Stephan Neuser, general secretary of Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. V., the Federal Association of German Funeral Directors representing more than 3.000 funeral homes in the german country, talks to Funermostra about the consequences of the health crisis in Germany, the essential needs for the sector and the changes that are anticipated for the future.
How would you summarize in a few words the response that the sector has given to the health crisis suffered by covid-19?
First of all, Bundesverband Deutscher Bestatter e. . V.. represents the interests of about 81% 81 % of the German funeral directors, especially in qualifying, legal and public media matters and leads a service facility for funeral trust agreement and death benefit insurance services that member funeral homes can offer their customers. .
As our association is concerned, the BDB has responded the overwhelming number of inquiries and problems with the following measures::
With information regular (mostly daily newsletter ) for our member funeral homes and crematoria, also through • homepage www.bestatter.de: special Covid-19-section with information and links ( (for funeral directors and also private people)) to the actual regulations of the state governments, etc.
We also has post a special video made by some of our training experts for our members , that shows how to handle deceased infected with corona , a special easy guide for setting up online streaming for those mourners who cannot attend the funeral or for making a video of the funeral for a mourning ceremony later, etc.
Likewise, we have reported and given interviews to the press and we have contacted politicians, national and local authorities for legal and health care matters, hospitals, etc., First in order to inform them about the actual problems for funeral services and to achieve the status of system relevance so that funeral services are considered as equally relevant in such a pandemic situation for protecting people from infection with covid-19 , such as nursing and healthcare services. That it means, for example, a preferential treatment concerning equipment with protection material (masks, etc.), emergency child care facilities , etc.
Do you think the media have reported fair way about the sector? How do you think society has responded?
We believe that the media reported fairly fairly about the sector. The main television channels have just been awarded for his good serious reports on the COVID-19 crisis.
The society’ s awareness for the need of qualified funeral services and the great efforts of funeral directors to make a helpful mourning ceremony , even under corona regulations , has been rising. But there are also people that take infection with covid-19 not for serious and mind the strict regulations and restrictions.
What would be the three conclusions you would draw in relationship to the funeral sector after experiencing the Covid-19 crisis?
The need of providing for protection material, sufficiently available also in pandemic situations, the need of intensifying the contact and cooperation with politicians, health departments , etc. for a better awareness about the consequences for funeral services and all participants in pandemic situations and the need of increasing the number of qualified staff in funeral homes , crematoria and other parts of the funeral sector .
What do you think would be the changes in the sector after all this experience?
There will be a further rising of the use of digital options and more creative activities to fit individual situations and wishes.
Do you think the memorials will come back? How will they be?
The need of a mourning ceremony together with all relatives and friends, a close contact and comforting gestures, helpful rituals , etc. is very high. We think the memorials will return and individually completed/enriched with new options / individually enrich with new options.