Day 3: Berlin
We arrived in Berlin very early this morning - around 9am. People were on a variety of flights, so we hung out at the airport Starbucks for a while until everyone had gathered. We then got onto our bus and did a brief tour of some areas relevant to Jewish life in Berlin before and during the war.
We visited the New Synagogue - built in 1866 with a capacity of 3000+. It was badly damaged during Kristallnacht but has been restored.
From there we went to the Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt. Otto is sometimes referred to as 'Berlin's Schindler' because he tried to save Blind and Deaf Jews living in Berlin by employing them in his broom making factory. In addition to providing employment, he also hid people on the property when necessary.
We visited the Grosse Hamburger Strasse Cemetery, which is more of just a landmark now, as it no longer houses any human remains or gravestones, save one, the gravestone of Moses Mendelssohn.
Finally, we visited the Memorial to the Rosenstraße Protest, which tells the story of German wives of Jewish men in Berlin who protested the arrest of their Jewish husbands. For more than a week, 600 women stood outside protesting and demanding the release of their husbands.
It's very rare to hear stories of protests during the Nazi era, but that does not mean they didn't happen, nor does it mean that they were ineffective. In fact, the Rosenstrasse protest is documented as an example of how protesting in Nazi Germany could lead to a response, as the husbands were released.