Jewish Museum

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum is one of the most striking examples of contemporay architecture in Berlin. The three buildings, two of which were designed by Libeskind, display two millennia of German-Jewish history.

  • Jewish Museum in Berlin© dpa
  • Jewish Museum in Berlin© dpa
A timeless monument to Jewish history and life in Germany, Daniel Libeskind's Berlin Jüdisches Museum is one of the world's undisputed museums and architectural gems. The museum is a stunning achievement in the architecture of cultural identity, a lasting expression of Jewish presence and dislocation and above all the attempt at integrating, physically and spiritually, the meaning of the Holocaust into the memory and consciousness of the city of Berlin.

Jewish Museum was designed by Daniel Libeskind

For Libeskind, who was born a few hundred kilometres from Berlin in Lodz/Poland and whose family was decimated during the Holocaust, the project presented to the Berlin Senate in 1988 – one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall – was a mission to acknowledge and incorporate the fractured course of German-Jewish history and the void of Jewish life in Berlin. The museum was meant above all as a new articulation of humanity in the history of Europe and of Berlin, an emblem of hope.

In Daniel Libeskind's words, "it thematises and integrates for the first time in post-war Germany the history of the Jews in Germany, the repercussions of the Holocaust and spiritual displacement. It is also just a museum with exhibits on the walls".

The first Jewish Museum in Berlin opened in 1933

The first Jewish Museum opened in Berlin in 1933 on Oranienburger Straße but its collections were confiscated by the Gestapo in 1938. Subsequently, a Jewish department was housed in the 1735 former Baroque courthouse, the Kollegienhaus, by Philipp Gerlach. The cornerstone for the Berlin Museum's extension was laid in 1992 following Libeskind's winning design for the planned Jewish department extension to the Berlin Museum, selected from amongst 165 competition entries in June 1989 after a process lasting over twenty years.

Deconstructivist-style building illustrates Jewish history in Germany

Libeskind's own name for the Jewish Museum project was 'Between the Lines'. Starting with the vision of two lines, the first straight broken and fragmented, the other tortuous but indefinitely continuous, he gave visual form to the elements of fragmentation coexisting with hope, continuity and connectivity, Jews and Germans, East and West, tradition and present.

Photo Gallery (in German)

Jüdisches Museum Berlin

  • Jüdisches Museum© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Günter Schneider
    Jüdisches Museum
  • Jüdisches Museum© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Burkhard Katz
    Jüdisches Museum
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© dpa
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© © Jüdisches Museum Berlin
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Daniel Libeskind
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Jüdisches Museum Berlin© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Foto: Jens Ziehe
    Jüdisches Museum Berlin
  • Akademie des Jüdischen Museums© Jüdisches Museum Berlin, Fotos: Jens Ziehe
    Akademie des Jüdischen Museums

Architectural features of the lightning-bolt shaped building

There are three underground passageways or axial routes connecting the new building with the older Baroque one. The first leads to the Stair of Continuity and to the museum itself and the permanent exhibition; the second to the Garden of Exile and Emigration while the third leads to the Holocaust Void which is the only dead end. The Void symbolises the absence of Berlin’s Jewish citizens.

The building is characterised by its shimmering zinc-clad walls, irregular lines and a star-shaped zig-zag ground design with light coming through asymmetric slits reminiscent of brutal stabs on the otherwise smooth façade of the monolithically shaped building. Seem from the air, the shape is that of a lightning-bolt. The window slit does in fact follow a precise matrix, the addresses of prominent German and Jewish citizens which Libeskind derived from a map of pre-war Berlin. Amongst the architectural feats is the ground layout which consists of spaces cut through an east-west axis which can only be crossed on passageways. The structural elements are represented by the concept of the void, something which cannot be exhibited. Five vertical voids run through the New Building. The walls are dark bare concrete, visible from the exhibition level as dark walls.

Cultural programme

The latest addition to the Libeskind building is the spectacular Glass Courtyard completed in September 2007. Known as Sukkah from the Hebrew, meaning Tabernacle, the steel supports of the glass structure are arched branch-like formations referring to a social gathering. The museum, an independent Foundation under Public Law since 1999, is a venue for an ongoing cultural programme which includes exhibitions, symposiums, events and performances as well as an educational programme.

To make the most out of a visit it is well worth taking part in a guided tour. Enquire by email or telephone to book the appropriate guide in advance, especially with younger children.

The museum has an excellent kosher café-restaurant and provides wheelchair access.

Events at Jewish Museum Berlin

res·o·nant – ein Projekt des Jüdischen Museums Berlin mit Mischa Kuball; Foto: Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf
Foto: Archiv Mischa Kuball, Düsseldorf

res·o·nant

Beginning on 17 November 2017, the Jewish Museum Berlin will be presenting res·o·nant, a new light and sound installation by the Düsseldorf-based concept artist Mischa Kuball. Across 350 square meters of the Rafael Roth Gallery, in the basement of the... more

A wie Jüdisch, Jüdisches Museum Berlin
A wie Jüdisch, Jüdisches Museum Berlin

Tour through the exhibition "A Is for Jewish"

Religious or secular? Long-established or recently arrived? Who are the Jews in Germany? How do they see their Judaism? In 22 impressions, the exhibition A for Jewish describes German-Jewish everyday life. The guided tour introduces the concept and themes... more

Next date:
Führung durch die Ausstellung »A wie jüdisch«
Date:
Sunday, 25/August/2019 11:00 (5 more dates)
Venue:
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Address:
Lindenstraße 14, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Frédéric Brenner, The Weinfeld Family, 2009
Copyright Frédéric Brenner, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

This Place

During the tour, the project and the exhibition This Place from which it emerged is presented. Twelve international photo artists explored the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, creating a multi-layered visual portrait of the region. In addition... more

Date:
Sunday, 25/August/2019 14:00 (5 more dates)
Venue:
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Address:
Lindenstraße 14, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Das Jüdische Museum Berlins
Jüdisches Museum Berlin

JMB in 90 Minutes

The Jewish Museum Berlin is known far beyond Germany’s borders. Its iconic building by Daniel Libeskind and its exhibitions on Jewish history in Germany have made it a Berlin highlight for both local and international guests since its opening. We invite... more

Next date:
Das JMB in 90 Minuten
Date:
Saturday, 24/August/2019 15:00 (5 more dates)
Venue:
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Address:
Lindenstraße 14, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg
Buchcover
be.bra verlag

Karl M. von der Heyden – from Berlin to New York

In From Berlin to New York, von der Heyden describes his experiences as a child and youth in war-torn Germany and his journey to the USA, where he began studying at Duke University in 1957 and rose to the boardrooms of Pepsi and Dreamworks. It is the... more

Date:
Thursday, 29/August/2019 19:00 (1 more date)
Venue:
Jüdisches Museum Berlin
Address:
Lindenstraße 14, 10969 Berlin-Kreuzberg

Jewish Museum Information

Karte

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| Last edited: 10. August 2018