The Jewish Museum Berlin


Berlin today is a very positive and cheerful city. There is so much to see and do that it is easy for a visitor to avoid the negative aspects of Berlin and German history. Many people I know avoid to visit one place that was, to me, one of the highlights of my trip to Berlin: The Jewish Museum. I warn you, it is a mistake to miss this place!

Berlin today is a very cheerful and nice city. Its position in Europe and its past made it nowadays a truly cosmopolitan city. You can easily spend two weeks in Berlin, having the time of your life without paying much attention to its history. I know many people who rather not remember the dark moments of Berlin history when visiting this pleasant city and I understand. But there is one thing you can not miss, even if it will make you remember one of the worst moments of the history of humanity, the Holocaust. You MUST visit the Jewish Museum.

Credits: saidseni

The Jewish Museum first got my attention because of the weird shape of the building. It was only when I visited it that I understood the museum is made of actually two buildings, an older one and a modern one, connected to each other.

The zigzag-shaped modern grey building was made by the architect Daniel Libeskind and it hosts the part of the museum dedicated to the Holocaust. The main attraction of the museum, the weird yet very impressive architecture of Libeskind, also hosts the part of history people don’t want to remember. Yet, to me, it is the best part of the whole museum.

Credits: saidseni

What Libeskind tried to do — and I think he really achieved it — was to produce some kind of discomfort to the visitors that walk the long, dark corridors, seeing the belongings of the Jewish people that got arrested (or even worse). Wandering in this dark place and reading about the horrible stories can put a sad feeling to anyone, but there is a small detail that makes the whole experience even weirder: the building is slightly leaned. You just wont notice, it is very subtle… but you will feel there is something weird going on and a feeling of discomfort. I personally knew of this already, that was why this place was on the top of my things-not-to-miss-in-Berlin list.

Once you lean, you can never go back!

Walking through the dark corridors where the visit to the Jewish Museum starts (they are actually three axes: the Axis of Continuity, the Axis of Emigration, and the Axis of the Holocaust), I read some stories about the people that lived those horrible times. Stories about children are the ones that touched me the most. One I will never forget is one close to the heart of every lomographer: the story of the photograph that a little Jewish boy took of his parents while they were packing to run away. Later, the camera was taken by the Nazis but he managed to save the film, so you can see the picture in the museum.

After a while in this dark and uncomfortable place, visiting a garden outside seems like a good idea. But the Garden of Exile in no common garden. First, it is made of 49 concrete parallelepiped and you can barely see the olive trees in top of it. But that is not all. According to the architect, the idea behind this garden is “to completely disorient the visitor.” And it sure does! The garden is not slightly leaned like the rest of the building, it is VERY inclined (12º, to be more precise). Yet, again… you can’t tell. Visually, I mean, it looks like a perfectly straight place. But, why did I feel like I was falling?! Many people won’t appreciate the experience, I guess. Well, I loved it! Be careful though, I think some people can actually feel very disoriented and even fall in this place.

Only when you see the Garden of Exile from far and above you can tell it is not straight.

Continuing the visit between the lines and voids of Libeskind’s building, you will encounter Menashe Kadishman installation, Shalechet (Fallen Leaves). About 10.000 iron faces are displayed in the ground of the Memory Void and you can actually walk over them. Again, a bit of a weird feeling as all the faces have a suffering expression. The sound produced by the people walking over the iron faces and making them clang is a very impressive part of the experience too.

Credits: saidseni

The visit to the modern part of the museum ends with the stairs that connect it to the old building, the Court of Justice built in 1735 that hosts the exhibition Two Millennia of German Jewish History. EVERY single aspect of the Jewish culture, I believe, is displayed here. I mean, there is no way a normal human being is able to see and learn everything that is shown here. I would probably visit this museum more than once if I had the opportunity. This huge exhibition, although may tire you for the rest of the day, is quite informative and interactive, the kind of exhibition I appreciate. But it is just too much! One thing I wont forget, though, are the kosher gummy bears!

Credits: saidseni

After this visit, everyone deserves a rest. The garden just outside the Glass Courtyard is the right place to do it if you visit Berlin on a warm Spring week like I did.

Not even the trees could look “normal” in this place, right?

There is just one thing I should warn you about your trip to the Jewish Museum Berlin, especially if you are a lomographer: you will never take a straight picture in your life again!

written by saidseni on 2013-11-06 in #world #locations #exhibition #black-white #holocaust #panoramic #jewish #history #culture #ilford #art-and-culture #architecture #jew #horizon-kompakt #museum

One Comment

  1. servus_salyut
    servus_salyut ·

    Great article, thank you!

More Interesting Articles

  • The European Dream - Selfies from Oranienplatz: Exhibition in Berlin

    written by efrost on 2014-10-16 in #events
    The European Dream - Selfies from Oranienplatz: Exhibition in Berlin

    In more ways than one, Lomography is an art form as much as it is an effective tool to communicate. This is proven in the politically-driven exhibition “Selfies from Oranienplatz," of which the opening event will be taking place on the 16th of October as part of the European Month of Photography in Berlin. Read further to learn more about the project and event.

  • Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla

    written by saidseni on 2014-06-11 in #world #locations
    Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla

    When visiting Sevilla, there is a place that I think you shouldn't miss. It is not often mentioned in tourist guides, but I found it to be a highlight of the city: The Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo.

  • Finally, My Own Petzval Lens

    written by pearlgirl77 on 2014-11-20 in #reviews
    Finally, My Own Petzval Lens

    In April of this year I had the chance to test the Petzval Lens and to write a review on it for the German photography forum Kwerfeldein. The lens excited me from the very beginning, at the time it was introduced on Kickstarter. I was afraid that once I had tested the lens, I would want to have one of my own! Well, that’s what happened; a year later, I finally bought my very own Petzval lens.

  • Shop News

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    Recognizable Images of Petzval

    You want your subject be the center of attention? Petzval lens are recognizable for sharpness and crispness in the centre, strong color saturation, wonderful swirly bokeh effect, artful vignettes and narrow depth of field that will make your subjects stand out!

  • The American Museum of National History launches 7,000-piece digitized collection of rare images

    written by chooolss on 2014-05-01 in #news
    The American Museum of National History launches 7,000-piece digitized collection of rare images

    What used to be accessible only by researchers and staff of the American Museum of Natural History is now finally made available to the public!

  • The Lomo LC-A Goes to Berlin

    written by petit_loir on 2015-03-10 in #world #locations
    The Lomo LC-A Goes to Berlin

    Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany. With its 3.5 million residents, it is also the second largest city in the European Union. Berlin has a lot to offer when it comes to culture as there are so many people from many different countries living and working together. Of course, Berlin is also home of Lomography Germany!

  • My Petzval Report for Kwerfeldein

    written by pearlgirl77 on 2014-10-23 in #reviews
    My Petzval Report for Kwerfeldein

    I was completely stoked when I got the chance to test the Petzval Lens for Lomography and the German photography magazine Kwerfeldein. I was afraid that I would end up wanting one for myself, and that's exactly what happened.

  • Shop News

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Try the LomoLAB Development Service!

    Whatever kind of film development you're after, you'll find it here! Now you can confidently shoot from the hip without having to worry where to develop those film rolls!

  • A Salute to the Masters: Buraco (A Tribute to Alfred Eisenstaedt)

    written by sirio174 on 2014-09-21 in #lifestyle
    A Salute to the Masters: Buraco (A Tribute to Alfred Eisenstaedt)

    Alfred Eisenstaedt was one of Life Magazine's greatest photographers, known for his ability to immortalize the storytelling moment of many public events in history. To write this tribute to him, I chose a subject that he photographed in different places and times: card players in public places. The photos in this article were taken at the Patronal Feast of my city Como, during a series of buraco's lessons held by a local card players club.

  • Hands-on Experience with the Lomo'Instant

    written by sanamiii on 2014-11-18 in #reviews
    Hands-on Experience with the Lomo'Instant

    What I got is the Lomo'Instant Black Edition. Its texture and finish is quite simple, and could work as creative space for someone who's into DIY and decorations. In terms of form, it is very handy and acceptable in size. I also love the camera strap that makes it easy to carry.

  • Chicago Lima Film Swap

    written by piperrobbins on 2014-05-01 in #news
    Chicago Lima Film Swap

    Film swaps are one of the coolest ways to shoot film. This is a strictly analogue aspect and we are making the most of it. We're so happy to take part in a film swap our with fellow Lomography Embassy Store in Peru!

  • Shop News

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Special Apertures for Petzval

    Want to be more creative and level up your bokeh shots? A wide selection of special apertures for Petzval are here to blend with your artistic side and give your Petzval images some analog twists!

  • Harry Mueller and His 'Aladdin's Cave' of Cameras

    written by chooolss on 2014-05-06 in #lifestyle
    Harry Mueller and His 'Aladdin's Cave' of Cameras

    With the thousands of analogue cameras and gear that repairman Harry Mueller has under his care, his workshop is almost already a museum on its own. Have a glimpse of this fascinating place after the jump!

  • C/O Berlin Moves to Amerika Haus, Grand Opening slated for October

    written by analogeanstalten on 2014-08-05 in #events
    C/O Berlin Moves to Amerika Haus, Grand Opening slated for October

    C/O Berlin is a foundation, thus independent from state grants and capitalist interests. It is focused on fostering contemporary and young-blooded photography. In 14 years, the team has grown from three founders to a group of 53 people that guarantees independent exhibitions. After many years of residing in the "Postfuhramt" in Berlin Mitte, this extraordinary cultural institution has found a new place to stay for the next 16 years: the Amerika Haus.

  • The Lomo LC-A Goes to Vienna

    written by Andreas Bischoff on 2015-02-06 in #world #locations
    The Lomo LC-A Goes to Vienna

    Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria. It has been mentioned in a myriad of pop culture references in books, music, and film, and is also the home of the Lomography headquarters. The history of Vienna stretches back to a far 500 BC, which is why it’s no surprise that the city is steeped in rich, unique, and fascinating culture and history that has inspired artists of all generations.