"Two Millennia of German Jewish History" Berlin Travelogue by Nemorino

Berlin Travel Guide: 7,031 reviews and 15,898 photos

The entrance to the Jewish Museum is through this older building, which houses the security area, the museum shop and the restaurant. From here you go down a long flight of stairs (or an elevator; it seems to be completely accessible for the handicapped) into the basement of the new building.

Here in the basement is where the "Axis of Continuity" intersects with the "Axis of Exile" and the "Axis of the Holocaust" -- all with informative and impressive exhibits.

At the end of the Axis of Continuity another long staircase (or elevator) leads upwards to the beginning of the permanent exhibition.

The known history of Jewish life in what is now Germany begins in the year 321 a.D., when Jewish residents of Cologne are mentioned in a decree by the Roman Emperor Constantine.

Detailed exhibits show Jewish life in the Middle Ages, particularly in Speyer, Worms, and Mainz.

Further exhibits are concerned with the "Rural and Court Jews" of the 15th - 17th centuries, and with the eminent 18th century scholar Moses Mendelssohn in the period of the Enlightenment.

There are also exhibits dealing with Jewish religious life and customs over the centuries, and with Jewish family life.

In 1871, the newly founded German empire adopted a constitution removing all legal restrictions on Jews, so that in theory they became citizens of Germany with equal rights. But at the same time anti-Semitism was on the increase.

The last exhibits deal with the Nazi period and the Holocaust, and with Jewish life in Germany today.

All areas of the museum contain a wealth of information and illustrative material. I have been there twice so far, and have the feeling I have only scratched the surface. It's a museum you can keep going back to, and always discover more.

See also my Things to Do Tip on the Jewish Museum.

Or click here to see how the Jewish Museum Berlin is being advertised all over Germany this summer.

  • Page Updated May 9, 2016
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