The Jewish Museum in Berlin was designed by Architect Daniel Libeskind and opened in 2001. It has been built in a deconstructivist style and its harsh exterior is a clear message about what is contained within. Before the exhibition was even placed inside, the building had attracted a lot of attention and many visitors came to view the empty building alone. You enter the building underground from the adjacent “Old Building” so the two buildings seemingly have no external connection. This was a clever way to avoid an awkward junction between the two. The brutal slices through the facade mean it is hard to distinguish any interior floors from the outside and this also creates interesting natural light piercing into the building.
The exhibition is split up into axis that intersect with one another. Between the intersections, voids are created, that I feel are a moment for reflection throughout the exhibition. It is to stop and consider the hard truths that are presented to you about the exile the Jews have experienced through history. The exhibition is greatly personal, showing belongings and telling individual stories of Jews and the hardship they have endured.
The Garden of exile was genuinely a dizzying experience. The uneven surface cannot be seen easily and it put me off balance walking through the towering concrete stelae. This was intentional and is meant to represent the instability that was felt when Jews were being forced out of Germany. Looking up, the olive bushes are to represent hope; another moment of reflection.
I really enjoyed my visit to this museum and if you enjoy Architecture with a great concept behind it, or simply German/Jewish history, then it’s a great choice. It’s a little out of the way of the main centre of Berlin so definitely jump on the train to get there but we happily spent 3 hours in this museum and there was still much more for us to see.
Quick Facts about the Jewish Museum Berlin:
– It was designed by Architect Daniel Libeskind and it was his first built work.
– The building itself attracted so much attention that people visited before the exhibition was put in place.