Jewish Quarter and Jewish History in Berlin

Around the Scheunenviertel

Judaism has influenced the city of Berlin in many ways over the centuries and vice versa. This is particularly evident in the Scheunenviertel, one of the oldest urban areas.

The quarter was originally outside the city walls, where the barns had been located since 1672 for fire protection reasons.

Only a stone's throw from our hotel, the area stretches from Oranienburger Strasse in the west to Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse in the east, Torstrasse in the north and Dircksenstrasse in the south. Here you will find many testimonies of the Jewish past, but also of the Jewish present. For many years now, Berlin has once again been the location of a lively and even the fastest-growing community in the world.

On the traces of Jewish life and suffering

Around 1880, a mass migration of Jews from Eastern Europe began. In the Russian Empire, especially in Galicia, the Jewish population was exposed to increasing violence in the form of pogroms and reprisals in all areas of life. Almost three million people made their way into a new life, which led many of them to Berlin's Scheunenviertel.

List of contents - Jewish Memorials in the Scheunenviertel

    The New Synagogue

    The previous synagogue, which was later called the Old Synagogue, could no longer offer sufficient space for the Jewish community, which grew strongly in the 19th century.

    The new Moorish-style church in Oranienburger Strasse now accommodated up to 3,000 faithful.

    At its inauguration in 1866, the New Synagogue was already considered one of the most beautiful synagogues in the whole world. Even today, the magnificent building with its shimmering dome attracts many travellers to Oranienburger Strasse.

    Here Albert Einstein played the violin, Rabbi Melwin Warsaw, famous as a speaker, and Louis (Lazarus) Lewandowski, the best-known representative of the Jewish liturgy, delighted the audience.

    The New Synagogue was an expression of growing self-confidence and became the life center of the Jewish community in Berlin.

    During the November pogroms, 20 synagogues and prayer houses burn in the night from 9 to 10 November. In the morning only the old and the new synagogue stood - the old one was protected by courtyard walls, the new one by the courage of a single. Police officer Wilhelm Krützfeld, citing the protection of historical monuments, stopped the fire brigade from extinguishing what the SA had set on fire. A plaque commemorates this extraordinary example of civil courage.

    Even today, police protect the building, which has once again assumed a central position in Jewish life, not as a consecrated synagogue, but as a place of remembrance, place of learning and place of assembly.

    After its almost complete destruction during the Second World War, the New Synagogue Berlin - Centrum Judaicum Foundation, founded in 1988 especially for this occasion, rebuilt the church.

    It reconstructed the façade and dome, while in the interior only stones embedded in the ground trace the original synagogue.

    The permanent exhibition "Tuet auf die Pforten" (after Isaiah 26,2) tells of their history and the once colourful Jewish life in the capital.

    Please note, however, that the museum area will be renovated and the New Synagogue will therefore remain completely closed until summer 2018.

    street address

    Oranienburger road 28/30, 10117 Berlin

    From Hotel Albrechtshof 4 minutes walk across Tucholskystraße

    hours of operation
    Sunday-Friday open daily from 10 am
    Last admission 30 minutes before closing time

    Closed on Saturdays (Shabbat).

    January–March
    Mo-Th: 10:00-18:00 o'clock
    Fri: 10:00-15:00 o'clock
    Sun: 10:00-18:00 o'clock

    April–September

    Mo-Th: 10:00-18:00 o'clock
    Fri: 10:00-18:00 o'clock
    Sun: 10:00-19:00 o'clock

    October–December

    Mo-Th: 10:00-18:00 o'clock
    Fri: 10:00-15:00 o'clock
    Sun: 10:00-18:00 o'clock

    The dome can only be visited from April to September.

    The old Jewish Cemetery

    The cemetery on Grosse Hamburger Straße next to the Jewish school is almost invisible: The Moses-Mendelssohn-Gymnasium is impressively secured with police protection, cameras and meter-high fences. But right next door is the oldest of the four Jewish cemeteries in Berlin.

    Jewish cemeteries are not places of death, but of eternal life. Graves are therefore never dissolved.

    Those who respect the eternal right of rest of the approximately 2,800 people buried here only enter the park-like complex with their heads covered and find a place of peace and remembrance.

    Originally outside the city walls, the dead were buried in this cemetery from 1672 to 1827 before the burial site was closed on the basis of Prussian hygiene regulations.

    The decree banned the operation of cemeteries as burial places in residential areas within the city walls. In 1827 the municipality therefore opened a new cemetery in Schönhauser Allee.

    Many well-known members of the growing Jewish community found their final resting place in the Old Cemetery. The most prominent of them was probably the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn.

    However, his tomb only exists today as a symbolic replica. In 1943, the Gestapo ravaged the Old Jewish Cemetery. Their henchmen desecrated the graves and dug trenches in the area.

    In 1945, in the battle for Berlin, the cemetery became a mass grave for civilian and military war victims.

    The Jewish old people's home next to the cemetery was designated by the Nazis in 1942 as a collection camp for Berlin Jews who were sent to their deaths from there.

    Destroyed during the war, a bronze sculpture "Jewish Victims of Fascism", a powerful group of figures by the sculptor Wilhelm Lammert, today commemorates the unspeakable atrocities of the Nazi era in its place.

    The largest preserved and still actively used Jewish cemetery in Europe is the burial ground in Weißensee. This cemetery has existed since 1880 and tells many stories of the bloom and fall of Berlin's Jewry between ivy-covered gravestones, magnificent mausoleums and in the shade of trees.

    street address

    Large Hamburg road 26, 10117 Berlin

    itinerary
    9 minutes on foot via Auguststraße and Große Hamburger Straße

    hours of operation
    Summer: 01.04.-30.09.

    Mon-Thu: 7:30-17:00 o'clock
    Fri: 7:30-14:30 o'clock
    Sun: 8:00-17:00 o'clock

    Winter: 01.10. -31.03.

    Mon-Thu: 7:30-16:00 o'clock
    Fri: 7:30-14:30 o'clock
    Sun: 8:00-16:00 o'clock

    Shabbat (Saturday) and public holiday closed

    The Former Jewish Girls' School

    The clinker building in Auguststrasse, designed by the architect Max Beers, was the fourth location of the first Jewish girls' school in Berlin. It was in operation for only twelve years.

    After the National Socialist regime had excluded Jews from German educational institutions in the 1930s and forced them to open their own institutions, the closure of all Jewish (high)schools throughout Germany was ordered in 1942.

    The 14 classrooms emptied, most of the students and teachers perished in the camps. The architect Max Beer was also murdered in a concentration camp.

    The building served as a military hospital during the war. In 1950 it was reopened as Bertolt-Brecht-Schule, but after its closure in 1996 it was abandoned.

    It was Hannah Arendt who breathed new life into the school building. For the exhibition on her 100th birthday, the bright rooms, some of which were beautifully tiled, were restored in 2006 and the course was already set for their current use.

    With the support of the Jewish Claims Conference, which fights for the return of property to the victims of the Holocaust, the Jewish community received the building back three years later - and led it into a bright future. Since 2012 the motto in Auguststraße 11-13 is: Art, Kennedy and Culinary!

    Three institutions dedicated to art have moved into the airy rooms and are thus perfectly integrated into the gallery district around Auguststraße:

    In the former auditorium and two classrooms on the third floor, the Michael Fuchs Gallery exhibits contemporary art as well as works of classical modern art, while the CWC Gallery displays modern photography, painting and sculpture in the classrooms on the first floor.

    And since autumn 2016, the "Salon Berlin" has been the third artistic authority in the building. Behind it is the Frieder-Burda Private Museum from Baden-Baden, which combines the exhibition space with the aim of establishing a forum for international contemporary art.

    On the upper floor of the Jewish Girls' School, The Kennedys is dedicated to the moving family history of former American President John F. Kennedy. "I'm a Berliner!" - no other American politician has talked his way into the hearts of the capitals like he has. The world's most comprehensive collection on the history of the presidential family is supplemented by changing special exhibitions on related topics and personalities.

    In the former gym, the Pauly Saal restaurant serves seasonal delicacies in the style of the golden 1920s - in summer also in the idyllic courtyard of the former school.

    A culinary experience à la (Jewish) New York makes the Mogg. In addition to streetfood classics such as the pastrami sandwich, this stylish delicatessen serves fine culinary delights ranging from soup with matzo dumplings to New York cheesecake.

    street address
    Auguststrasse 11-13, 10117 Berlin, Germany

    itinerary

    2 minutes walk across Auguststraße

    The museum of the Otto Weidt workshop for the blind

    In a back entrance at Hackescher Markt you will find the museum of the Otto Weidt Blindenwerkstadt.

    The broom and brush manufacturer Otto Weidt ran his workshop here in the 1940s.

    With his anarchistic attitude Otto Weidt had been swimming against the political current since his youth in the empire. This should remain the case even after the regime change in the 1930s. Even going blind, the entrepreneur did not close his eyes to the horrors of the Third Reich.

    He tirelessly used his role as an employer in a company categorized as "fortified" to protect his up to 30 predominantly deaf and blind Jewish employees from deportation to concentration camps.

    He secured the last-minute release of several workers who had already been transported to the collection camp on Grosse Hamburger Strasse. He tried to help the girl Alice Licht to escape from the camp of Christianstadt.

    The simple premises of the former workshop still reflect the exemplary courage of a man who bribed the Gestapo, had papers forged, offered a hiding place - saved many lives at his own risk.

    Otto Weidt's former secretary Inge Deutschkron and her work in remembrance of her rescuer is largely to thank that the museum of the Otto Weidt workshop for the blind exists today.

    As a journalist she reported from Bonn for Israeli daily newspapers before emigrating to Tel Aviv out of indignation about the politically successful careers of old Nazis in the young Federal Republic.

    After his death Otto Weidt received the honorary title "Just Among the Nations" from Israel's official memorial for the victims of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem.

    In addition to this museum, the Anne Frank Centre provides further insights into Jewish history using the young girl as an example. This was also the location of the Silent Heroes Memorial, which will open its new location at Stauffenbergstraße 13-14 in February 2018.

    street address
    Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin, Germany

    itinerary
    12 minutes on foot via Auguststraße and Sophienstraße

    hours of operation

    Open daily from 10:00-20:00

    Excursus: The Jewish Museum Berlin

    If you are interested in the history of Judaism, you should definitely plan a visit to the Jewish Museum Berlin. The largest museum of its kind in Europe is located just outside the Jewish quarter in Berlin's Kreuzberg district.

    Around 2,000 visitors visit the museum every day. The museum complex comprises an old Baroque building, formerly the site of the Berlin Museum, which has been supplemented since 1999 by the outstanding metallic zigzag building of the Polish-Jewish star architect Daniel Libeskind.

    In the museum you dive along three axes in 2,000 years of Jewish history: the axis of continuity, the axis of exile and the axis of the Holocaust. They symbolize the different Jewish biographical strands in the period of National Socialism.

    The crooked garden of exile, to which the axis of the same name leads, expresses the outcast existence of Jewish migrants.

    The end point of the axis of the Holocaust is the Holocaust Tower, a concrete shaft through which only a little daylight enters at one point. The feeling of anxiety and imprisonment is almost physically palpable.

    Experience the empty spaces that have left behind centuries of expulsions and genocide in Jewish history through the so-called "Voids", completely deserted vertical rooms in the museum building.

    Changing special exhibitions complement the visit to the Jewish Museum. "Welcome to Jerusalem" invites you to the multicultural and contested religious center until April 19, 2019. Among other things, the thematic exhibition shows pieces from the collection, which can be seen for the first time in Berlin. The light and sound installation res-o-nant, two of the museum's " Voids ", will also come to life by summer 2019.

    Public guided tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays.

    The upper section of the collection, the Axis of Continuity, will be remodeled until 2019 and will therefore remain closed to visitors.

    They can look forward to an extended permanent exhibition with additional digital offerings as well as a children's museum, which should be completed from 2019.

    However, most of the museum is still open to you:

    You can book tickets for the Jewish Museum online in advance. The latest admission is 7 pm, one hour before closing time.

    Address: Lindenstrasse 9-14, 10969 Berlin, Germany

    Route: 21 minutes by U6 from Oranienburger Tor to Hallesches Tor

    Opening hours:

    Daily from 10:00-20:00 o'clock
    Closed on 10, 11 & 19 September 2018 (Rosh ha Shana & Yom Kippur)
    Closed on 24 December 2018

    We are happy to answer your questions!

    Concierge im Albrechtshof Hotel in Berlin

    Franziska Varga
    Hotel Concierge
    Tel: +49 30 30886-126
    Fax: +49 30 30886-100
    reception(at)albrechtshof-hotels(dot)de

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    For questions or booking by phone:

    Phone +49 30 30886-0

    Hotel Augustinenhof