After having breakfast we checked out of our inner city hotel. Our bus driver conveniently drove up slightly onto the side walk so that we could quickly get onto the bus. We arrived outside the Jewish museum but before went into the museum we went to the supermarket to pick up some lunch for later.
After that, we entered the Jewish museum and immediately from the outside you can see the point that the architect was trying to make. The building was made out of concrete the grey, blank material conveys the dreariness that the Jews faced through nazi Germany. The museum started with the three axis of Jewish life during the nazi Germany. The threes axis were the axes of exile, the axes of holocaust and the axes of continuity. Along the axis there were exhibits related to the topic such as a the yellow star Jewish people were forced to wear in nazi Germany in the axis of exile. At the end of the axes there was a door into a huge 30m tall room lot only by a slit of light called the axes of holocaust there was the holocaust tower. It was dark and echoey lit only by a spit of sunlight at the top. It gave the effect of isolation the Jews felt during the time in the nazis. At the end of the axes of exile there were large concrete blocks which you could walk through which gave the sense of disorientation when walking through them. There was also another interesting interactive exhibition in another tall echoey room lit with a light at the start slowly going into darkness at the other. In this room there were metal plates on the shaped like faces and when you walked over it the metal clangs bouncing off the walls sent shivers down your spine as you walked into the darkness.
The museum also had an exhibition explaining female head scarves of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith. After this the museum had its major exhibition of explaining Jewish life from the medieval ages to modernity. The reoccurring theme was the Jewish being the minority that was always being persecuted from being blamed for the Black Death to the lose of World War One. The Jewish museum was very good the only criticism is that they tried to shove down our throats again and again that Jews are good ordinary people which we already knew, instead of trying to teach us history.
After visiting the expansive Jewish museum, we travelled an around an hour by bus to the southern, suburban region of Berlin called Potsdam-Mittelmark. Before we went anywhere, we headed down to have lunch by a beautiful lake. Some boys sat on the pier, and spent some of lunch feeding a large group of ducks which gathered around.
After lunch, we visited the museum at 56-58 Am Grossen Wannsee, a grandiose building where the Wannsee Conference took place in January 1942, to discuss the Final Solution to the Jewish Question. This conference was headed by Reinhard Heydrich, a high-ranking German Nazi official and SS member. The Wannsee Conference mainly involved the establishment of death camps throughout Europe as the Final Solution. In the building, we went on a guided tour, talking about the genocide in Europe against people who were considered inferior by the Nazis and also the members of the Nazi Party who attended the conference. After this, we were given some time to explore the museum by ourselves.
When our time was up, we gathered behind the museum, in the garden, where we have our presentation on the complicity of German civilians in Nazism. After this, we gathered in groups to discuss things that we found interesting about the Jewish Museum that we had visited earlier in the day. Some common interests included the architecture of the building, the stories that were presented with Jewish holocaust artefacts, and the artefacts themselves.
We checked in to our outer city hotel after our discussions were finished. We noticed that the hotel had much more space in its rooms than the hotel we had stayed in before. Dinner was at 7:30, and was on the opposite side of the road to the hotel. We enjoyed soup, meatballs & mashed potatoes and custard for dinner. Afterwards we returned to the hotel, with some boys staying downstairs for casual activities. At 10pm, everyone went upstairs for a well-deserved rest after an event-packed and hot & sunny day.
By Jack Lu and Oliver Saleh