Ancestry.com has added to its collection Berlin civil-registration death records from 1874 to 1955. My great grandfather Fritz Boltz died in 1954; I searched for his record, hoping that the official document would tell me something more than I already knew.

My great grandparents Fritz and Anna Boltz about 1952; two years before his death

In 1874 the Prussian Government passed a law governing the collection of information about civil status, including the registration of deaths. This was the “Gesetz über die Beurkundung des Personenstandes und die Form der Eheschließung”.

Section 56 in the Fifth section, Notarization of deaths, requires that “Every death must be reported to the registrar of the district in which the death occurred no later than the next day of the week.” Section 57 says it must be reported by the head of the family or if that person not available “the person in whose apartment or dwelling the death occurred”. Section 58 provides for official investigation into the death. Section 59 prescribes the information to be provided to register the death:

  • First name and family name, status or trade and place of residence of the notifying party;
  • Place, day and hour of death;
  • First name and family name, religion, age, status or trade, place of residence and place of birth of the deceased;
  • First name and family name of his spouse, or a note that the deceased was single;
  • First name and surname, status or trade and place of residence of the deceased’s parents.

If the information is unknown, this must be noted against the relevant entry.

Section 60 states that no funeral may occur until the death has been
registered.

The legislation was amended in 1920 and again in 1937 but apparently without changing the requirements for death registrations.

My great grandfather’s death was registered in Dahlem, Berlin on 7 April 1954, the day after he died.

Name Fritz Hermann Boltz Gender männlich (Male) Age 74 Birth Date 13/Juli/1879 (13 Jul 1879) Death Date 06/04/1954 (6 Apr 1954) Civil Registration Office Zehlendorf von Berlin Death Place Berlin Berlin Deutschland (Germany) Spouse Hedwig Anna Berta Boltz Certificate Number 730
Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Laufendenummer: 1940 Berlin, Germany, Selected Deaths, 1874-1920 retrieved from ancestry.com

His occupation was ‘Schulhausmeister im Ruhestande’: Retired school caretaker.

It was noted he was ‘evangelisch’, evangelical, that is, Protestant.

He was living in Steglitz, Stubenrauchplatz 1. I knew he had retired and was no longer living at the school in Florastraße where he worked as caretaker, but I did not know where my great grandparents were living at the time.

Initially I could not find this Platz on a map; it was renamed to Jochemplatz in 1962. Their flat was on the corner of Jochemplatz and Florastraße, only 60 metres from where they had lived at Florastraße 13 when Fritz Boltz was school caretaker. The school is still in existence. There is a small park in the triangle bounded by Jochemplatz.

from Google maps showing my great grandparents’ addresses at Florastraße 13 and Stubenrauchplatz 1 which has now been renamed Jochemplatz.

The 1952 photo above seems to be from their balcony overlooking Florastraße.

from Google street view: image captured July 2008. The balcony of my great grandparents can be seen I think towards the right looking onto the trees on the top floor.

My great grandfather died at 2:30 on 6 April 1954 at Nikolassee, Kurstraße 11. This is the address for Evangelisches Krankenhaus Hubertus, now a small general hospital of 200 beds. https://www.krankenhaus.de/evangelisches-krankenhaus-hubertus/

Map generated by Google maps showing Stubenrauchstraße 1 now Jochemplatz 1, my great grandparents’ former residence at Florastraße 13, the hospital at Nikolassee, Kurstraße 11, and the residence of the informant of the death: Willi Lindemann, residing in Berlin-Steglitz, Grunewaldstraße 4. The hospital was about 9 kilometers away from my great grandparents’ home; Grunewaldstraße 4 was less than 1 kilometer from where they lived.

Fritz Hermann Boltz, ‘Der Verstorbene’, the deceased, was born on 13 July 1878 at ‘Götz, Kreis Zauch-Belzig (Standesamt Götz Nr. 12)’, that is, at Götz in the district of Zauch-Belzig (Registry office Götz Number 12).

He was married to Hedwig Anna Berta Boltz, born Bertz.

Fritz Hermann Boltz married Hedwig Anna Berta Bertz on 26 April 1909 in Brandenburg, Germany.

The death was entered from a verbal report from a businessman, Willi Lindemann, residing in Berlin-Steglitz, Grunewaldstraße 4. The reporter is known [presumably to the deceased]. He stated that he had been informed of the death from his own knowledge.

‘Todesursache Krebs der Vorsteherdrüse, Knochenmetastasierung’: Cause of death: cancer of the prostate gland, bone metastasis.

The death certificate does not mention children. Fritz and Anna had only one child, my grandfather Hans. He had emigrated to Australia in 1949.

My mother does not recall Willi Lindemann but remembers that her paternal grandparents had several close friends, Willi Lindemann presumably one of these. His address, in Grunewaldstraße, was close to theirs in Florastraße.

Fritz’s widow, my great grandmother Anna, continued to live in Berlin until 1959, when she emigrated to Australia. She lived in Canberra with her son Hans until her death on 29 April 1961.

The new collection of death records from Berlin has several of my relatives, and I hope to be able to learn more about my family history from them.  Already, besides the death of Fritz Boltz, I have found Anna’s mother Henriette who died in 1942 and learned her father’s name.

Sources

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