Oh-Berlin set off to visit the Jewish Museum Berlin, intrigued by the Daniel Libeskind architecture and wondering how we would judge the permanent exhibition it housed. Read on to hear what we thought on visiting the Berlin Jewish Museum.
The Daniel Libeskind building
We found the unusual design of the Jewish Museum a challenge in trying to grasp what the interior layout and design symbolised and how it related to the exhibition. The unique conceptual aspect is not something you typically have to take into consideration in most museums.
To begin with, as you walk along the corridors you feel everything is slightly off, skewed, the floors slope, some of the displays appear tilted and it’s all a little disorientating.
Trying to really appreciate the dual effect of the architecture/design of the building and the exhibition itself can be tricky. Orientation is not easy as the layout is confusing at times which can result in you wandering around quite a bit, sometimes in circles. It seems from further reading that Libeskind apparently wanted to ´disorientate, constrain and baffle´.
The main exhibition rooms are easy to navigate, though, and really well planned out.
Walking into the memorial garden you will see tall vertical earth containers with hazel trees protruding at the top. While in the Holocaust Tower you are essentially in a super quiet, dark and high cell with just a tiny bit of light. It´s quite eerie and not somewhere we wanted to stay long as a result.
Many people will have a familiarity with the Holocaust and the treatment of Jews leading up to and during wartime but the exhibition covers the plight of the Jewish people historically from the earliest times and around the world. It is hugely informative and engaging.
Although the exhibition covers Jewish communities in Europe there is a greater emphasis on documenting German Jewish history with the focus on Germany and also on Berlin in particular.
Some of the most moving parts in the exhibition are provided by personal items, letters, pictures, clothing and possessions from those that suffered loss of friends, family members or their own life.
The multi-media for the exhibition includes shorts films, where you can get historical background, and other interactive displays and exhibits which adults and children can engage with.
Walking through and seeing the historical perspective it was hard not to think how one race of people appeared to have been hounded and displaced pretty much everywhere they went and throughout many eras.
We are confident that a visit to the Jewish Museum will be very enlightening for most visitors and recommend allowing 3-4 hours to see the exhibition – ideally taking a break in between.
The personal stories told through possessions and documents or written texts were unbearably sad at times as the personalisation aspect invokes greater empathy. Daniel Libeskind´s interior design is also definitely worth trying to engage with. Even though interpretations may be difficult at times, the structure of the building is an integral aspect to the exhibition.
A moving and fascinating insight into Jewish history.
Jewish Museum Berlin
tel: 030 25993300
Regular adult 5 euros
Children under the age of six: free of charge
Family ticket (2 adults and up to 4 children): 10 euros
Concessions 2.50 euros
Audio guide: 3 euros (plus ID as deposit).
Monday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Tuesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admittance will be granted until 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, 9 p.m. on Monday.
Please plan sufficient time for the security checks at the museum entrance.
U1, U6 Hallesches Tor
Bus M29, M41, 248