Europe's largest Jewish Museum presents the panorama of German-Jewish history, its cultural achievements, and its horror. The history of German Jewry is portrayed through objects, works of art, and documentation. The most talked-about museum in Berlin, the Jewish Museum is housed in a building that is one of the most spectacular in the entire city. Called "the silver lightning bolt," it was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. To some viewers, the building plan and the scarring in the zinc-plated facade suggest a shattered Star of David. Oddly shaped windows are haphazardly embedded in the building's exterior.
Inside, the spaces are designed to make the visitor uneasy and disoriented, simulating the feeling of those who were exiled. A vast hollow cuts through the museum to mark what is gone. When the exhibits reach the rise of the Third Reich, the hall's walls, ceiling, and floor close in as the visitor proceeds. A chillingly hollow Holocaust Void, a dark, windowless chamber, evokes much that was lost.
The exhibits concentrate on three themes: Judaism and Jewish life, the devastating effects of the Holocaust, and the post-World War II rebuilding of Jewish life in Germany.
The roots of this museum were in an older museum opened in 1933 shortly before Hitler's rise to power. That collection of art and Judaica was shut down by the Gestapo in 1938, and all of its holdings were confiscated.
The on-site Liebermanns Restaurant features a world cuisine, with an emphasis on Jewish recipes -- all strictly kosher.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010