This tour takes you to the Spandau suburb, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Berlin and once the epicenter of Jewish life. City history condenses here in a confined space, at the same time it is wonderful to stroll. The history of the Jewish community in Berlin goes back to 1671. Before the Second World War and the devastation of the Nazis, it was the largest Jewish community in Germany. After reunification, it began to flourish again and is now one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing in the world! While you hear about moving destinies, visit museums and monuments and stroll through the narrow streets of this neighborhood, this career unfolds in your mind’s eye.
The tour focuses on today’s lifestyle district around Hackesche Höfe, beautifully restored courtyards, where charming boutiques, trendy cafes and trendy galleries await guests. At the location of the first synagogue in Berlin, you will learn something about the origins of the Jewish community. You will visit Otto Weidt’s former workshop for the blind, who was honored as one of the righteous among the nations because he saved the lives of many Jewish Berliners during the Nazi era.
Grosse Hamburger Strasse was of central importance for Jewish life, where among other things the oldest Jewish cemetery in Berlin, the Jewish high school and the former Jewish nursing home are located. From here thousands of Jewish Berliners were deported to the Nazi concentration camps. In the cemetery you can see the grave of honor of Moses Mendelssohn, an influential Jewish intellectual and representative of Haskala, the ‘Jewish Enlightenment’.
The memorials and places of Jewish life are numerous and can be found at every turn, be it the former Jewish girls’ school, today the address of chic restaurants and a gallery, or the home of Regina Jonas, the first rabbi in the world.
The most important architectural testimony to Berlin’s once-glamorous Jewish life is the New Synagogue, an impressive building from the 19th century and now a museum and cultural center.