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The first part of the museum that we toured was designed by Daniel Libeskind and full of symbolism.
Daniel Libeskind called his design for the Jewish Museum Berlin “Between the Lines”. The floor plan is shaped like a zigzag line and is intersected by a straight line. Empty spaces called void extend the height of the building at the interfaces.The zinc-clad facade is covered by diagonal slashes – the window openings. Three paths cross on the lower level: the Axis of Exile, the Axis of the Holocaust, and the Axis of Continuity, which leads to the museum’s upper stories. Daniel Libeskind was born in 1946 in Poland. He first emigrated to Israel, then to New York. Of his architecture, he says: “What is important is the experience you get from it. The interpretation is open.”
Ying and I ventured into the Holocaust Tower. Its decription:-
The Axis of the Holocaust slopes gently upward to an empty, 24 meter-high space called the Holocaust Tower. It is unheated and only lit by natural light falling through a diagonal opening in the wall. Sounds can be heard from outside. Daniel Libeskind called this room “the voided void”. It was later interpreted as a commemorative space for the victims of the Holocaust. Libeskind’s architecture continues to be open to entirely different, personal interpretations.
It was eerie being in the room with limited lighting. This probably mirrored the fear which the Jews faced during the Holocaust.
We then proceeded through the Memory Void.
The architect Daniel Libeskind created empty spaces in several parts of the building. These so-called voids extend vertically through the entire museum and represent the absence of Jews from German society.
There was also an artwork “Shalekhet” or “Fallen Leaves” created by Israeli artist Menashe Kadishman.
The artist dedicated the over 10,000 faces covering the floor to all innocent victims of war and violence.
When one walked through the installation, the clanging sound from the metal pieces pierced through the quiet museum.
The second part of the museum was more conventional. It charted the history of Jews in Germany in chronological sequence.
We didn’t have time to fully explore the museum as it was near closing time. There were quite a few interactive elements such as writing your name in Hebrew and learning about Jewish customs. However, Ying found the curation rather disorganized and not as interesting as Verkehrshaus and DDR Museum. Nevertheless it is still a nice museum to visit if one is interested in the this particular subject.