In essence, every Jewish building in Berlin is in itself a monument to the Holocaust.

There are many museums in the world which are architectural wonders: The Louvre in Paris or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Since I travel the world, I would like to add to the list one of the most remarkable museum buildings you will ever encounter: the Jewish Museum Berlin (Jüdisches Museum Berlin), which was opened in 2001 and is the largest Jewish museum in Europe

THE JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN, once known as the City of Berlin Museum
THE JEWISH MUSEUM BERLIN, once known as the City of Berlin Museum © BECKY FRANK

Museums are not static in their presentations. News that the Jewish Museum Berlin is now reinventing itself by creating both a new permanent exhibition and a children’s museum, should not stop the visitor from touring this fabulous structure. Only the two upper levels of architect Daniel Libeskind’s building are not accessible until late 2019. But one can still view the architectural highlights of the Libeskind building, namely, the Axes in the basement, the Garden of Exile, and the impressive Voids – as well as the current exhibitions and art installations.

“One of the great glories of the architectural rebirth of the unified city of Berlin,” exclaimed one writer discussing the museum and the Reichstag. Those two structures stand as perhaps the only pieces of 21st century “avant-gardist architecture” in the city. The outer walls of the building are covered in zinc, pierced by slashes of window that could be lightning or a shattered Star of David.

I remember my first tour of the Jewish Museum 15 years ago when it was empty of exhibits and yet, it was one of the most challenging visits to a museum dealing with the tragedy that befell the Jewish people. More than 350,000 persons came to the museum in the two years before the exhibitions were installed.

Museum officials stress that the museum depicts the history of not only Berlin Jews, but of German Jews as a whole and that it is not a Holocaust memorial – it is a Jewish history museum that shows the creative role that Jews played in Germany before the Nazis took over in 1933. No doubt about it, Jews influenced the city’s cultural life, and that is shown here.