What To Expect
This three-hour tour traces the complex, 800-year history of the Jewish population in Berlin. In the company of a social, cultural, or political historian, we will explore the triumphs that Jewish thinkers, artists, public figures and common people achieved in this city while also investigating the tragedies that they suffered.
Although Jews first arrived in Berlin in the 13th century, the first synagogue - the so-called Old Synagogue - was only established in 1714 in the wake of the Friedrich Wilhelm I's tentative steps toward religious toleration. We will therefore begin our walk at Heidereutgasse, the site of this synagogue, using its foundations (all that remain of the building) to build up an image of Jewish history during the Medieval and Renaissance periods. From here we will make our way to the neighborhood once known as the Scheunenviertel ("Barn Quarter"), the center of Berlin Jewish life from the 18th century onwards.
Passing numerous sites of historical and contemporary significance - including synagogues, schools, and the old Jewish cemetery (in use from 1672 to 1827) - we will explore the cultural and commercial successes of Berlin's Jews, successes that reached their peak in the Weimar years (1919-1933). It was during this period that Max Reinhardt staged his plays, Arnold Schoenberg and Kurt Weill composed their music, Max Liebermann.
As we chronicle this history, however, we will also discuss the insidious parallel growth of anti-Semitism during the same period, which burst dramatically and disastrously to the surface after the ascendance of the Nazis in 1933. Beginning with the Nuremberg Laws, which systematically stripped Jews of various human, political, and economic rights and proceeding through the horrors of deportation and genocide between 1941 and 1943, we'll look at a number of significant vestiges of the Holocaust that are woven into the fabric of the city, including the Missing House graphic at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 15/16, which lists the names of former Jewish residents; the Abandoned Room at Koppenplatz, which serves as a reminder of the Jews taken on Kristallnacht; and some of the city's 1,400 Stolpersteine ("stumbling blocks"), which are designed to recall the fates of all the victims of the Nazi policies. As we discuss this dark period of Berlin's history we'll also include sites that recall secret resistance to the Third Reich.
Our walk will conclude with visits to two sites that emphasize the complexity of Jewish history in Berlin and the efforts of contemporary German society to find appropriate means of commemoration: the New Synagogue in Oranienburger Strasse, with its recently reconstructed golden dome, and Peter Eisenman's.
Meals and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Optional activity costs
Children below 12 years old are not permitted on this tour.
Minimum of 2 passengers per booking is required. Private walking seminars are available for solo travelers.
Tour will be operated as a guaranteed Small Group Tour with a maximum of 6 guests.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.
4 hours and 30 minutes