A thin, flat, and single crystal germanium membrane would be an ideal platform on which to mount sensors or integrate photonic and electronic devices, using standard silicon processing technology. We present a fabrication technique compatible with integrated-circuit wafer scale processing to produce membranes of thickness between 60 nm and 800 nm, with large areas of up to 3.5 mm2. We show how the optical properties change with thickness, including appearance of Fabry-Pérot type interference in thin membranes. The membranes have low Q-factors, which allow the platforms to counteract distortion during agitation and movement. Finally, we report on the physical characteristics showing sub-nm roughness and a homogenous strain profile throughout the freestanding layer, making the single crystal Ge membrane an excellent platform for further epitaxial growth or deposition of materials. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.