"Axes and Voids" Jewish Museum Tip by nicolaitan

Jewish Museum, Berlin: 55 reviews and 112 photos

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.

Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, Berlin-Kreuzberg
Directions: U-Bahn: Hallesches Tor
Phone: (030) 30 87 85 - 681
Website: http://www.jmberlin.de

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Feb 10, 2008
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