Monday, May 6, 2024

The Berlin Jewish Museum: Pictures and Reactions

The building is very carefully designed
to evoke various feelings.  And note the two security
folks in front.  I don't think they had guards
stationed outside the building when I was here
in 2009.
 My sister and her boyfriend visited me in Berlin at the same time as Mrs. Spew.  So, I played tour guide, and we hit many of the major spots in town and also wandered through some neighborhoods.  One must-see is the Jewish Museum, which documents the lives of German Jews before and after the Holocaust.  I had visited during my first trip to Germany (if I remember correctly) but not since.  And much has changed as they did a major renovation.  I don't remember well what it looked like before, and I apparently didn't take that many pictures.  So, it was all fresh to me, and I am pretty sure many of the best infographics were new.  

I am going to put a bunch of pictures below and comment on them, rather than develop a coherent discussion of the entire experience except for the following mega-reactions:

  • So much of the run-up to the Holocaust feels way too familiar right now, as many politicians compete to write laws to exclude trans people from society.
  • As it is the Jewish museum, I don't mind as much the exclusive focus on the Jewish Holocaust experience, but as we visited the Romani/Santii memorial, the number really isn't six million Jews but eleven million people including Jews, Roma, LGBTQ, disabled people, communists and socialists, and many others.
  • Not much on the Holocaust itself--that is somewhere else.  
  • I would have loved to see a conversation of what does Never Again mean. 
  • In the past, I would go to places like this and be sad.  Now, I am sad and angry.  Angry that Israeli authorities are betraying the lessons learned long ago and doing so much harm because it satisfies some sense of revenge and it distracts people from unseating Netanyahu.

Lots of statements by German Jews reacting to
the Holocaust

Changes in # of Jews in Germany
Where the Jews were expelled to

The white figures represent the total Jews pre-Holocaust, the black repesent those who were killed.
Note Bulgaria!  This was one of the biggest surprises during my visit.

Row upon row of laws passed
from 1933-1945 to repress
Germany's Jews

The last of the laws--how to hide what they did

One wall had reactions by Jews to Hilter/Nazis
getting into power in 1933

Multiple walls dedicated to
Jewish superstars including Jesus

This caught my eye given
the rise of Jewish anti-Zionists. 
I didn't know the connection between Wagner
and anti-semitism---I thought it was that
Nazis loved his music.  Nope, it was that he
was a virulent anti-semite.

Great info graphic showing the breakdown
of Germans and German Jews in the economy.
Now I know why I suck at yard work: Jews are not

Marx had some good ideas.

all the towns from which Jews were
expelled.  Makes me think about
Israel doing some expelling then
and now.

They had an exhibit of a German poet who
released his work weekly from his hiding place
in the Netherlands.


One thing I didn't see this time that I saw my first time:

Friends Kippa!

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