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How to Find Karl Barth’s Grave

A few weeks ago, Melissa and I traveled over to Basel for a couple of days while my parents watched the kids. Needless to say, as a 100% unquestioning, blindly faithful and uncritical devotee of Karl Barth, it was a transcendent experience, with highlights including a trip to Barth’s last residence up on the Bruderholz as well as dinner at his favorite restaurant, the Walliser Kanne (where, incidentally, I paid nearly 30 francs for what I’m told was Barth’s usual dish – Käseschnitte mit Ei – essentially some very expensive cheese on toast). In any case, going on a tip from a friend, we also made our way over to the Hörnli cemetery to pay our respects to the sleeping Barth clan. Seeing as it was a royal pain in the arse to find the exalted mound, I though it might be helpful to record some more detailed directions for future grave hunters (which, admittedly, is only to expand on the very fine work of this guy – ignoring for the moment his invocation of a certain “theodrama” mentioned at the end of the post).

Right. So here’s how you do it. First off, we took the 31 bus from Schifflände station in the city center, which lets you off right up in front of the Friedhof am Hörnli, the cemetery where Barth is buried.

Now, the technical location of the grave is section 0803, grave 0014 – but if you’re an idiot like me, these numbers are difficult to decipher, particularly if there’s no help available. Basically, the first thing you’ll have to do is find section 8, which is located here:

On the map of section 8, the grave is located here:

If you’re standing near the head of the section, you can see a white wall toward the back. Barth’s headstone is against this wall, about one quarter in from the left.

Success! – here’s a couple stunning pictures of the grave (again, pay no attention to the name that’s slightly cut off in the first one – it’s really not worth your mental energies to think about it).

So there you are – hopefully this will help you should you ever decide to do the right thing and get yourself over to Basel where you belong.

I’ll leave you with one last picture of myself eating the legendary Käseschnitte. It comes highly recommended, but be warned – eating such cuisine has been known to produce the urge to radically revise the doctrine of election.