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  • Writer's pictureMatti Geyer

5 Must-See Stops on Your Jewish Berlin Tour Journey

If you've been thinking about taking a Jewish Berlin tour then you have lots of Jewish history in store for you and public tours aren't going to offer you the best possible experience. If you want a real chance to look in time at everything from the old Jewish cemetery to the new synagogue, private tours are the way to go. You'll never regret your decision to explore the Jewish community as well as Berlin's Jewish history on your once-in-a-lifetime trip, as long as you have the right company, with the right knowledge, behind you.

There are many companies offering Berlin Jewish tours, so it makes sense to take your time in finding one, so you know they can offer you a Berlin history tour that touches on all the important sites that you want to see. Whether you've been thinking about your trip for a long time or just exploring the idea, there are some sites you have to visit. Here are five stops that you should get onto your itinerary while you consider your options for the best tour company to take you on your journey.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

One very important stop on your Jewish Berlin tour is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the museum underneith it. Both of them are going to put the real cost of the holocaust into crystal clarity that seeing it on a website just can't do for you. The architecture of this fascinating walk and tourist destination was designed by Peter Eisenman and was dedicated to the lives lost as a result of the final solution. It covers 19,000 square miles and consists of 2711 concrete blocks.

It's located near the Brandenburg Gate, making it the most central reminder of the atrocities carried out by the Third Reich in concentration camps across the country. The stories told in the museum underneith it, will stick with you for the rest of your life. Your tour guide will explain why this memorial was constructed inside the city and what it's meant to represent to visitors.

New Synagogue

The New Synagogue is one of the best destinations in Germany for many reasons, but the most important is that it appeals to both groups with interests centered on the Jewish faith and people visiting for the architecture of the city. It was constructed in the mid-19th century, and served the city's faithful to WWII when it was damaged in bombing raids against the Nazis. Its facade was then rebuilt and it still stands as one of the most visited synagogues in the world, as well as a museum.

Anyone interested in the building can take a tour of the rooms dedicated to its history and the architectural appeal that makes it one of the most visited and interesting places to see in the city of Berlin. It's still a center of worship for Berlin and men and women use it as a gathering place for any family that wants to attend, whether it's over the Jewish holidays or simply as part of Jewish Berlin. It's a fascinating city monument and perfect for taking photos of its Moorish style right from the street or within its stone walls.

Otto Weidt Museum

Anyone interested in Jewish history is going to have to take a tour of the Otto Weidt Museum, which is located right inside the city of Berlin and played a part in WWII when the former owner used his business to save Jewish men and women from the Nazis. Otto opened a manufacturing business to create brooms and brushes and went to great lengths to hire blind and deaf members of the Jewish population. Since one of his customers was the Wehrmacht, he managed to get his business classified as one essential to the war effort to keep it open and running.

From the beginning of the German Reich, he kept his Jewish employees from being deported to concentration camps and it now stands as a museum where visitors can see photos and read stories about his efforts. The lives that Otto saved are on display, as well as the personal stories that go along with them, and booking a trip that includes this Jewish part of Berlin's history is something that all travelers to the city should do. Make sure to see it on your Jewish Berlin tour and you'll walk away with a brand new appreciation for what it means to help people who need it.

Jewish Cemetery Weissensee

The Jewish Cemetery Weissensee holds a significant place in the history and culture of Berlin's Jewish community, making it an integral stop for visitors seeking to understand the rich tapestry of Jewish life in the city. Situated in the Weissensee district of Berlin, this cemetery stands as one of the largest and most well-preserved Jewish cemeteries in Europe, spanning over 42 hectares and containing around 115,000 graves.

The cemetery's origins date back to the 19th century when Berlin's Jewish community was flourishing. It was established in 1880 to accommodate the growing population of Jewish residents in the city. Over the years, it became a final resting place for individuals from all walks of life, including prominent figures in Berlin's Jewish community, artists, intellectuals, and Holocaust survivors.

One of the reasons why the Jewish Cemetery Weissensee is an integral part of any Jewish Berlin visit is its historical significance. Walking through its gates is akin to stepping into a living testament to the city's Jewish heritage. The gravestones, adorned with Hebrew inscriptions and symbols, bear witness to the diverse lives and stories of those buried here. Each tombstone tells a tale of resilience, creativity, and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Furthermore, the cemetery serves as a poignant reminder of the devastation wrought by the Holocaust. During the Nazi regime, the cemetery was desecrated, with many graves vandalized and destroyed. However, despite attempts to erase its memory, the cemetery survived as a symbol of resilience and defiance against hatred and bigotry.

Visitors to the Jewish Cemetery Weissensee often find themselves immersed in contemplation as they wander through its serene pathways. The tranquil atmosphere, surrounded by towering trees and meticulously tended greenery, provides a space for reflection and remembrance. Many visitors come to pay their respects to loved ones or to connect with their Jewish heritage.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial

Finally, one must-visit stop in Berlin is the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial, which is just outside of Berlin and now serves as a museum and memorial to the thousands of Jewish people who were killed during the holocaust. This was one of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps and no tour of Berlin's Jewish history would be complete without seeing it at least once. It's impossible to take a tour of the facility and not be struck with the fact that what was once a place of torture, is now a place of reverence and remembrance.

It's a piece of living history that will bring the suffering of the Jews into clear focus and the history of Germany into the real world for lots of visitors.

What a Tour Guide Does

If you're still on the fence about getting a private Berlin tour, as opposed to walking into a public tour, you should know that a private tour guide is going to be able to provide you with much more information than you'd get from a public one. That's because a private tour guide has a much smaller group of people to speak with than a public guide. When a guide has a smaller group, they can talk to individuals directly and share more of the information they've collected through their years of work.

It's a much more intimate experience and your tour will often grant you more time with the history of the locations, as well as more time to take in everything around you, no matter where you are. These tours will take you on a deeper dive into Berlin's Jewish history and the Holocaust, as well as give you a clearer look at the lives and interests of the people you're trying to learn more about. Berlin's Jewish history is vast and can be found on every street corner that you visit, from East Berlin to West Berlin.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

Taking a private tour of the Jewish community of Germany through WWII is the opportunity of a lifetime and you want to make sure that you're going to get everything out of it that you could want. The Jewish community went through so much during, before, and after the war that it's the responsibility of the current Jewish population to make sure that no one ever forgets about it. Seeing it all on a website could never make you feel the scope of what happened or how the average Jewish family dealt with the ordeal.

You can schedule a private tour for your family or go on your own, but there's no denying the fact that it will be something you remember for the rest of your life and share with everyone you know. East Berlin and West Berlin may have gone down separate paths after the war, but they have a shared history with the Jews of the area that should never be forgotten or ignored by anyone. Once you see it for yourself, and learn about it from someone who knows it all, it will be a memory that stays with you forever.

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