I was grateful for a sea day before the port of Warnemunde, Germany- (3 hour commute to Berlin). SPB hosted us for the "Berlin Jewish Heritage Tour". I am glad I went... I can cross it off my list now, but it was NOT my favorite city. They put up a fence around "the wall" to protect it. (a fence around a wall... seemed odd to me!). Check point Charlie has been reduced to a photo backdrop with props. For a few euros you could pose with soldiers and flags... or pose with superheros in halloween costumes of holidays past.
Sadly, I really thought Berlin missed the mark on their interpretations of a Jewish museum and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. (2,711 concrete slabs to represent millions murdered... it made no sense to me!
Here is how my 21 year old daughter summed it up:
We took the Jewish Heritage tour in Berlin, and the main thing about this tour is that you pay attention to what it is called: it's not a Holocaust tour, but a tour of historical Judaism in Berlin. Most of the things you see are general Berlin sites, like Checkpoint Charlie and a chunk of the Wall. The things specific to the Jewish tour were the Jewish Museum, the memorial for the murdered Jews, and a walk past the huge synagogue built around 1900 (?). The museum is interesting. There was an architectural effort to do thought-provoking things with space, and on that front there was some success. Most of the museum is a chronological walk through the Jewry of Berlin's past... beginning with the very origins of Judaism, I think. There are a lot of artifacts from old families, stories about Jewish people who lived in the Middle Ages, and a lot of interactive stuff. I liked the museum, but do understand that the Holocaust is more prominent in the building's design than in the proper exhibit. 1940 and onwards is located in the last part of the museum. The stress is definitely on the heritage. (NOT A BAD THING.) Um... our group's opinions on the Memorial ranged from "Oh-kay. I guess that made me think "
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