German cemetery nixes sexualized tombstone for sex-worker/advocate's grave

A tombstone for the famed German sex-worker and advocate Domenica Niehoff has been turned down as too sexual by the cemetery where she was buried.

The 77-year-old artist Tomi Ungerer's parting gift to his friend Domenica Niehoff was to be a gravestone featuring two ample pink marble boulders in homage to her famously top-heavy figure. But those responsible for the Garden of Women cemetery, resting place of Hamburg's most famous women, turned his design down, the paper reported...

Ungerer and Niehoff were friends for decades, and even shared a flat for a while in 1984. He published drawings of Niehoff and her colleagues in a book entitled "Guardian Angels of Hell" at the time...

Niehoff, who gained fame for advocating the rights of sex workers in the 70s and 80s, died at age 63 in February 2009.

Famous prostitute's gravestone deemed too 'slutty' (Thanks, Rosa!)


  1. Such a shame her image is not permitted to hangout at her tombstone as her breasts hungout most of her life. Rest in peace.

  2. “Damn yokels! That’s it! Dig her up. I’ll bury her somewhere else… Somewhere sophisticated“, would be the proper response in this case.

  3. Just as a bit of background info:
    I’m not sure about the details in anglical countrys, but in Germany the whole process of burring, cemetaries and graveyards, is still strongly reflecting the christian culture.

    Lot’s of stuff is forbidden, what is allowed in other countries.

    This descision is no surprise to germans as the ‘look and feel’ of any grave is dictated by a ‘cemetary order’ and several laws.

    Keyword here would be ‘reverence’ in a catholicismic sense…

  4. And there is of course also the question if she would want to have a tombstone in the form of giant marble breasts.
    There is more to this story, because Domenica herself did feel her breasts to be a burden so my guess is she would have appreciated the joke in her friends’ tombstone, yet probably she would have wanted something with more dignity.
    The cemetery in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf is quite old and “reverence” and “dignity” really mean something here.

  5. @2 Yeah, well … Perhaps he gonna go build his own theme park. With blackjack. And hookers.


    I agree with Teapunk. She was quite clear about the matter of her breasts and other of her friends criticized Ungerer’s idea.

    Personally, I think his sketch is more about his fetishes and his urge to provoke, not about a tribute to a friend.

  6. #3, Anonymous:

    I’m not sure about the details in anglical countrys, but in Germany the whole process of burring, cemetaries and graveyards, is still strongly reflecting the christian culture.

    There are very strict regulations on what memorials are allowed in churchyards in the UK, but it’s more to do with preserving ‘character’ of churchyards (in a similar way to listing of historic buildings).

    Municipal cemeteries have their own rules, which are much less strict. There are some horrific gravestones in my local municipal cemetery- some featuring the deceased person’s death car, their bull terrier, or their favourite footballer.

  7. Cildar: Yes. A luggage penis. I sit on one every so often to watch a film, perhaps some TV.

    The term “sofa” has a better, more eloquent replacement from here on in… luggage penis.

  8. After using google translate to cycle the phrase “luggage penis” through a dozen languages and then back to English, I found that “penis” remained the same but “luggage” had become “removal”.

  9. My main familiarity with Tomi Ungerer is as an illustrator of children’s books. Interesting how, while authors and artists may produce works for children, they often have other semi-public and public parts of their life that are strictly adults only.

  10. Teapunk wrote: “Domenica herself did feel her breasts to be a burden.”

    If this is true, then perhaps it would be more fitting to use a pair of millstones.

  11. @ TeaPunk,

    …yet probably she would have wanted something with more dignity.

    I am sure that you’ll recognize with me that there are very few things more dignified than the breasts of a woman, giving and receiving pleasure and life, warmth and comfort with being among the most aesthetic form ever.

    What makes you say that Ungerer meant for his sculpture to be a joke?

  12. You probably won’t read this, Iaminnocent, but I’ll answer anyway:
    The Joke: Tommi Ungerer is quite well known, not only for his illustrations of childrens books but also for his more grown-up sketches and books and I’ve always thought of him as someone who truly and deeply understands that life in itself is a joke and he found ways not only to enjoy that but also to express it in his art.

    Dignity vs. Breasts: As others have pointed out, Domenica herself didn’t like hers and probably wouldn’t want to be represented in death for a good part of eternity by her breasts.
    There was so much more to her than just being a woman with enormous breasts.
    Yes, there is a lot of symbolism going on for breasts and as a German and a woman I’m all for it and totally agree, but I don’t think a cemetary is the right place for it – if she would have been totally happy with her breasts, different story.

  13. Nice of you to answer and explain TeaPunk :)

    I did bookmark this post in the hope that you’d get back to me. It’s the least I could do.

  14. I have to comment on this article in favor of my Hamburg. See, the cemetary is one of the most wonderful places there, very old and really big. They allowed her, a prostitute, to be buried where only the most famous persons are buried. Shes even listed in Wikipedia:

    I think the city showed her respect by allowing her to be buried there. There are tombstones that are 300 years old (they were relocated, for exmaple from the old jewish cemetary). Out of respect for the location it is quite clear that a pink tombstone resembling breasts is out of place there.
    By the way: I think it would be really unfair to reduce a woman that smart to her breasts.


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