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Berlin Jewish Museum: Concise information and mini-review

The Berlin Jewish Museum is housed in a spectacular metal structure designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.

Access is via the historic building next door which used to be the Berlin Museum. All visitors are subject to airport-style security.

Once inside the way leads down a flight of stairs and into a subterranean passageway taking you up into the museum. There are three or corridors or 'axes' symbolising the Jewish experience. Axes terminate in the Garden of Exile and the Holocaust Tower, a tall empty shaft symbolising isolation through imprisonment.

At the rear of the complex is another empty space with an installation by Menashe Kadishman entitled 'Fallen leaves'. The floor is covered by circular metal pieces each with a face symbolising a person who died through prejudice and inhumanity. Leaves allude to death but also rebirth and the coming of spring. Visitors are invited to walk on the metal pieces, causing deafening vibrations to echo against the concrete walls of the shaft.

At the top of a long flight of stairs the main display begins, with conventional-type museum exhibits taking you from the earliest origins of Jewish people in Europe down to the Holocaust and to present day.

The Jewish Museum is a thought- provoking place which most visitors will not forget easily. It's a must-see attraction for any visitor to Berlin.

The Berlin Jewish Museum website at www.jmberlin.de.

Have you visited the Jewish Museum Berlin? What were your impressions? Was the experience positive overall or did you have any criticisms? What did you think of the building, the layout, the exhibits? Please contact I'd love to hear from you and publish your thoughts here.

Written by Aidan O'Rourke
Posted/Updated 2004-06-05

Aidan O'RourkeAidan O'Rourke has been active in photography and online media since 1995. He has documented the development of the local area in his Eyewitness website (1997-2005) and as a contributor to books, publications and the Manchester Evening News. He runs his Eyewitness photography walks in Manchester, Liverpool and other locations. He offers one-to-one tuition in Photography and Languages. He is a high-level speaker of German and can offer photography walks and tours through the medium of German. Visit www.aidan.co.uk

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