The Jewish museum is a very modern building in the Eastern part of Berlin with lots of interesting things inside. It's so enormous and there's so much to see that you should reserve at least two hours for a visit to really see it all. On the first floors there are some personal letters and other items of Jewish people and also some abstract art. There is for example a dark room where you can only see a fraction of light somewhere up in the ceiling, symbolizing the hope that the jewish people still had although they suffered. The last floor is more like a traditional museum with information and items about jewish traditions and their life in general. I found the last floor the most interesting part of the museum.
The Jewish Museum charts the history of Jews in Germany over the course of 2,000 years. The entrance to the museum is via the former Collegienhaus built in 1735, and almost totally destroyed during WW2. I’m not sure why, but when I visited on a Saturday there was no entrance charge? The new part of the museum is the famous zinc-plated fortress designed by Daniel Libeskind and opened in 2001 that has a zig-zag shape. There are areas for comtemplation including the 5 dark voids. There are small gardens to walk around and the new and old building, and these are all linked by the glass courtyard. The museum covers much more than the Holocaust Events, which is only a small part of the exhibition that covers the last 2,000 years of the history of Jews in Germany. This is an easy to follow popular museum with text in English, but it does take time to make your way around so allow a full day.
When all may seem doom and gloom and rather heavy going you'll stumble into a courtyard room that has a pommegranite tree (fake one) growing in the middle. Grab yourself a red pommegranite (paper) and a biro and write your wish to add to the tree. It's a lovely idea and seems such an apt place to write your real heart-felt wishes.
The sentiments reminded me a bit of the Burning Bush in Sinai and the wish I made here was the same wish I left there.
The void was another strange room which demanded a reaction.
Again, a very tall and strongly angled room - but not as opressively angular and narrow as "The Holocaust". The walls are drab grey abd the furthest wall is almost split into 3 levels. The ground level gives the impression that it runs on for infinity - into the depths of darkness and dispair. As your eye rises upwards the walls give the appearance of getting lighter. This is due to another cleverly worked slit in the wall alllowing daylight in. The reaching up towards lightness gives an idea that there is hope. The eventual lightness removes some of the otherwise heaviness of the room.
On the floor is literally a sea of what looks like tortured faces. The faces are made out of metal and are all different sizes presumably to show that the Holocaust did not stop for any age. The artist "invites" you to walk across the "work of art" which creates empty chinking noises from the metal. The noise does not echo; it is a dead, flat "chink" which helps add to the uneasiness you feel as you literally tread on the faces which are all different thicknesses which make you clumsier...
I did not feel comfortable treading on the faces. I think it was around this point that I felt I needed a break from the museum for perhaps a little light entertainment.
Another area to provoke thought. The Exile is outdoors and is a square area of concrete pillars covered over the top with what I think was lime trees.
Having been to the Memorial to the Murdered European Jews next to the Brandenburg Gate, this room/garden/area, was a bit "samey" except on a much smaller level. "The Exile" didn't manage to stir my emotions in the way that the previous room "The Holocaust" had. Possibly if the walls currounding this courtyard area had been taller so that I couldn't see Berlin life passing by outside....
I don't think ever in my life has architecture affected me in quite the way that THE HOLOCAUST room at the Jewish Museum did.
To describe the room - very tall; the walls seemed to keep strecthing up. A strange angled shape causing a very claustrophobic environment. Actually with the height scale of the walls and the narrowness / acute angles it felt as though the room was closing in on you. Added to that was the fact that there was no light, save a small slit in the far wall - the walls were all grey, the incredibly high ceiling was black and the room was totally empty save an odd metal runged ladder going up one wall, starting high up.
The connection between the room/architecture and what the room is representing (The Holocaust) was so powerful; It managed to provoke a very unsettling and uncomfortable atmosphere. From the moment I stepped into the room I was filled with a sickening feeling and I found the whole experience of this room very moving. One thing I hadn't noticed until I looked at my photos was that the light which came through the slash in the wall actually hit the angles just so to form a heart - was this intentional? I don't know.
A most definite experience.
The Jewish Museum Berlin opened its doors in 2001 and is one of the worlds leading museums and the largest Jewish museum in Europe.
The building itself is zinc paneled and already one of Berlin's most recognizable landmarks. The design of the building (by Daniel Libeskind) is an integral part of the museum and the themes within in the museum and is not just the building in which the exhibitons are housed. The architecture is so powerful, both internally and externally that it forces and provokes one to think, to reflect and to raise questions. It is an extremely powerful piece of architecture but towards the end of my visit I was getting desperately in need of a change.
The museums exhibitions extend over 3,000m and follows German-Jewish history from the Middle Ages to the present with (and quite obviously) the focus leading to the Holocaust with three incredibly overbearing, overpowering and poignant rooms : The Holocaust, The Exile and The Void.
The museum is open 10am - 8pm and cost 5,00EUR per adult - this museum accepts visa.
I thought this museum had been so impressingly thought about. However, my personal opinion was that there was not a complete balance; unless I missed it, whilst the subjects of WWII and the Holocaust were very strongly dealt with, there was absolutely no mention or credit given to the many, many people who risked everything they had, including their own lives to help the Jewish people and to stop the atrocities from happening. I thought that the omission of even the smallest plaque to honour these people and to show that even in the darkest times there is light, let the museum down.
Great museum to visit is Jewish Museum in Berlin designed by Daniel Libeskind.
I like it not only for it's content (which is very interesting) but for it's architecture.
The building is really brilliant, but since I have been working (as an intern) for the guy few times, you may want to check it out and decide for yourself.
The Jewish Museum is a museum in Berlin covering two millennia of German Jewish history. The Jews have had a bad time of it over the years, especially in Germany where the Nazi party had some horrid ideals relating to Jews.
The Museum was originally founded in 1933. It was closed in 1938 by the state police during the rise of the Nazi party under their leader (who in theory had a Jewish grand-father?). The museum was revived during the 1970's and an "Association for a Jewish Museum" was founded in 1975. In 1999 the museum was granted status as an independent institution and officially opened in 2001.
The museum is quite spooky in many ways especially when walking the Axis of Death, the Holocaust Tower and Garden of Exile. The museum itself is a work of art and interesting to look at in its own right - an absolute must see when in Berlin.
A different sort of museum, the way to the garden of Exile was impressive, but I didn't particularly like the way they present the nazi years; strange to have such a place in the heart of Germany anyway!
Berlin's Jewish Museum is the largest museum of its type in Europe and is a must see on any visit to Berlin. It is also the most significant example of contemporary architecture in Berlin.
The museum documents the German-Jewish relationship throughout the centuries. There are different exhibition rooms and way more information to soak up then you could even begin to attempt in a short visit like we had.
Highlights of the visit for me were the windowless Holocaust Tower, a dark, empty, high-sided tower where you can stand and reflect on the horrors of the Holocaust; and out in the Garden of Exile, where tall stone pillars on a slope give you a feel for the isolation and loss of orientation experienced by those forced to live in exile. Very moving stuff.
Opening hours are: Monday from 10am - 10pm and Tuesday-Sunday from 10am - 8pm
The museum cost us 5 euro each to visit in May 2006.
This is a spectaculare museum. It gives you the horrible history of the treatment of the jewish people during ww2. But also the history way before that. The building it self has a funny look. This is not a joyful place. You have to behave respectfully!
But definitly worth a visit!!
There are several things that make the Jewish Museum one of the best museums in the world, and a place not to be missed in Berlin. First, it is an extraordinary piece of architecture - built by Daniel Liebeskind, it is shaped like deconstructed Star of David, on the imaginary lines that link various points in Berlin that were important in the history of Jews of Berlin.
Second good thing is the museum presentation itself. It is interactive, and displays the role Jews had in scientific and cultural life of Berlin and Germany. The third good thing for me was the presentation of the holocaust. Not the usual pictures that are hard to look at and that we all get to know by now. No - what Liebeskind shows here (after you've seen the contributions in science, music, poetry, arts etc) is the void - a series of empty rooms that represent the cultural gaps left in Germany after the Holocaust.
There are two rooms that are dead-ends on the museum axes. One displays metal plates that creep as you walk on them. The other one is a dark empty room where you are asked to enter alone and think for some time. Stop and think - something so easy, and yet something we so often forget to do in this mad world around us.
Of all the places I have been one of the most simple, yet spiritually moving was the Hall of Lost Souls in the Jewish Museum. As you walk over these steel faces, all you hear is the clinking of steel and echos of them falling. Each face represents 100k who were unwilling taken from this world. Deeply moving!
But don't misunderstand, it was not the Germans as a society that did this. There was a huge resistance of Germans against these parties. Many of them were executed side by side those captured during conquests of other countries. For example, one place that I visited, the Gedenkstatt Plotzensee, was a prison that was famous for executions during the Reign of Terror. In addition to foreigners or Jews held there, almost 1000 Germans were executed for petty crimes or suspected sympathy for the non Nationalists. Other sympathizers were simply too scared to speak.
What I like about this museum is that it doesn't focus on the Holocaust. The Jews have a long history in Germany and in Europe, and the Holocaust is only one part of that. Of course, it's important to remember the Holocaust and the museum does include exhibits about it, but it's nice to also hear about other aspects of Jewish life in Germany.