Jewish Museum, Berlin

4 out of 5 stars 4 Stars - 51 Reviews

Lindenstraße 9-14, Berlin-Kreuzberg (030) 30 87 85 - 681

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  • Jewish Museum Berlin
    Jewish Museum Berlin
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  • Jewish Museum Berlin
    Jewish Museum Berlin
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  • Jewish Museum Berlin
    Jewish Museum Berlin
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  • Nemorino's Profile Photo

    Two Millennia of German Jewish History

    by Nemorino Updated Oct 30, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Jewish Museum, old building from new one

    The Jewish Museum in Berlin tells the story of the Holocaust, of course, but also of the two thousand years of German Jewish history that went before.

    There are vivid, detailed exhibits on fourteen historical periods, from the beginnings through the Middle Ages and up to the present, designed to "show how tightly Jewish life and German history are interwoven."

    The entrance, security area and restaurant are in an older building, and from there you go way down into the basement of the new part, which is a striking zinc-paneled building by the architect Daniel Libeskind. In the basement there three long intersecting axes: the longest is the "axis of continuity", which is intersected by the axis of exile (leading out to a "Garden of Exile and Emigration") and the axis of the holocaust, which leads to a dead end at the "Holocaust Tower".

    At the end of the axis of continuity you go up a long flight of stairs to the second floor, where the permanent exhibition begins.

    The photo shows the older museum building as seen from the new one.

    For more photos and details, please see my travelogue on the Jewish Museum.

    Or have a look at my Local Customs Tips to see how the Jewish Museum Berlin was advertised all over Germany in the summer of 2005

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  • magor65's Profile Photo

    Jewish Museum - inside

    by magor65 Written Oct 30, 2011

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    The exhibition part of the museum is without doubt very interesting. It is a kind of the chronicle of the Jewish community in Germany from the Middle Ages to the present. You can see there objects of daily use, documents, letters, films, etc. Everything displayed in an attractive, interactive way, which engages both the young and the older ones. I could have spent there much longer than those two hours I had at my disposal.
    But interesting as it was, it cannot compare to the other part as for the intensity of emotions. Here, in this other part, the feeling of emptiness, disorientation and loss are so strong that almost painful. In Memory Void we find the installation called "Fallen Leaves". Ten thousand iron faces look at you from the floor and their wide open mouth seem to shout. Some people walk over them, which makes a metallic sound hard to bear.
    The Holocaust Tower is a huge concrete space where the only source of light is a small slit in the wall high above you. When the heavy door shuts behind me, I feel as though there was too little air to breathe in. I leave it quickly and then climb the stairs leading to nowhere. I feel relieved when I get to the Garden of Exile. At last the blue sky above. But even here I feel lost and isolated. The 48 pillars separate the visitors and you feel as if you are alone. Only the olive trees growing on top seem to bring hope.

    For me the building itself is the most powerful exhibit of the Jewish Museum and it speaks volumes about the history of the Jewish nation.

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  • magor65's Profile Photo

    Jewish Museum

    by magor65 Written Oct 30, 2011

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    What makes the Jewish Museum of Berlin world-famous is its remarkable architecture. A competition for the design of the building was held in 1989. There were 165 competitors and the first prize went to David Liebeskind - an American musician-turned architect with Polish roots. At that time Liebeskind was practically unknown so it was the building of the Jewish Museum in Berlin that made him famous. Completed in 1999, the Museum was oficially opened in 2001.
    The building looks interesting from the outside: irregular zinc-clad structure with zig-zag slit-like windows. The only entrance leading to the Museum is through its old part: a baroque building of a former court. Here you will find a ticket-office, cloak-rooms and a restaurant. Don't feel deterred by the security control at the entrance - it seems to be a must in objects like this. After buying a ticket (5 Euro) you can borrow an audio-guide for the price of 3 Euro. Then through the underground tunnel you get to the new building.

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  • kanjon's Profile Photo

    Body and Soul

    by kanjon Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Jewish Museum Berlin is famous for the way its architecture communicates to visitors and the surrounding world. The opinions are as many as there are visitors (a lot!). The architect, Daniel Libeskind, has created a building/museum/artpiece that opens to every visitor to experience, perceptually, mind and body.

    The structure of the building is two lines with different angles that together make voids and meeting-points, and continuous movements beyond the very building.

    The museum displays two millennia of German-Jewish history and culture and about the difficult relations between Jews and non-Jews. The techniques and objects used for this are multiple, from personal items and letters to art installations and multimedia in a path system in three axes.

    The Axis of Continuity connects the Old Building with the Sackler Staircase to the exhibition levels. The "Axis of Emigration" leads outside to the magnificent Garden of Exile. The "Axis of the Holocaust" is a dead end and leads to The Holocaust Tower commemorating the numerous Jewish victims of mass murder.

    There is so much to say about this museum and so much more to learn and experience, terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

    Opening hours:
    The museum is open daily from:
    10 to 8, Mondays from 10 to 10.

    The museum is closed some days a year, check homepage for exact dates.

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  • Roadquill's Profile Photo

    Jewish Museum

    by Roadquill Written Feb 6, 2011

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    Interior Exhibits at the Jewish Museum
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    A ten minute walk South East of Checkpoint Charlie is the Jewish Museum, just North of the Kreuzberg district. An exhibition in an archtecturally interesting building (actually a bit odd of a building), however, the 1,000 years of history complete with exhibits of living conditions, medieval history, musical instruments, ancient books and scrolls is worth a visit.

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  • lina112's Profile Photo

    Jewish museum

    by lina112 Written Jul 22, 2009

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    It is the largest Jewish museum in Europe and one of the must-see in Berlin. Go through two thousand years of Jewish history in Germany and the contributions of this community to the culture, art and other fields. The 14 sections of the museum, ranging from Roman times to the Middle Ages, the Enlightenment and Emancipation to the Holocaust, and so on until the emergence of the new Jewish community in Germany.
    There is only one part dealing directly with the Holocaust, but its horror is reflected in the architecture of the building concerned. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, is a metaphor for the troubled history of the Jewish people.
    The symbolism continues in the interior. A steep stairway down to the three passages that cross inhospitable called "axis". The axis of the garden that leads to exile from exile and emigration, a field of concrete columns with a sloping olive top of the column. The axis of the Holocaust that led to the Holocaust Tower, one of several gaps in the museum, burial spaces that symbolize the loss of humanity, culture and life.c*

    Es el museo judio mas grande de europa y una de las visitas obligadas de Berlin. Repasa los dos mil años de historia judia en Alemania y las contribuciones de esta comunidad a la cultura, el arte y otros campos.
    Las 14 secciones del museo abarcan desde la época romana a la Edad Media, de la Ilustración y la Emancipacion hasta el Holocausto, y así hasta el resurgir de la nueva comunidad judia en Alemania.
    Solo hay una parte que trata directamente el holocausto, pero su horror está reflejado en la inquietante aquitectura del edificio. Diseñado por Daniel Libeskind, es una metafora de la atormentada historia del pueblo judio.
    El simbolismo prosigue en el interior. Una empinada escalera baja hasta los tres inhóspitos pasajes que se cruzan llamados "ejes". El eje del exilio que conduce al jardin del exilio y la emigración, un campo de columnas inclinadas de cemento con un olivo en parte de arriba de la columna. El eje del holocausto que lleva a la torre del holocausto, uno de los diversos vacios del museo, espacios sepulcrales que simbolizan la perdida de la humanidad, la cultura y la vida.

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  • steedappeal's Profile Photo

    Look carefully at your ticket!

    by steedappeal Written May 17, 2009

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    Of course, the Jewish museum is a "must" for any serious tourist. BUT make sure to tell them at the ticket desk the type of ticket you require. I had only time to see a "special" exhibit so I initially asked for the wrong (general admission) ticket as opposed to the other one.

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  • iblatt's Profile Photo

    An Interactive Lesson in Jewish History

    by iblatt Written Oct 5, 2008

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    Jewish Museum Berlin: basement aisles
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    Architecturally, the building is unlike any other in Berlin. A break-line which runs through it reminds the visitor of the tragic end of the proud and successful Jewish community in Germany. At the start of the visit we go down to the basement, then slowly go up the path of the Holocaust (dead end, void sensation beautifully conveyed architecturally), the path of Exile (another dead end: "The Garden of Exile", another architectonically-eloquent monument), and then the path of Continuation leads us to the main exhibition halls, telling the story of the Jews in Germany from the early Middle Ages to the 20th century.

    The display is colorful and interactive, makes use of multi-media and hands-on-computers. Jewish traditions are made easy and understandable, and Jewish characters come to life, among them Glikel, the "feminist" woman-merchant of the 17th century; and Moses Mendelssohn, the enlightened philosopher of the 18th century.

    I watched with satisfaction how non-Jewish visitors from many countries and continents got so interested in the contents of the displays and engulfed by its ambience and spirit.
    This is definitely one of the "must see"s of Berlin.

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    just plain Weird

    by piglet44 Written Jul 26, 2008

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    museum exterior
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    Well I read in the guide book that there was some controversy surrounding Daniel Liebeskind's design of the Jewish Museum.But the picture looked quite impressive, and it seemed like a must-see.At first glance the outside looks a bit like a shack made of aluminium and bolted together, with slits cut into it at slanted angles.Not very pretty.Then we went inside through the old building next door which adjoins the modern building ,but you can't see any bridge, a fact which is explained to you at the beginning of the audio guide.A first in a serious of theoretical explanations into the architect's intentions.
    Firstly I understand the whole security issue and all,which some VT and other visitors seem to object to.I had no problem with that,living in Israel we unfortunately go through some kind of check every day just going to the supermarket,the cinema or the theatre.However,having paid, and gone through and got our audio guides we found ourselves inside a long dark corridor with not much in the way of exhibits.The two axes had silly names like Axis of Exile or something and it seemed to me more like "Disney of the Holocaust" than a serious museum like the one near the Reichstag or Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
    Then having walked around in the bottom part for a while confused, hearing the explanations of 'what the architect's intentions were' we progressed up to the next level of the museum.
    Here it was even worse,the audio guide explaining to us the albeit well laid out exhibits, as if we were high schoolers.
    anway ,we got out of there after about half an hour feeling we had wasted our money.
    The explanations could be okay I suppose if you don't know anything at all about Judaism, I think it must be designed for Germans and others who have never met a Jew and know nothing about religious custom and tradition.But for us Israelis it was ridiculous to hear an explanation of the weekly torah readings or the brit ceremony etc.
    The building itself ,as I said,I found bewildering and unpleasantly gimicky.
    But that's my personal view.Other people said they found it moving, impressive, fascinating etc .
    So maybe you should go and judge for yourself.

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  • Helga67's Profile Photo

    Stiftung Jüdisches Museum

    by Helga67 Updated Jul 18, 2008

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    Jewish museum - the void
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    The Jewish Museum is housed in an impressive building designed by Daniel Libeskind. The permanent exhibition traces the high and low points of German-Jewish history from the Middle Ages to the present day.

    It is an huge museum. There is so much to see that you should reserve at least three to four hours to see it all.

    Two special rooms are the "holocaust room": a triangular darkened room with a huge high ceiling with one small light and a ladder. Here you can really feel the isolation. And there is the "void", a room where thousands of iron sculpted human faces are laid out. They form a long path in another huge high ceilinged “void” in the building. When you walk on the sculpted faces a high pitched clanging reverberates around the room. It's a strange experience.

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  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo

    The Museum Proper

    by nicolaitan Written Feb 10, 2008

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    The Jewish Museum is incredibly comprehensive, documenting in written and spoken word, photographs, drawings, art, and interactive exhibits the complex German-Jewish relationship. Ostensibly broken up into multiple segments, the exhibits flow fairly seamlessly from one to another through the sharp turns of the Libeskind building. Jews first settled in today's Germany as far back as the Roman Empire and had sizeable communities in medieval Worms, Speyer, and Mainz. A very extensive exhibit covers the famed scholar Moses Mendelssohn and even includes his spectacles. Family and religious life are covered in detail in the mid-2nd millenium. Periods of tolerance in the late 19th Century and the National Socialist and the Holocaust are all exhaustively treated. The later exhibits describe the new Jewish communities in post WWII Germany.

    The amount of material in this museum is astounding. We spent several hours in the axes and the museum itself without ever getting to the 20th Century material. There is just SO MUCH to see and too little time to appreciate it all. This is not an easy task - nothing is easy in the Libeskind building. Access to the upper floors for the challenged is by narrow and out of the way elevators with carefully controlled admission. Toilet facilities are inconveniently located, down the steep stairs, no access to elevators, and soooo difficult to find the point of interruption. A kosher restaurant is all the way back in the old Court building.

    Selected images include a
    1 - medieval drawing of Worms (note the serpent),
    2 - the carefully placed exhibits and the famous windows,
    3 - a memorial plaque from the Saarburg DP camp,
    4 - a section devoted to Ann Frank, and
    5--a work of art only too accurate in its depiction of the Hitler era.

    The all-inclusive Jewish Museum of Berlin combines architectural inventiveness with a total immersion in Jewish life in Germany - it should be a first choice location for visitors.

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    Garden of Exile and Holocaust Tower

    by nicolaitan Written Feb 10, 2008

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    In a museum of superlatives, the Holocaust Tower is the most remarkable for its lack of anything. The only void outside the main building, it is an irregularly shaped plain concrete space rising 25 yards to a single slit in the roof for light. No heat, no displays, just emptiness. Access is limited to small groups - one may remain as long as desired to reflect on the emptiness of death. It is a scary place - the walls and floor are slanted, the heavy door slams shut, the slightest sounds echo. Not an easy place.

    The Garden of Exile is also accessed through a very heavy door and again uses slanted narrow footpaths for disorientation and difficulty. The garden is comprised of 49 rectangular cement colums, each topped by plantings meant to symbolize hope. The columns are close enough that one cannot clearly see others in adjacent rows, leaving the visitor alone and confused, not unlike the Jews who fled Germany. Returning to the museum building, the door seems particularly unwieldy, for those who would return to Germany.

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    Axes and Voids

    by nicolaitan Written Feb 10, 2008

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    The ground level of the museum is comprised of three corridors called axes intersecting to form a central undecorated triangle. The Axis of Emigration leads to the Garden of Exile. It narrows and the floor slants as one approaches the purposefully heavy door leading to the outdoor garden symbolizing the difficulties and disorientation faced by Jews leaving Germany. The Axis of the Holocaust has the same features but is considerably darker leading to the Holocaust Tower. On the walls are display cases with stories, pictures, and personal items of those who followed this sad pathway - these are poignant reading and worth attention. The longest axis is the Axis of Continuity leading to the Sackler Staircase for the main exhibits and meant to symbolize the permanence of Jewish life in Germany despite the tragedies of the past. The staircase itself is steep, stark, and undecorated ending blindly at the top. The museum entrances are through doors on the side. Nothing is easy in Jewish life, even the museum entrance.

    The voids are 5 concrete spaces painted white or black running vertically through the Libeskind building, discrete spaces without heat, air cooling, or artificial light, created to recall the emptiness of Germany without a Jewish population as well as the emptiness of death. Most famous is the void containing the steel sculpture Shalechet or Fallen Leaves, 10000 primitive faces piled on the floor and intended to be walked on. Apparently, when large numbers are doing so, there is an unpleasant industrial sound echoing in the void, although on our stop we were the only persons present and unable to appreciate this experience.

    The overall plan of the ground floor is designed to be difficult and evoke the hardships that characterize all Jewish history over the centuries. Understanding this concept adds more meaning to the museum.

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    Architecture

    by nicolaitan Updated Feb 5, 2008

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    Libeskind Museum Building
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    A complete understanding of the Jewish Museum requires appreciation of the concepts incorporated into the remarkable and extremely controversial building designed by the noted architect Daniel Libeskind. The large zinc covered building with the disorienting slashes of window is as much a sculpture as an architectural design. The basic plan involves intersecting lines recalling important locations in Jewish Berlin with interspersed empty spaces he called "voided voids" to recall emptiness and absence associated with the disappearance of Jewish life from the city in the Hitler era. The voids are non-continuous empty spaces from basement to roof which run straight through the otherwise jagged zigzag-shaped museum building. The seemingly random course of the slit-like exterior windows has been likened to a disrupted Jewish star but is actually a schematic of important sites in Jewish Berlin. Prior to the official opening of the museum in 2001, 350000+ visited the empty museum building to see the striking architectural features.

    Since the official opening, more than 4 million have entered the main portal of the large Baroque office building which formerly housed the Royal Court of Justice. Built in 1735 during the reign of Wilhelm Frederick I, it is the last remaining administrative building commisioned by the Hohenzollern nobility. Completely destroyed during WWII, it was rebuilt to original design (1963-9) to house the Berlin Museum and redesigned by Libeskind in 1993. The only entrance to the Libeskind museum building is through the main door of this older building - there are no exits or entrances in the exhibit building. Over the doorway is the Prussian coat of arms flanked by figures for wisdom and justice. It houses the ticket desk, checkroom, exhibit rooms, and a kosher restaurant. Access to the main museum is through one of the voids with a long steep slate staircase and a long sloping hallway, undecorated. A portent of things to come -- the entrance is consciously dark, difficult, and unadorned.

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    Jewish Museum

    by balcony2 Written Jan 8, 2008

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    We found that we wished we had planned more time for the visit to the Jewish Museum. The architectural design of the building itself was created to be a bit disturbing, I think. It winds around as it gradually takes you up to the next level. There was a feeling of being disoriented. Anyway, the scope of the content begins more than 1000 yrs ago, rather than dwell on the holocaust, which it also covers very well.
    If you get one of those "get on and off" bus tours, like we did, it will take you there and pick you up later. Just allow several hours if you think you really want to take it all in.

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