Jewish Museum

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Jewish Museum: history of the German Jews

The Jewish Museum in Berlin shows the long history of the Jews in Germany. The Jewish Museum tells their history with ancient objects, like old oillamps, religious books, love letters, diaries, portraits by famous Jewish painters, family photo’s, religious jewelry, blue jeans by levi strauss, yarmulkes with photo’s of the serie Friends on top and Karl Marx whine. But of course they also have a lot of horrific artifacts, like deportation letters.

jewish museum

Jewish Museum, photo by Nathaniel Samson


Jewish Artwork at Jewish Museum

The temporary exhibitions are sometimes light. They tell you all about famous Jewish writers, poets, musicians and Jewish artwork. Other exhibitions are tougher. Like the one on Jewish clichees (like how the Nazi’s spotted Jews by a ‘big nose’) and the deadly medicines the Nazi’s gave to Jews during World War Two. The new addition, created by architect Daniel Liebeskind reminds of the painful history of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Void at Jewish Museum

To get there, you leave the museum with the rich Jewish history behind. Through a maze of intersecting, underground passageways you will get to the Stair of Continuity, the Path of Exile, and the Holocaust Void.You will enter a narrow, concrete, unheated tower with nothing inside. If you look up, you will see a ray of light in the roof. Liebeskind was inspired by a survivor’s story. The Holocaust survivor was locked up in a cattle car, bound for the concentration camps. Through a slit she saw a white plume of a plane in the blue sky. She hold on to that vision of blue air and white plume in the sky to survive the horrors. The shocking difference between the museum and the Holocaust Void could not have been more disturbing. When you leave the silence of the Holocaust Void you will end up in the Garden or Exile and Emigration. Trees grow here and you will hear the city sounds too. What a relief. If you want to know more about Jewish life in Berlin, visit the New Synagogue. Or go to the Holocaust Monument through the concrete maze. Below the maze is a very interesting museum too about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Finding Berlin Museums

You love art and history and are in Berlin right now. Or you are planning a visit to Berlin soon. But you have no idea where you can find all those interesting Berlin museums. We don’t blame you. If you only go to Museumsinsel it will take a whole day to see all the art inside. And Museumsinsel is not the only place in Berlin to be to find art and interesting history.

We will help you out with a short summary of all the museums we write about. Or just click on the photos of all the different museums and find all the info there on what museum you can find where and how, and what is inside.

Altes Museum

When you stand in front of the Altes Museum on Museumsinsel you will feel like you are in Rome. The huge iconic columns look just like an impressive Roman temple. The Romans didn’t build Altes Museum, but inside you will discover the ancient world and artifacts created in the burning sun of Greece, Rome and Egypt.

altenationalgalerieAlte Nationalgalerie

The Alte Nationalgalerie at the Museumsinsel looks a lot like a Greek temple. You would not be surprised if a Greek beauty or even the uppergod Zeus would wander the premises of Alte Nationalgalerie. The gallery has prominent pillars and Greek statues surrounding the building. Inside there is no Greek art though, but romantic paintings and sculptures.

neues museumNeues Museum

What should you do with a museum that is heavily hit by bombs? The people of Berlin had no idea for a very long time. During World War two Neues Museum didn’t look so new anymore. The walls were full of bullet holes. But now Neues Museum is renovated beautifully and inside you will see great ancient art like Egyptian beauty queen Nefertiti and heretic husband Akhenaten.

unter den linden berlinDeutsches Historisches Museum

Deutsches Historisches Museum is a great museum if you want to know about the history of Germany. It tells you how Germany came into existence, the religious fights between the catholics and reformers, World War One and Two and the Cold War. And it is situated at the former Berlin armory.

Gropius Bau

At Gropius Bau you immediately see the scars of both World War two and the Cold War. The museum is covered with bullet holes. It was right in the line of fire during the Second World War. Topographie des Terrors, where the horrors of that war are depicted, is near. Gropius Bau is situated on the border of Mitte and Kreuzberg, right in the middle of noman’s land after the Berlin Wall  was erected.

bodemuseumBode Museum

The Bode Museum is one of the architectural landmarks of Museumsinsel. If you cross the river Spree you will see the round walls of the Bode Museum instantly. The collection of the Bode Museum is not so well known as the other museums on Museumsinsel. But the statues of Roman and Byzantium times, combined with the great architecture make it worth the visit.

KW Institute for Contemporary ArtKW Institute for Contemporary Art

KW Institute for Contemporary Art can be found in gallery heaven Scheunenviertel in an unusual building. KW Institure for Contemporary Art is in a former butter factory, filled to the brim with modern art. The exhibitions are very interesting and they have a keen eye for controversial art.


neue nationalgalerieNeue Nationalgalerie

The Neue Nationalgalerie is the place to be if you love modern art. This stunning museum looks like a very modern bunker but instead of concrete to fill this artbox, architect Mies van der Rohe used a lot of glass. On the first floor and in the cellars you can find the frivolous colors of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the kidlike art by Pablo Picasso, and the sad but colorful clowns of Max Beckman.

pergamon museum berlinPergamon museum

Pergamon Museum is dedicated to the excavation in Pergamon, modern day Turkey. They have large friezes depicting the divine fight between the Giants with snake legs and the impressive Greek gods. They also have a great Islamic art section. We especially like the blue tilled walls of ancient Babylon with ferocious looking lions.

bunker berlin sammlung borosSammlung Boros

We always walked by this old World War Two bunker without knowing what was happening inside. It looks hardly inhabited from the outside, but inside this old war bunker you will see it is filled to the brim with art by the Boros family. Hence the name: Sammlung Boros. It is not a normal museum, make an appointment to get in.

800px-Märkisches_Museum_BerlinMarkisches Museum

Always wondered where and how the first Berliners lived in the stone age, the middle ages and where the Berliners danced in the Wild twenties? At Markisches Museum they will tell you all about the history of Berlin. Expect interesting stories, great pictures of wildly dancing ladies and some large slabs of the Berlin Wall.

ddrmuseum (1)DDR Museum

If you are born in Western Europe, America or another spot in the world, far from East Germany and want to know what life in the GDR was like, you should check out the DDR Museum. They will tell you everything about the history and everyday life in the GDR, or like East Germans call it: DDR.


stasiprisonhohenschonhausenGedenkstatte Hohenschonhause

Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause is now a memorial, in the Cold War you definitely didn’t want to be stuck here. Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause was a Stasi prison. During a tour the former prisoners will tell you all about the grim reality they faced when they were held prison in this cold and lonesome place during the Cold War.

andreas praefckeStasi museum

The Stasi Museum is a weird place to be. Especially when you realize the museum used to be the offices where the Stasi used to spy on it’s own people. You can visit the offices of Stasi leader Mielke as well and hear him say he spied on people because he loved them and his country so much.

hamburger bahnhof berlijnHamburger Bahnhof

In Hamburger Bahnhof you don’t have to use your imagination to hear the trains hissing. When you are in front of the museum, it looks like an old station. But you will find no running people for the last train. Inside Hamburger Bahnhof you will find art. The museum has a nice mixture between well known artists and painters and young, promising artists you never heard of before.


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