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Jewish Museum (Berlin, Germany)

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Lindenstrasse 9-14, 10969 Berlin, Germany. Tel: +49 (0) 30 / 25 99 33.

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      08.07.2002 23:25
      Very helpful



      Having read Malu's excellent Op, I thought I'd just write a little piece about my visit to the museum now it is filled with exhibits. This was last December (8 months ago) so things might have changed a bit more now. I, too, had visited the museum when empty of exhibits. I found that experience profoundly moving, and wondered how they would ever display anything in the subterranean corridors. There seemed so little room! The answer is, there aren't that many exhibits actually in those rooms - just small samples of books, identity cards, personal letters home etc which are set into the walls and help to give you a flavour of life as a Jewish person in the war. I felt it was very well done. The holocaust tower was empty again and it was quite a strange experience standing in there with lots of other people - what do you do? No-one wanted to talk - we just stood there, then left again. Strange - and it didn't quite work for me. However, when reaching the main building up the stairs the major set of exhibits began. Rather than being about the Jewish history through the war, they were about the history of the Jews from mediaeval times (possibly before - might have missed that bit!) The museum is obviously an example of a "modern" museum with multimedia this and that - things to touch, press, climb on etc. All good fun, but I felt possibly a little light on factual information (that may say more about me than about the museum!). I was also surprised there was not more space given to the wartime section - it was not that great a portion of the total exhibition. Perhaps, again, in order to remind people like me that the history of the Jews is more than just the holocaust. Anyway, it was all displayed well. The building is quite difficult to navigate (it being built in the shape of a broken Star of David)and the signs on the floor to guide you through were often needed. It was sometimes diff
      icult to know if you'd seen everything in one section as there were corners, pillars etc to move around. However, the main reason for this was because of the three shafts that go up through the building. The larger of these is filled at the bottom with metal disks with faces cut into them - screaming and painful faces. Very impressive and moving looking down from above, absolutely stunning when you actually find yourself at the bottom of that shaft. The feeling (as I have said in a comment on Malu's op) is akin to that I felt when in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I almost think every non-Jewish person should go and stand there and think of what humanity can do to other humans. My husband and I spent about three hours in the museum, which was long enough really. There are so many things to do in an interactive way, but you get information overload eventually. The things that stood out most to me were the quiet, thoughtful sections rather than the glossy colourful exhibits, as interesting as they were. There is a room where you can interactively play on one of many computers. Didn't get on very well with that - we only played for a few minutes before boredom and information overload set in again! So, overall, what did I think of this museum? I thought it was fantastic empty and fantastic full, although in a different way. I am taking my parents to Berlin with me this Christmas time and will definitely drag them to see it again - I expect it's the sort of place that you can get more out of again and again. Not sure I can remember useful information like entry fees - I think it was about 10 marks (that would be 5 euros, I think) which was excellent value. Security was tight - all baggage was x-rayed and had to be checked into lockers. Photography was allowed within the museum, which was good. Opening times seemed reasonable. There was no guided tour when I went, unfortunately, but th
      ere are plenty of printed explanations in English, German, French and Russian so there's no problem in understanding what you are seeing. All in all, an excellent museum. And the Gift Shop was pretty good too! As was the cafe.


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