When a loved one has passed away

A few months ago, I used the services of Januar Bestattungen to help me organize the cremation of my father. The proceedings for this might be a bit different in Germany than what people are used to in other country, it was thanks to the clear and concise help of Martina that I could handle this. I can only recommend Januar Bestattungen, for expats and locals. Martina is very competent, empathetic and always available. Our situation was quite complex, but at Januar Bestattungen they always found a solution. Many thanks for that.

Patrick Paterson

Our mother died recently in Berlin. As a US citizen of German birth and residency, we were contacted by the US Embassy, and as part of the many services they kindly and patiently supplied, we received a list of Funeral Homes with English speakers, who are familiar with both German and American law as regards cremation, burials and exporting remains to the US from Germany. I wrote to everyone and all were helpful and kind, but Martina at Januar Bestattungen called back, and explained that she could not only perform whatever services we needed, but she would also organize ALL the necessary paperwork, and also get official translations done for the TSA as well as German airport authorities. Best of all, she could get it done in just under 2 weeks, when our departure was scheduled, something most of the other Bestattungen could not do. So that settled that, and Martina quietly and efficiently took care that we understood our options, that they were performed in a timely manner, that I always knew next steps to keep everything rolling, and she also arranged a very simple and thoughtful cremation. A few special things stood out — one, the simple pine coffin we had requested was exactly that, and exactly what our mother had always wanted. It was even beautifully hand crafted right in Charlottenburg!… and two, the crematorium, probably at Martina’s suggestion, supplied a basket of crayons so we could write or draw on the coffin, which our mother would also have LOVED. As did we — it was very moving to be able to be part of her process in that way. Then, when Martina asked us if we had a playlist for music while we drew and visited with our mother, we realized we had forgotten to even think of that, so she supplied her own. And the first song on her list was our mother’s absolute favorite song, “Imagine” by John Lennon. Not surprising for a funereal play list but so apt and so welcome and it was just perfect. Then, the day before our return flight, we received our mother’s ashes, in a biodegradable, xray-able urn, and all the papers, translations, etc that we had been promised, and everything went off without a hitch at both the Berlin and Washington DC airports. It was a difficult time made so much easier by Martina, who turns out the be the owner of Januar Bestattungen. We picked up the ashes at her office in Wedding, which was lovely and tranquil but not somber. The passage from life to death is treated with respect and honor but not gloom. It felt very right. The whole thing from beginning to end gave me complete and completely justified confidence that what was promised would be done, as it was — kindly, professionally and with genuine care and warmth. We would recommend Martina and Januar Bestattungen to anyone of any nationality they serve, as they have relations with many of the embassies. In every single way, Martina and her company did an absolutely perfect and professional job. Thank you! We’ll never forget how you made a sad time so special.

Michele Hierholzer

When someone passes away, this most often hits us unexpectedly and painfully. At the same time a lot has to be organised; deadlines have to be kept. Our outline offers you with some orientation; we will support you with our heart and common sense, reconciling the saying of goodbye and the funeral.

English funeral berlin, Martina Gohlke-Broneske -We're grateful for all the support you provided us with.
support people to have good experiences of funerals

If the death occurs at the hospital, nursing home or hospice, the medical certification of death is instigated. In case a close one passes away at home kindly inform the responsible general practitioner or the Medical On-call service at the general emergency telephone number: 116117

+49(30) 98555609

Dear Martina, I have often thought that I needed to be in touch with you and thank you again for tremendous support you provided Tal Siegel (Shalom’s daugther) and me during our time of great distress. The attached picture is by a local Tsfat artist and depicts the 23rd Psalm from the Bible. The psalm appears in Hebrew in the picture, with an English translation on the back of the picture. I thought this particular psalm would be very appropriate for the work you do comforting families of the deceased. Tal Siegel and I thank you so much for the wonderful service and support you gave us when we were in Berlin. May God provide you with continued blessings and strength to continue the important work that you do. All the best to you and your family! With much love and appreciation.

Yocheved Abram, Israel, October 2019

First Steps

  • Kindly inform the family, relatives and friends of the deceased at best, personally
  • What comes first is an individual goodbye, in any particular way one wants it to be.  A laying out in familiar surroundings, for instance at home, at a hospice or a nursing home, is possible within the legal period of 36 hours.
  • We discuss the next steps with you. You would kindly make an appointment with us for the transport to one of our climatised rooms. There you can also lovingly care for your deceased.
Bestattungspflicht Berlin, Friedhof in den Kisseln

Before the Funeral

We will advise you on the choice of the suitable funeral form. If no declaration of intend for the funeral was signed in life, the relatives of the deceased are obliged to take care of the decision. 

  • determine the date of the funeral, and termination
  • Coordinate the funeral date with the cemetery
  • Arrange a preliminary talk with a pastor or funeral speaker
  • Place an obituary in the newspaper
  • Compile adress list for the mailing of in memoriam cards relatives, friends, colleagues, association…
  • Design, print and mail In memoriam cards 
  • As may be the case, stones of existing graves may have to be moved by a stonemason 
  • Develop personal rituals together 
  • Select music, possibly book a musician 
  • Order floral arrangements 
  • Book a location for a funeral reception 

In case the deceased lived alone kindly remember

  • Take care of pets and plants, close open windows 
  • Remove food 
  • Disconnect electrical devices
  • Turn off gas, water, electricity 
  • empty their mailbox

After the Funeral

We also do the following for you: 

  • Print and mail thank you notes 
  • Change or terminate insurances 
  • Change or terminate TV licencing (GEZ) 
  • See to digital heritage 
  • Order a stonemason for the tomb 
  • Arrange for cemetary maintenance 

If applicable, please also remember to: 

  • Terminate the tenancy within the legally stipulaled period of three months and dissolve apartment
  • Have nursing bed, rollator collect
  • Change or terminate direct debit mandates and standing orders
  • See to mail forwarding order
  • Apply for the opening of will and the certificate of inheritance at the district court or notary  


  • Gas / electricity / water 
  • Telephone / mobile telephony / Internet
  • Motor vehicle (KfZ)
  • Subscriptions of newspapers and magazines  

Mourning needs sharing and companionship 

We do not leave you alone with your grief. In addition to the care by family and friends, there is also professional support. Feel free to contact us at any time. 

Papers, Documents, Regulations
  • Declaration of intent for the funeral form
  • Burial provision contract

We also assist you withthe completionofall formalities. The issuing of death certificates at the responsible registry office requires the following:

  • Death certificate
  • Identification card/ Passport
  • Current vital records:
    • Single person: Birth certificate
    • Married person: Marriage certificate
    • Divorced person: Marriage certificate and divorce degree with statement of legal effect
    • Widowed person: Marriage certificate and death certificate of spouse
    • Same-gender partnership: Corresponding certificate
    • Citizens of foreign countries require a certified translation of these documents

If death certificates are issued by the registry office, inheritance and pension affairs can be arranged, and memberships, subscriptions and contracts can be terminated. If applicable, the following would be required:

  • Will for opening at the district court
  • Pension number(s) and data of company pension(s)
  • Health insurance card
  • Severely handicapped pass
  • Death benefit, accidentand life insurance policies
  • Membership card of organisations, associations, trade unions, possibly death benefits are paid
Bestatter Bewertung – Funeral Home Reviews

I would like to whole-heartedly thank Martina Gohlke-Broneske and her husband Matthias for their big support after the passing of my beloved father in June 2020. As Americans living in Berlin I wanted to work with someone who would go the extra mile not only dealing with German bureaucracy but also knowing the American legal requirements. Mrs Gohlke-Broneske exceeded all expectations by not only supporting in legal issues but also advising in all others matters that being finding the right cemetery, navigating through the types of funerals and planning all necessary details for the funeral services including the creative process of designing the funeral invitation cards. Without her expertise and empathy my wife and I could not have managed through these tough weeks after losing a close loved one. Martina was not only available 24/7 on the phone but also met several times personally with my wife and me at our home in order to discuss all details. Her passion and dedication for her profession are one of a kind. On the day of the funeral Mrs. Gohlke-Broneske held an exceptional and touching speech for my father. Everything was perfectly organized from flower selection to photography;  a photo album and condolence book captured the essence of the day beautifully. My wife and I can’t thank Martina Gohlke-Broneske and her husband enough for their loving accompaniment during these challenging weeks.

Steven Dobbins, Berlin, Juli 2020