If you walk slowly, you can discover a lot, even or especially where you think you know your own city. It is well known that in many places in Berlin stories and history go hand in hand, and yet the tour through the Scheunenviertel opened up some unexpectedly surprising insights and retrospections thanks to the two knowledgeable guides. Together with Kerstin Ewert and Niels Spellbrink, 40 employees embarked on an extremely entertaining and indeed diverse journey through time on Diversity Day. Hardly at the Hackescher market started, the first surprise did not let wait for itself. The area around the new synagogue, to the left, to the right and along Oranienburger Strabe, known here as the Scheunenviertel, is actually called Spandauer Vorstadt. The Scheunenviertel, on the other hand, was created in the 18th century. on Bulowplatz, today Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, where the Volksbuhne is located. Nix barn. Following this beginning, the walk was rich in in many ways unbelievable history*s.
Through THE Jewish Berlin?
A pithy title for a tour, but probably little more than a rough directional guide, because where or what is THE Jewish Berlin? For the first time it is recorded that in the 12th century. Jews (m/f/d should always be kept in mind) settled in the Klosterviertel, near the Rotes Rathaus (Red City Hall), respectively. were allowed to settle on the benevolence of the rulers. Since they were only allowed to earn their own bread through credit and trade, there was always expulsion and persecution, especially in times of crisis, but the Jewish people often quickly resettled. But when the plague raged in Europe in 1348/49, the first major persecution of Jews occurred in Berlin. History took its course, over centuries Jews settled in Berlin, were expelled, came again.
Jews have shaped the intellectual and cultural heritage of Berlin over the centuries (see map of the Jewish quarter berlin). Moses Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn, Rosa Luxemburg and Albert Einstein are just a few names. Not all of them lived in Berlin's Jewish quarter, but they were scattered throughout all of Berlin's neighborhoods. In the 1920s lived about 170.000 Jews in Berlin. Most of them fled after 1933 or were forced to emigrate. In 1939 there were still about 75.000 Jews lived in Berlin until 18.10.1941 the first "special train (as the jargon of the time put it), the Jewish train left the Grunewald freight station with 1251 Jews and the systematic deportation of the Jews from Berlin began. 55.000 Berlin Jews were victims of the Shoah, most of the others fled or were expelled. Only 9.000 of them survived underground or in a marriage with a non-Jewish spouse.
History must be preserved! Because we can learn from it for the future.
Hackescher Market. at the Spandauer Bridge.
The street signs are closely connected and at the same time also signposts through history.
In the 17th century. a gate stood here and opened the way through the medieval city wall to the fortifications of Berlin. Corresponding to its function in a fortification, the gate had a connecting wooden bridge.
End of the 19th century. the old Berlin moat was filled in and the first Berlin city railway line was built in place of the city wall. 11 kilometers and 11 stations made the journey from West to East a diverting pleasure, reserved primarily for the stockbrokers. Appropriately, the station at today's Hackescher Markt was called: "Bahnhof Alte Borse.
Rosenstrasse . Heidereutergasse
Close to each other lie here, so to speak, a sign of the beginning and a reminder of the end.
Heidereutergasse 4: The first synagogue was built here in 1712 and it was also the first publicly visible evidence of Jewish religious life in Berlin. In the pogrom night of 9./10. November 1938 it was not destroyed. One reason for this was probably the sheltered location in the middle of a courtyard surrounded by houses on all four sides. On 20. November 1942 the last service took place in the Old Synagogue, a little later it was completely destroyed. Today there is a green area on this place, where a memorial plaque and the outline of the synagogue marked with stones remind of this place of worship.
The monument "Women's Protest 1943 by Ingeborg Hunzinger commemorates the overwhelming women's uprising in the neighboring Rosenstrabe.
Within six days in February 1943, about 8.000 people deported, including more than 2000 Jews, mostly male, who were in a "mixed marriage" lived. Spared until then, they were now separated and crammed into a collection camp at Rosenstrasse 2-4, a building owned by the Jewish Community. On 27. February, women and children gave voice to their concern for the men that could not be ignored. Hundreds of women protested day and night for a week until their husbands were released.
Grobe Hamburger Strabe – "Street of Tolerance and Death
The Jewish sites, the Catholic church, and the church of the Holy Cross lie side by side here. Hedwigs Hospital and the famous cemetery of the Protestant St. Sophia Church.
Miraculously, despite the ordered erasure of all Jewish inscriptions and symbols, the inscription "Boys' School of the Jewish Community" has been preserved above the portal of the house at Grobe Hamburger Strasse 27. A school with fences, cameras and guards that shows us an image that must make its viewers think. The Jewish High School Moses Mendelssohn – formerly a boys' school, later a secondary school – is today a state-approved private school of the Jewish community.
The past refuses any form of tolerance and pronounces death sentences.
In 1942 the Reich Security Main Office had the school evacuated. The building and the neighboring, first Jewish old people's home were converted into a prison with bars and floodlights as a Gestapo "Judenlager" in 1942. From here, more than 55,000 Jews were deported to the extermination camps of the East.
Directly opposite, the old Jewish cemetery, used from 1672 to 1827, speaks its own language.
Once it was a burial place for 50 families of Viennese Schutzjuden, who came to Berlin in 1671 and were settled in front of the Spandauer Tor. In 1943, SS men ravaged the cemetery and desecrated the excavated bones of the dead. In the last days of the war, 2427 war dead were buried in mass graves in the cemetery.
In the 1970s, East Berlin's Stadtgartenamt removed the remaining Jewish gravestones. In memory of the tragic events, a symbolic tomb for Moses Mendelssohn, a sarcophagus made of destroyed gravestones and the sculpture "Jewish Victims of Fascism" remain with which Will Lammert set a visible sign. The cemetery itself is a green oasis, almost idyllic and somehow deadly quiet.
Presumably 3000 war victims – of which about 2000 are known by name – rest here alongside an estimated 3000 Jewish deceased buried here.
Rosenthaler Strabe 39 – the Schwarzenberg house!
A house in which two special personalities still tell us today the story of their courageous and convinced resistance – it sounds almost paradoxical – impressively true to life. Otto Weidt and Anne Frank.
Museum "Otto Weidt Workshop for the Blind
In 1940, blinded himself, he opened a workshop for the blind in the backyard of this house as a broom and brush bindery. It was thanks to his own ear ailment that the staunch pacifist was able to avoid military service in WWII. Its operation, however, was considered "important for defense", since Otto Weidt sold his products mainly to the Wehrmacht. During the Holocaust, Weidt protected his mostly Jewish employees and saved the lives of several Jews through good relationships, bribery, passport forgery and with the support of Hedwig Porschutz. Among them was Inge Deutschkron, who later supported the founding of the museum and thus created an important place of remembrance. She herself was made an honorary citizen of Berlin in 2018 and died in March 2022 at the age of 99.
Anne Frank Center
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main in 1929 to Jewish parents and fled with her family to Amsterdam in 1933. After German troops invaded, the family hid in a back house from 1942 to 1944, where Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary. The hiding place was betrayed and the Frank family deported. Anne died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945 at the age of 15. Through the publication of her diary, Anne Frank has become a symbol for millions of Jews who fell victim to the Nazis' racist extermination policy.
One house, two memorials, worthy of their own extended visit at any time.