becher, Hanns Eisler (d. 1956), Paul Dessau (d. 1979), and Hans Mayer."

(East) Berlin-Friedrichshain, where the revolutionaries of 1848 and 1918 are buried. This may or may not be the same as Berlin-Friedrichsfelde cemetery, where Luxemburg, Liebknecht and a few others of note (Ulbricht, Pieck) are (Mies von der Rohe's monument there to L&L was destroyed by the Nazis).

The third would be the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weissensee. Stefan Heym just died and got buried there; also the publishers S. Fischer and Rudolf Mosse. On this page: http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~sampras/friedhof1/ hit Geschichte and then Persoenlichkeiten to see other names.

Otherwise I'd say La Jolla, but who the hell is going to trace him there? I think it will be mainly younger German and European intellectuals who will want to pay obeisance, and Berlin has a legacy going back to Freddy II and the enlightenment.

And while we're on the topic, have you given any thought about where you want YOUR remains to end up?
Harold

On December 22, 2002 Peter responded:
Hmmm, I guess I'm not into memorials as much as you! I had rather repressed the issue of the urn, but to the extent I'd thought about it had figured the ashes should be scattered someplace like Pontresina, or Torrey Pines, where he might have liked to have stayed forever...

If we did do a cemetery, Dorotheenstadt would be the most appealing: somewhere between Hegel and Brecht, both his good friends. I wonder how one gets in there? I suppose we could find out...

Actually, I don't know what funeral parlor in New Haven, and John Weisman, now deceased, is the one that put them there. Also could presumably be traced somehow, given the time and interest...

Peter

January 22, 2002 e-mail from Peter Marcuse to several family members
(there had probably been some face-to-face discussion over the holidays):

Folks,
I've located Herbert's ashes -- or at least the name of the funeral parlor to which I assume they were sent, in New Haven (Weller's). John Weisman's friend there (Sylvia Fish) died last year, but I assume that doesn't change things. Fran thinks we should pick them up; I don't particularly want to do that till we know what to do with them, and putting them on the mulch pile does seem a bit too cavalier [Irene had suggested this], even to me. (Although you're welcome to do that with mine...).
Does anybody have any strong feelings? Torrey Pines, in San Diego?
Peter

Peter's daughter Irene Marcuse-Silver (website) responded on Jan. 23, 2002:
well, my vote is for torrey pines -- a place dear to herbert (or feed
them to the hippos?). i think germany's got enough jewish ashes! and besides, wasn't that along the lines of why the cremation was done in switzerland [actually Austria] rather than germany?
in any case, i agree that you should pick them up. for a person who maintains he's not sentimental or superstitious about these things, herr papa, you seem a bit squeamish about having a box of ashes in the house! at least then we'd have them in hand, so to speak, and don't you think he'd rather sojourn in waterbury until we figure it out, rather than languishing on a shelf in a funeral parlor in new haven?

Harold Marcuse responded on January 24, 2002:
As the historian among us, I have great appreciation for people who saved
things that others might consider valuable, even if they themselves didn't.
I feel strongly that they should go to Berlin or Frankfurt, IF the Germans actively want them. I'll find out. If not, well, how about Newton/Brandeis or UCSD? Or some other haven that the US was for him?
Hey, why don't you pick them up? He could stand a visit in Waterbury. Doesn't the Talmud say "vergessen verlaengert das Exil"? [forgetting lengthens exile]
Or, Peter, do you have a particular reason for not wanting them around the house?
Harold

On January 25, 2002 Peter responded:
I'll get them, then we'll figure it out.
Ricky certainly didn't want them in Germany.
How would a library catalogue them in the Dewey decimal system? Do people read ashes, the way they read tea leaves?
Maybe bury them next to Hegel and Brecht?
Anyway, one thing at a time.
Peter

On January 30, Peter announced:
Well, folks, they're there! They had to do some searching, but they found them: in a cardboard box with another box inside.
We'll pick them up next week, probably, and maybe they'll still be around at Passover to meditate on? Or make a decision on.


At this point, Harold intiated a discussion in the website guestbook:

Harold sent an e-mail to various people who had corresponded with him via e-mail about this website, requesting that they post their opinions in the guestbook. I also posted a request for opinions in the "announcements" section of the web site.

January 31, 2002 03:19AM
Name: Medard Krzisnik, 27 year old student of political science from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, once the republic of former socialist Yugoslavia), writing diploma about globalization and Movements for Global Justice, very interested in work of Herbert Marcuse, The essay about the authoritarian side of liberalism from Marcuse influenced me to read more works from Marcuse that finally gave me a lot of understanding of todays currents in global neoliberal context.
Comments: Concerning the question about the ashes of philosopher, I would listen to Marcuse's wishes and please to move his ashes, where he wanted that they should be. Torrey Pines near San Diego and Pontresina in Switzerland were mentioned. Didn't the great philosopher moved to Switzerland, escaping from Nazi terror.

January 31, 2002 06:08AM
Name: Daniel Fidel Ferrer, librarian, Central Michigan University
Comments: As requested by Harold Marcuse.
Herbert Marcuse's ashes:
I think Herbert Marcuse is mostly famous for his books in English which were written in the USA. So, I think Germany is out.
Torrey Pines near San Diego sounds like the best option. If he was happy there, then it seems like a good and peaceful resting place.
On the other hand (philosophically), in his own spirit, it would be better to be in Berlin as a constant reminder of what happened there and what was Marcuse's response to the spirit of his times.
Herbert Marcuse as a student spent some time with Edmund Husserl and from 1928 until 1932 he attended a number of courses with Martin Heidegger, but I think it is clear that G.W.F. Hegel was the greatest influence on his thinking and direction. No Karl Marx without Hegel, it in the same way no Marcuse without Hegel. I see Marcuse as closer to Hegel than Marx. Herbert Marcuse was a thinker and philosopher - he was not a political economist, or a left-wing journalist (tendencies in Marx). Hegel said that in philosophy there are neither predecessors nor successors. So, Marcuse is more than just a left-wing Hegelian or just some modern follower of Hegel. But his critical debate is with Hegel. That is why, I think Herbert Marcuse would be better in Berlin with Hegel.
If you see Herbert Marcuse as wanting to rest peacefully for eternity in Torres Pines that is one vision. But if you see him in a critical debate with his times and philosophical with great philosophers and thinkers, then please let him be with Hegel in Berlin.

January 31, 2002 08:19AM
Name: William Kleinknecht, newspaper reporter
[On Sept. 26, 2001, WK had written the following in the guestbook: I have been meaning to read "One-Dimensional Man" for several years and am finally plowing through it. I am about three quarters of the way through and have found about 15 percent of it to be profound (which makes it well worth reading), about 65 percent possibly profound but requiring further reflection, and the remaining 20 percent incomprehensible. Not incomprehensible because I don't have the intellect to understand it. Incomprehensible because of the poor writing. This man was seriously in need of an editor.]
LinkIn: Having just read One-Dimensional Man, I was surfing the web for critical commentary
Comments: I believe his ashes should be interred in a monument -- even if it is a modest monument -- erected in a place where students and youing scholars gather. If Columbia or Harvard have no place for it, find some other university. Such a monument could inspire young people to rediscover his work and question society's continuing assimilation of corporate values. His teachings now have more relevance than ever.

January 31, 2002 10:16AM
Name: andrew feenberg [professor in San Diego, colleague and student of Herbert's]
Comments: Thank you for creating this wonderful page. I do not think Herbert would have liked public discussion of his ashes.

February 2, 2002 07:39AM
Name: Sigrid Van Nimwegen
From: I am from Germany, living in the US.
LinkIn: I viewed the Juutlainen documentary, which resparked my interest in Herbert Marcuse.
Comments: Herbert Marcuse's final resting place should be Berlin Germany, his birth place.
He spent his most formative years in Germany, which decisively influenced his philosophy, the values he stood for and espoused to the end of his life.
In an interview, which is included in the documentary "Herbert"s Hippopotamus" by Juutilainen Marcuse compares California with its sunshine and warm weather to Europe which he describes as grey, and blunt, and real. He clearly deserves a place in the company of Brecht and Hegel.

February 2, 2002 11:20PM
Name: Brian Gonsalves [maintains a web-site www.herbertmarcuse.com]
From: Orange County CA
Comments: Herbert's ashes: Germany has the graves of more than enough superior thinkers. California does not have a great philosophic tradition and if Herbert's ashes were dispersed here it would be an inspiration to all the budding free thinkers in this beautiful state, which is unfortunately extremely captive to our one-dimensional culture.
-----Brian

February 4, 2002
Name: Michael Peters (Professor), University of Glasgow
Comments: I would like to see Hebert's ashes remain in the US.

February 7, 2002
Name: Elena Tebano [an Italian scholar working on Marcuse]
From: Pisa, Italy
LinkIn: Internet. I get a mail from you regarding Marcuse's ashes.
Comments: (I must apologize for writing German, but I can express my feelings better in this language than in English)
Wenn ich an Marcuses Beschreibungen der Schoenheit der Natur denke, muss ich davon ausgehen, dass das Beste waere seine Aschen irgendwo zu verteilen, wo das Kapitalismus die Landschaft nicht so sehr geschadet hat. Der Friedhof in Berlin, wo Hegel begraben ist, ist allerdings nicht so schoen, eher grau und trueb. Und Marcuse hat immer die Schoenheit geliebt.
[When I think of Marcuse's descriptions of the beauty of nature, I have to presume that the best thing would be to scatter his ashes somewhere where capitalism hasn't disfigured the landscape so much. The cemetery in Berlin where Hegel is buried isn't really that beautiful, rather gray and dismal. And Marcuse always loved beauty.]

February 8, 2002
Name: Heidi Huber Niedermeyer
From: Germany, living in England
Comments: Having had to scatter my dog's ashes, I would not ask of anybody to handle mine; it is too traumatic. Bury the ashes in its present container in Berlin as a reminder for the people of Berlin, that this great son has had to flee the country and that such trajedy must never happen again.

February 10, 2002 08:51AM
Name: Jürgen Kleist, Germany
[On Jan. 16, JK had written the following in the guestbook: Herbert Marcuse is the main reason I came to UCSD to study literature and philosophy. Unfortunately, I never met him since he died shortly before I arrived in La Jolla. I studied with the writer Reinhard Lettau, his long-time friend, however. Both men have shaped my thinking, and I am grateful for that.]
Comments: Dear Mr. Marcuse,
I would like to respond to your request regarding the ashes of Herbert Marcuse. Perhaps my suggestion is unusual but I think that the ashes should be deposited at all three sites. I personally know the Torrey Pines Park, near UCSD, and I think this beautiful place where one has a view on the Pacific Ocean would be appropriate. It is also nearby where Herbert Marcuse taught.
I do not know Pontresina, but if Herbert Marcuse liked it there, he should rest there as well.
And finally, yes, he should be at the cemetery where Hegel's and Brecht's graves are because your grandfather is a great philosopher!
I can understand the hesitation regarding Germany, nevertheless he represents the "other"

February 10, 2002 08:11PM
Name: Birgit - student
From: Alberta , Canada
Comments: I had not yet read any of Marcuse's writings. I am translating part of his dissertation on the artist-novel as an assignment in German-English translation. I hope to read One-Dimensional Man for my own interest. Perhaps your father's ashes could be scattered into the oceans - the Baltic, the Pacific and the Mediterranean for ex.

February 12, 2002
Name: chris[tian Fuchs, from Vienna, who maintains the Herbert-Marcuse-Association website]
Comments: concerning the ashes of herbert marcuse:
i personally think that his ashes should not be returned to germany because this is the country he was driven away from, the country where millions of jews and members of oppositional forces were killed. in contrary to adorno and horkheimer he did not choose to return to germany, so he maybe did not feel too comfortable and save about returning. germany and austria - post-fascist countries - have not completely turned away from national socialism.
officially they have, but the geist (spirit) of fascism still exists. in austria, the right-wing extremist post-fascists have even entered the government two years ago.
post-fascists. people in austria and germany have not learned from the past. i can imagine that herbert would not feel to comfortable being buried in a germany where the attitude that has lead to the worst crimes also still hast not been overcome.
i personally think that the best solution would be some type of memorial at a place he was fond of and where his ashes should be buried.
best, c.

February 13, 2002
Name: Erica Hannickel, graduate student
LinkIn: research on Marcuse for personal interest
Comments: Perhaps his cremains could be kept in a mausoleum in Southern California, or you could scatter them at his favorite spot at Torrey Pines and place a marker there--I think it would be important for there to be a physical place for his studiers/followers/students to visit and feel some connection.
From: northern California, but went to UCSD

February 14, 2002 8:17AM
Name: Irene Marcuse Silver -- Herbert's grandaughter, among other things
From: New York
Comments: As I've already said, I think Herbert's ashes should be scattered at Torrey Pines. After reading the comments here, I admit I'd also entertain the idea of dividing them, with some to be buried in Berlin, altho I also find I have rather strong feelings that my grandfather, who was forced to leave his country, should not be returned there, and also that there are already the ashes of enough Jewish people mixed with German soil.
As to Herbert's reaction to public discussion of his remains -- I imagine he'd be either appalled or amused -- or an ironic combination of the two!

February 14, 2002 1:49PM
Name: Harold Marcuse, site author and one of Herbert's grandsons (among other things)
Comments: Well, if my sister's going to weigh in, I might as well, too. (After my attempt to be objective in asking people to comment here.)
Basically, I think "the Germans" have come a long way--in a positive sense--from when they drove Herbert and the rest of their unwanted citizens from their country in the 1930s and 40s. (When Herbert died in 1979, they had not yet come nearly as far--this is what my own research as a historian is about, so I think I can speak with authority on that.) In fact, Herbert died during an extended, invited sojourn in Germany, during which he was repeatedly honored, for instance with a standing ovation at the Frankfurt Roemerberg Discussions.
Thus I'd say it is a time for healing and making whole again. Herbert, Angela Davis, Erica Sherover (his third wife), all went (back) to Germany to study and teach. At that time no lasting bridges were built; Germany was not ready. But now I think the country is. And I think Herbert would be honored to be next to Hegel and Brecht, as opposed to in perpetual exile in California.
So my vote is for Berlin�presuming, of course, that they do want him there!

February 14, 2002 3:45PM
Name: Peter Marcuse
Comments: Will be very interested in comments on the ashes question -- as well as others

On February 14, 2002 Peter also e-mailed Harold:
Harold,
I see two issues on the ashes:
1. The question you raised initially, whether their being available somewhere would be meaningful to someone, to visit, to see, to serve memory, to honor physically;
2. Where Herbert would want to be scattered.

I'm pretty clear on 2, and some of the comments [in the website guestbook, see above] suggest it too: a beautiful place in nature that he loved, and that would be first and foremost Torrey Pines. Absent 1., that's what I would do.
On 1., no one seems to have picked up on the thought, of the 37 responses so far [that was the total number of guestbook entries at that time, not all of them about the ashes]. My feeling would be, to bring the matter to conclusion, that we make a short inquiry to the Hegel-Brecht cemetery in Berlin (I buy your argument about Germany today being different from earlier, and that anyway if it's the "oppositional" Germany that gets the ashes, fine). If they respond enthusiastically and without hassle, I'd go for it; if not, Torrey Pines.
On Andy [Feenberg]'s comment [in the website guestbook, above], I don't think my father would give two hoots about where his ashes go, or who talked about them; he'd be amused. It's our privacy, not his, we're exposing.
I could put some of this on the guest book site, if you wanted, but maybe we should just go ahead and then report when we hear from Berlin.
Do you know who/where in Berlin?
Peter

On February 22, 2002
Harold wrote to the cemetery in Berlin, which Peter and Frances visited during a trip to Europe in March.
text of Harold's letter to the Berlin cemetery

On March 4, 2002 a friend in Berlin e-mailed Peter (who was already in Berlin):
Peter, habe soeben mit Herrn Lomnitz vom Friedhof gesprochen.
Eine Urnenbestattung ist vollkommen unproblematisch zu arrangieren.
Inzwischen liegt bei ihm auch ein Brief von Harold vor.
Ich habe mit ihm eine Termin f�r Freitag 11.00h auf dem Friedhof vereinbart.
Dort kann es auch um die Auswahl einer speziellen Urnengrabst�tte gehen.

Peter forwarded this to Harold, who responded that day:
Well, if Berlin wants him, I'LL be one pleased person!
I'm about to update Herbert's web page, upload the Apr. 1969 interview published in Sept. 1970 in Playboy, which Michael G. Horowitz sent me. It's pretty good.
I think I'll take down the ashes discussion, too, and change that heading to "announcements". That page gets A LOT of traffic, to the tune of 50 hits per day. Most of these are presumably "new" visitors, since I don't see much point in coming back to the site.
So are you going to tour the cemetery? If it comes to that, you/we may have to pick out a suitable grave marker. An abstract rendition of a one dimensional society crumbling? A hippo? What do the others have?

The cemetery offered Peter a plot.
On March 29, 2002 Peter wrote to Thomas S. in Berlin:

Thomas
Did you ever get specifications on the permissible size or shape of
memorial stones from the Friedhof, or should I write to Lomnitz direct?
I want to confirm our wanting the site anyway.


Meanwhile, readers were still responding in the guestbook (and on e-mail):

From: Howard Winant
To: [email protected]
Subject: Herbert Marcuse notes...
Date-Sent: Friday, February 22, 2002

Dear Harold Marcuse,
It's a tossup where to bury Herbert's ashes. I'd like to see them buried somewhere, not scattered, so that his grave can be visited. But for the three sites you mention -- Torrey Pines, Pontresina, and Berlin -- I think there are roughly equal arguments. You as family members should decide.
A few personal notes: I had the opportunity of studying with your grandfather twice, both times briefly. At Brandeis in the spring of 1965, his last term there, when I had no idea who or what he represented, and again at UC Santa Cruz when he was a visitor in the History of Consciousness program, brought there by Norman O. Brown, where I was a grad student (this would have been about 1976, around the time of THE AESTHETIC DIMENSION. He was kind to me both times, talked with me a lot at UCSC, and influenced me greatly, both as scholar and as personal example.
I'd particularly highlight his resonance with black politics and culture, something that is rarely remarked. Certainly his connection with Angela Davis must have helped him there, but he was always particularly attuned to social injustice and inhumanity. In both AN ESSAY ON LIBERATION and in COUNTERREVOLUTION AND REVOLT he makes a few remarks about racism and black culture, and he questioned Adorno's deprecation of jazz as well. He was the most comfortable in America of the Frankurters, and the most committed to educating a new generation (now no longer so new of course) of radicals. His exchange with Horkheimer and Adorno after their confrontations with German SDS members in Frankfurt makes this clear as well. (These letters were recently published in NEW LEFT REVIEW.)
A final note about me: I am a sociologist specializing in race and ethnicity. I'm the child of two Jewish refugees: my late father was a Viennese and my mom is Dutch. They met in this country in 1941. I'm active in the Jewish left (though thoroughly irreligious I'm afraid) as well as other left projects, notably anti-racism ones.
After 17 years of teaching at Temple University I have accepted a position in sociology at UCSB, to begin next Fall. So perhaps we will meet. I hope so.

February 25, 2002
Name: jan billhardt (student of history in Germany) i'm doing some studies about herbert marcuse and the german press in the years 1967-1969.
Comments: i think berlin is a good place for herbert marcuse. and i think an internet-discussion about the question "where to put herbert marcuses ashes" is realy stupid and absurd.
Website/e-mail: www.minimaltrashart.de

March 2, 2002
Name: A Reader & Fan
From: California
Comments: Thank you for the great site. I think that the ashes should be released at Torrey Pines. It's a beautiful place and maybe his ashes would make it just a little more so.

March 2, 2002
Name: Jerry Zaslove, Professor Emeritus, English and Humanities, Simon Fraser University
From: Vancouver, Canada; http://www.sfu.ca/humanities-institute
Comments: This question of his burial is a very touching way to regain the memory of Marcuse. I am sure the family has its own preferences. I also have visited Dortheen Friedhof many times and can see why this would be a choice. I don't really have any feeling for his life in the U.S. My vote, if that is what it is, is for the family to decide.

At this point Harold took down the request for opinions on the final resting place, and replaced it with a request for suggestions for what might be written on the headstone.

March 24, 2002
Name: Christian Fuchs [in Vienna, who has published on Herbert and maintains a large web site on him (Herbert-Marcuse-Association)]
Comments: at the very end of one-dimensional man, herbert cited walter benjamin both in german and english:
Nur um der Hoffnungslosen willen ist uns die Hoffnung gegeben
It is only for those without hope that hope is given to us
This somehow for me sums up his own work: the negativity of bourgeoise society that produces hopelesness within the existing totality, but nevertheless optimism that one can transcend and sublate the existing false totality as well as hope for fundamental social change that can result in a better, free society.
the german marxist philosopher ernst bloch wrote that hope should be \"tätige hoffnung\" (active hope) in order to change society for the better.
herbert marcuse\'s life was active hope as shown by his political engagement and his search for a concrete philosophy that wanted to contribute to the liberation of man.
maybe one could write on the gravestone besides a biographical note this quotation from benjamin for it reflects the dialectic of negativity/hopelesness and active hope for a better society that guided herbert\'s thinking and acting.
another idea would be a short quotation from one of herbert\'s favourite poems or lyrical works that also stands metaphorically for his life, achievements and works.
or a quotation from one of his books that also stands metaphorically.

May 3, 2002
Name: Casey Blackhawk
From: MEXICO
LinkIn: Researching the Institute for Marxism at the Unviversity of Frankfurt.
Comments: As I was researching the Institute For Marxism at Franfurt University, I discovered that it had emigrated under American Humanitarian Programs for Refugees, and betrayed America, BITTERLY, in thanks. Then I discovered that Marcuse, Fromm Reich, et al, were MOLES from this evil organization. My suggestion for interring his ashes? Anywhere among the 100 million XXth century murder victims of Marxism.
May 4, 2002
Name: Casey Blackhawk
LinkIn: followed my nose until I stepped in it.
Comments: So, have you decided what historical site where Socialism committed genocide to use to deposit that roaches ashes? [if you're interested in this kind of invective, see my haters' page]

May 18, 2002
Name: Michael Schwandt
From: Berlin / Germany
Comments: If Herbert Marcuse is to rest finally on the "Dorothenstädtischer Friedhof", i would like to attend the ceremony. I wrote my diploma a few years ago about Marcuse and Adorno, comparing their view on political action. Usually working in education projects, from time to time i give courses about critical theory at the "Freie Universität Berlin". Well, finally, if you ask about a grave marker: it should be simple, i think, and i would offer to make a donation (if necessary).

February 25, 2003
Name: Dwjght Putnam
From: Boston, Mass.
Comments: How, pray, does one "forget" for 20 years the ashes of one's father and grandfather?
Is this an ancient Jewish rite? Or a German 'Lachnummer'? Simply too interesting.


On November 1, 2002 Peter wrote to Harold:
My recollection is you were going to slightly reformulate the request to Thomas Flierl for an Ehren [honorary] designation for Herbert's ashes at the Dorotheenfriedhof, I think just reviewing the little synopsis you did when we first wrote to the Friedhof?
I'd like to do it while the PDS [left-wing party] still has the slot in the [Berlin] Senate!

In December 2002
Peter wrote to the Berlin city government, whether they would take responsibility for the grave as an "honorary grave" of the city. (Nov. 25, 2002 draft by Harold of Peter's letter to the city of Berlin)


In Spring 2003 the Berlin Senate approved the honorary grave designation, and approached the philosophy department at the Free University about organizing a conference at the site of Herbert's monumental 1967 and 1968 lectures at that Berlin university.
The interment (burial) was scheduled for Friday, July 18, 2003, the day before what would have been Herbert's 105th birthday. (Cemetery personnel don't work on Saturdays.)
From: Peter Marcuse <[email protected]>
Subject: gravesite
Date: Thursday, February 13, 2003
Good news:
The City (actually, the Land) of Berlin is about to approve the designation of Herbert's grave as an Honorary Grave of the Land Berlin.
That means not only that they'll pay all maintenance costs in the future, but that the normal rule of the cemetery, that destroys a grave after some set number of years (maybe 75?) will not be in effect. It's cleared all the discretionary hurdles, and simply has to be affirmed at a full meeting of the Senate.
I'm pleased. I think they owed it to the old man. Peter
From: Peter Marcuse <[email protected]>
Subject: Herbert
Date-Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2003
Family,
This is the letter I'm sending to everyone on the list [of personal invitees].
Peter
------------------------------
Dear ,
We would like to invite you to join us when we bring my father's ashes to Berlin for burial at the Dorotheenstäditscher Friedhof on July 18, 2003.
When my father died, in Starnberg in 1979, we had a very small ceremony of mourning with only a few friends standing in a circle in the woods.
His body was cremated and flown to a funeral home in the U.S. It sat there for many years; my father was not sentimental about such things; he knew that the ashes were neither the person nor the spirit. Harold has since put up a very informative web site on my father. A few years ago someone raised the question of where he was buried, and we began thinking something more than an urn in a funeral parlor might be appropriate. We debated, and decided Berlin was the appropriate resting place for the urn. We've now gotten a grave site at the Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof in Berlin, and we will bring the ashes there with a small ceremony on the 105th anniversary of his birth this summer. The Berlin Senate may designate the grave as an honorary gravesite of Berlin's. We think that's appropriate, that his birthplace, in the country that disowned him, should now honor him on "his" return.
Our plans are simple, and still subject to change in details. We want to do the interment (Bestattung) in the early afternoon of Friday, July 18 (his birthday is actually July 19, but that's a Saturday, and would create problems for the cemetery personnel). Our family, who will be coming from the U.S. and England for the occasion, will probably go the the KZ Sachsenhausen the day before, and to the new Jewish Museum and possibly site of the Luxemburg/Liebknecht monument that morning.
Others might wish to join us. But in any event we then want to have a small ceremony as we bring the urn to the cemetery. Then we all want to repair to the Brecht Haus, which is immediately adjacent, for some type of remembrance program. We are loose as to what it should be: we want both to remember him as a person - everyone we are sending this to knew him personally or had a direct connection to him or his work - and we want to reflect on what his life and work means in today's world. We do NOT want speeches or lectures, but hope for an informal sharing of thoughts and feelings. (For my own part, I want to reread several things Herbert wrote about death, which I've never actually explored, but I
think my own comments would be more personal.) Conceivably we might talk about organizing a formal Marcuse conference for the following year.
The Brecht Haus has a lovely outside garden under spreading chestnut trees that might be available to us; it also has the Brecht Keller, a restaurant, and we're seeing if we all might then adjourn there for supper.
We are undecided as to whether we want to give the event publicity. Our thinking is that we clearly do not want an open affair, but want to limit it to those who knew and cared for Herbert and what he stood for. But perhaps, if there were interest, we would not object if a journalist attended, on the theory that it might have something of a political resonance, and might also be good publicity for the volumes of his Nachlass which are now coming out both in German and in English, We're attaching a list of those we're inviting; if we have by oversight neglected someone who should be welcome, please do let us know. And if you have any comments or suggestions on the proceedings, we'd be glad to hear from you too.
Let us know if you can come.
------------------------------
Subject: [Fwd: Ehrenbestattung Herbert Marcuse]
Date-Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2003 8:40 AM -0500
"G. Gebauer" wrote:
> Sehr geehrter Herr [Peter] Marcuse,
> von unserem Wissenschaftssenator bin ich ueber die Absicht
> informiert worden, am 19. Juli ein Ehrengrab für Ihren Herrn
> Vater einzuweihen. Ich bin ueber diese Initiative sehr gluecklich,
> denn ich gehoere zu der Generation, auf die Herbert Marcuse
> einen grossen Einfluss gehabt hat. Seine Schriften gehoeren zu
> den aufregenden Momenten meines Studentenlebens, und als er
> seinen grossen Vortrag an der Freien Universitaet gehalten hat,
> gehoerte ich zu den Anwesenden. Ich bin sehr geehrt darueber,
> dass mich das Praesidium der Freien Universitaet mit der
> Veranstaltung zu Ehren Ihres Vaters beauftragt hat. Der Planung
> dieser Veranstaltung dient mein Schreiben.
>
Poster for July 2003 Conference at the FU Berlin > Wir planen aus Anlass der Einweihung des Ehrengrabes eine
> Veranstaltung, auf der in Vortraegen und Diskussionen das Werk
> von Herbert Marcuse aus heutiger Sicht gewuerdigt werden soll.
> Ich wuerde gern zwei Gruppen von Philosophen oder Wissenschaftlern
> einladen: zum einen Persoenlichkeiten, die sich in den 60er Jahren
> fuer eine Rezeption Marcuses in Europa eingesetzt haben, zum
> anderen juengere Persoenlichkeiten, die in der letzten Zeit das
> Werk kommentiert und neu eingeschaetzt haben. Sehr gern wuerde
> ich auch auf Ihre Wuensche eingehen: Gibt es Autoren, die Sie
> fuer einen Vortrag oder einen Diskussionsbeitrag empfehlen
> moechten? Haben Sie selbst bestimmte Wuensche zur Organisation
> der Veranstaltung selbst, z.B. was die Themenwahl oder die Art
> und Weise der Wuerdigung betrifft? Und schliesslich: Moechten
> Sie selbst zu den Anwesenden sprechen?
>
> Es wird spaeter sicher noch weitere Fragen geben, die ich an Sie
> richten werde. Aber zunaechst einmal waere ich Ihnen dankbar,
> wenn Sie mir Ihre Ansichten zu meinen Fragen mitteilen wuerden.
>
> Mit den besten Gruessen
> Gunter Gebauer
> (Geschaeftsfuehrender Direktor des Instituts fuer Philosophie
> der Freien Universitaet Berlin)
[note 10/11/04: I will be making a July 2003 Berlin Conference Page]

After the burial (see the newspaper reports in the Ashes Articles page) there was some more feedback in the guestbook:

July 19, 2003 01:04AM
Name: Frieder Otto Wolf, radical philosopher, Freie Universität Berlin
Comments: Thanks to the Marcuse family, especially to Peter Marcuse, for having taken the initiative for the event on July 17th at the FUB!
That it has been mainly nostalgic was not their fault, nor the organizer's who has done a great job in bringing this about.

July 19, 2003, 3:58AM
Name: Dr.phil. Ursula Mueller-Herlitz
From: D53757 Sankt Augustin/Germany
LinkIn: "General-Anzeiger" Bonn of 19/20 July 2003 reported on the funeral
Comments: As a teacher of philosophy and history I am glad to learn that Herbert Marcuse returned back to Germany.


prepared for the web by Harold Marcuse, Dec. 18, 2002; last updated 4/12/05
back to top of this page; pictures of burial, articles about burial and conference,
Herbert Marcuse official homepage