Work for a dignified farewell: Undertaker in the corona crisis

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Updated January 13, 2021 at 8:24 pm

  • Frightening images from Meissen show coffins stacked untidily on top of each other in the crematorium.
  • The undertaker industry criticizes such conditions and points out that this would be an exception.
  • In many places, undertakers lack protective equipment because they are not classified as systemically relevant.

You can find more about the corona crisis here

Pictures show wooden coffins stacked on top of one another in prayer rooms, some of them Carelessly wrapped in plastic wrap.

On some are the words “Covid” or “Corona” – written with chalk or Edding, some blurred: The recordings are difficult to bear in the past few days in the Saxon city Meissen have arisen.

Even before Christmas there were bottlenecks in the crematorium in Zittau, Saxony. Corpses had to be temporarily stored there outside the crematorium.

Undertaker businesses at the limit

In the Corona hotspot Meißen, the communal crematorium could no longer keep up with the cremation of the deceased. The companies in Dresden and Nuremberg are also working on the Load limit. Above all, however, there is a lack of understanding for the way in which the deceased are treated in Meissen.

Criticism also comes from the industry itself: “These pictures are terrible and are not normal,” says Stephan Neuser, General Secretary of the Federal Association of German Undertakers. “That also damages the job description, since other crematoria could certainly have been contacted in advance.”

Others from the industry mention the processes in Meißen “undignified”. And that is exactly what the undertakers want in the corona crisis: to make the farewell for relatives and the deceased as dignified as possible.

The situation is still under control nationwide

The challenges are diverse: As new cases increase, so does the number of those who die with or from COVID-19. Even where there have been few deaths related to the virus, the cases are now increasing. “We only had the first corona-positive death at the end of October,” says Andreas Niehaus, an undertaker from Bielefeld. “I still know who it was, you keep that. But at the moment the numbers are going up a lot.”

The situation is still manageable nationwidesays association chief Neuser. In general, undertakers would be more busy in January because the registry offices closed for a long time over the holidays and only gradually closed Death certificates exhibited. “If you then have Corona hotspots like in Saxony and one Excess mortality, then that can lead to overloading in individual regions. “But that is not the case across the board.

Even there, where there are many old people’s homes, the undertakers are currently more busy than usual. However, conditions as serious as in Meissen are individual cases. “We have 163 crematoria in Germany. These are exceptional situations that are homemade,” emphasizes Neuser.

Mourning and death in Corona times pose new challenges for undertakers

Most undertakers face other challenges: “How can I get one Funeral service carry out? Can the relatives see the deceased again? How many people can be present at the consultation? They are Topics that concern the industry“says Neuser.

“With us, relatives sit in the counseling session, the Deceased because of the illness for weeks have not seen and even now are no longer allowed to see. It’s just incredibly difficult, “says Bielefeld undertaker Niehaus.

In addition, the entrepreneurs have to protect themselves. There is still a risk of infection from infected people even after their death. But at Protective materials and also at Vaccinations the undertaker would have to queue up at the moment, criticizes the association.

Undertakers are not classified as systemically relevant in many places

In many federal states the Occupation not classified as systemically relevant: According to the industry, this applies to Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and even Saxony, where there are at least positive signals in this direction. Childcare is therefore also a problem for entrepreneurs there. There is no entitlement to emergency care as long as the profession is not considered to be systemically relevant.

However, nothing changes in the type of burial. The trend has been increasing for years Cremationssays Neuser. Corona has not yet accelerated this development. This form of burial is traditionally very common, especially in the east. In 90 to 95 percent of all burials, the deceased is cremated in the eastern German states. In the west, the rate is between 70 and 75 percent. (awa / dpa)




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Work dignified farewell Undertaker corona crisis

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