Jewish memorials in Berlin
The Holocaust may have been eight decades ago, but it is never to be forgotten. Large and small memorials all over the German capital commemorate the victims of the Nazis.
The Holocaust Memorial
A huge field of stelae in the center of the German capital was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenmann. The almost 3,000 stone blocks commemorate the six million Jewish people from all over Europe who were murdered by the National Socialists.
The "Stumbling Stones"
Designed by German artist Gunther Demnig, these brass plates are very small — only 10 by 10 centimeters (3.9 x 3.9 inches). The stumbling stones mark the homes and offices from which people were deported by the Nazis. More than 7,000 of them have been placed across Berlin, 70,000 across Europe, and in 2017 the first stones were also laid in outside Europe, in Buenos Aires.
The Wannsee Conference House
Fifteen high-ranking Nazi officials met in this villa on the Wannsee Lake on January 20, 1942 to discuss the systematic murder of European Jews, which they termed the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". Today the house is a memorial that informs visitors about the unimaginable dimension of the genocide that was decided here.
Track 17 Memorial
White roses on track 17 at Grunewald station remember the more than 50,000 Berlin Jews who were sent to their deaths from here. 186 steel plates show the date, destination and number of deportees. The first train went to the Litzmannstadt ghetto (Lodz, Poland) on October 18, 1941; the last train to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on January 5, 1945.
Otto Weidt's Workshop for the Blind
Today, the Hackesche Höfe in Berlin Mitte are mentioned in every travel guide. They are a backyard labyrinth in which many Jewish people lived and worked — for example in the brush factory of the German entrepreneur Otto Weidt. During the Nazi era he employed many blind and deaf Jews and saved them from deportation and death. The workshop of the blind is now a museum.
Fashion Center Hausvogteiplatz
The heart of Berlin's fashion metropolis once beat here. A memorial sign made of high mirrors recalls the Jewish fashion designers and stylists who made clothes for the whole of Europe at Hausvogteiplatz. The National Socialists expropriated the Jewish owners and handed over the fashion stores to Aryan employees. Berlin's fashion center was irretrievably destroyed during the Second World War.
Memorial at Koppenplatz
Before the Holocaust, 173,000 Jews lived in Berlin; in 1945 there were only 9,000. The monument "Der verlassene Raum" (The Deserted Room) is located in the middle of the Koppenplatz residential area in Berlin's Mitte district. It is a reminder of the Jewish citizens who were taken from their homes without warning and never returned.
The Jewish Museum
Architect Daniel Libeskind chose a dramatic design: viewed from above, the building looks like a broken Star of David. The Jewish Museum is one of the most visited museums in Berlin, offering an overview of the turbulent centuries of German Jewish history.
Weissensee Jewish Cemetery
There are still eight remaining Jewish cemeteries in Berlin, the largest of them in the Weissensee district. With over 115,000 graves, it is the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Many persecuted Jews hid in the complex premises during the Nazi era. On May 11, 1945, only three days after the end of the Second World War, the first postwar Jewish funeral service was held here.
The New Synagogue
When the New Synagogue on Oranienburger Strasse was first consecrated in 1866 it was considered the largest and most magnificent synagogue in Germany. The only one of Berlin's 13 synagogues to survive the Kristallnacht pogroms, it later burned down due to Allied bombs. It was reconstructed and opened again in 1995. Since then, the 50-meter-high golden dome once again dominates Berlin's cityscape.