Schnitzel, Beer and Beyond…

Judisches Museum Berlin

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments




The Jewish Museum in Berlin was interesting and throughout provoking. The museum contains a vast variety of information about the history of Judaism. The exhibitions in the museum are divided by themes covering all of German Jewish history. A lot of the museum gives specific details on people’s lives, and it shows the differences between German and Jewish lifestyles. Each level of the museum gives extensive knowledge and information about being a Jew, what it means to be Jewish, and the lives of German Jews.


The museum is broken into two buildings, but the primarily exhibits are in a Daniel Libeskind designed building. Libeskind is from Poland and Jewish decent. In 1988, the Berlin government held an anonymous competition to decide the design for the new building, and Libeskind’s design was chosen. The building is an interesting shape and resembles a mangled Star of David. This new building was opened in 2001 and has no entrance or exit, instead it is only accessed through an underground tunnel that is connected to the old historic building. Everything detail of the museum has been carefully thought out. Among the details are “Voids” or Leerräumen, these are merely open spaces. In total there are five of these spaces, and they are nor electrically lit or heated. The spaces were made to commemorate murdered Jews. Although all can be peered into, only one of these spaces can be accessed, the Memory Void. The floor of this void is lined with faces that are cut out of metal; this space is meant to be walked on. Walking on the faces caused them to clank against each other which then creates an echo across the room. The room was dark except for one window that let in light. This reflects a lot of other Jewish memorials we have seen in Germany. The light is important because it represents hope and can be clearly seen through the darkness.



Walking on the faces provoked many thoughts. This empty space was not empty, but lined with faces. These faces were basically all the same and piled on top of each other. Fundamentally all were the same; round circles with eyes, a nose, and a mouth. The use of metal was symbolic because it is a tough material that can withstand being walked on. People of Jewish faith often stick together or are forced together, and through history they have been walked on. When walking across the floor I was forced to peer into all these faces, and because the piles were uneven, I needed to watch my footing. staring into these faces in this dark, cold room was almost sad and left me feeling empty. The link below is to a video of when I was walking across the faces, it does not give the full effect of the experience, but it will give insight into what this void was like. 

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