Friday, 6 May 2011

Berlin - The fourth day (still) - Around the Scheunenviertel area - the 24th of April 2011

This quarter is said to have been the heart of the Jewish community until World War II, but if we walk around it today we'll realise it has become of the liveliest Berlin quarters.

As we walked along Oranienburger Strasse two buildings attracted our attention - The New Synagogue and  the old Postfuhramt.

The 1866 Eduard Knoblauch designed Synagogue, which was meant to be a symbol of the status the 35,000 Jewish community in Berlin enjoyed at the time and that survived the "Kristallnacht"in 1938, but stood no chance during the second war. 
We hadn't realised it was closed on Saturday, so we were not able to see the exhibition it houses.

Regarding the Postfuhramt, a 1881 tower-like domed building with a neo-renaissance façade, which used to be a mail coach station, providing a stable space for 250 horses and is currently being converted into a hotel ... it is an imposing building in itself.


The Tacheles is a ruined Department store which was occupied by a group of artists around the time of the reunification and although its entrance as well as its interior looked rather "psychadelic" and frightening in some areas, one did undoubtedely find some different "Art objects", whose authors'creativity was unquestionable.

Tacheles as seen from the outside and inside

As we walked out and before heading towards Koppenplatz to see a piece of sculpture, sat at one the many "different" cafés around the area and had a relaxing quarter of an hour break observing the ongoing movement of people ...

"Der verlassene Raum" sculpture

In 1998 the East German Government erected a Monument on the deportation of the Jews under the National Socialist Regime and the uniqueness of it  lies on its composition - a bronze table and two chairs, one of which thrown upside down in a clear suggestion of there having been some kind of violence or inference that those who used them were forced to leave in a rush.

We continued walking towards the Grosse Hamburger Strasse looking for another memorial, placed where a building used to stand. Many Berlin Jews  who were subject to detention were kept in it before being deported to the death camps of Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

I was expecting it to be bigger. It is  a group of sculptures placed on top of a street stone bench and "small" as they may be ... conveys the image of suffering as they walk towards death. 

By the time we got to the Brandenburg Gate the sun was going down, so we decided to come back the day after. We then headed to the Hauptbahnhof from where we expected to walk to the Hamburgerbahnhof, a train station which has been turned into the Museum of Contemporary Art, but by the time we got there it was no longer open.

The Brandenburg Gate (Left). Statue outside the Hauptbahnhof (Right).

It's been a "full" day, I must say ... but like with most interesting things, once one gets into the rhythm it is as if one doesn't feel like stopping ...

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