Jewish Museum Berlin #1: Architecture

I visited the Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum) when I was in Berlin the last time. It is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe and opened to the public in 2001. Two millennia of German Jewish history are on display in the permanent exhibition as well as in various changing exhibitions. If you ever happen to be in Berlin, be sure to visit this place (with a lot of time at hand).

We were allowed to take pictures in the museum and I really like to show you some impressions. To not be “too much”, I devided the pictures into several posts, which will appear over the next few days. I start with some general information and a special focus on the architecture.


The architecture alone is simply stunning: One of the two buildings is a new addition specifically built by architect Daniel Libeskind (shown in the picture above). stairway

He called it Between The Lines, “because for me it is about two lines of thinking, organization and relationship. One is a straight line, but broken into many fragments, the other is a tortuous line, but continuing indefinitely” (Daniel Libeskind, 1998).

Zig-zag best describes the form of this building. It is based on two linear structures which, combined, form the body of the building. The first line is a winding one with several kinks while the second line cuts through the whole building. At the intersections of these lines are empty spaces – “Voids” – which rise vertically from the ground floor of the building up to the roof.

The positioning of the windows – primarily narrow slits – follows a precise matrix: Daniel Libeskind plotted the addresses of prominent Jewish and German citizens on a map of pre-war Berlin and joined the points to form an “irrational and invisible matrix” (Daniel Libeskind, 1995) on which he based the language of form, the geometry and shape of the building. The new building is coated in zinc, a material that has a long tradition in Berlin’s architectural history. Over the years, the untreated alloy of titanium and zinc will oxidize and change color through exposure to light and weather.

You start on the lower level with the Axis of Continuity, the Axis of Exile and the Axis of Holocoust (I took a picture of the plan for you, see below). The Axis of Continuity leads to the Sackler Staircase, which connects the Old and the New Building (picture on the right). The architect describes the Axis of Continuity as the continuation of Berlin’s history, the connecting path from which the other axes branch off.

All three of the underground axes intersect, symbolizing the connection between the three realities of Jewish life in Germany.


Visit the Jewish Museum Berlin, where I got most of the information from. In the next posts I show you impressions of the Axis of Exile, the Garden of Exile, the Axis of Holocaust, the Holocaust Tower and the Memory Void.

This entry was posted by pixelmaedchen.

4 thoughts on “Jewish Museum Berlin #1: Architecture

  1. Pingback: Jewish Museum Berlin #2: The Simple Things | letters from mars

  2. Pingback: Jewish Museum Berlin #3: Garden of Exile | letters from mars

  3. Pingback: Jewish Museum Berlin #4: The Dead End | letters from mars

  4. Pingback: Jewish Museum Berlin #5: Memory Void | letters from mars

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