Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Judisch und Turkin

Today we spent the morning and early afternoon at the Judisches Museum - (two millennia of German Jewish history) on Lindenstrasse not too far from the Hallesches Tor underground station.  The Judisches Museum is one of the largest Jewish museums in Europe, housed in a most remarkable, austere but emotive building that was opened in September 2001.  You enter via a tunnel from the old Berlin Museum into a twisted zig-zag of a building - its shape reminiscent of a "warped star of David".

The architect has incorporated massive and overpowering void spaces in the building for contemplation and for arts installations, and there are dynamic angles and juxtapositions and unusual viewpoints throughout. The building itself exerts a powerful affect on the viewer's emotions.

One of the installations is in an exterior courtyard - "The Garden of Exile". The foundations for the 49 tall concrete pillars, each planted with a wild olive, are tilted - creating a very unnerving effect.

One of the void spaces in the building houses "Installation Shalekhet" - Fallen Leaves. 10,000 faces punched out of steel are laid out on the ground space - dedicated to all victims of violence and war. Walking on the faces causes ghastly clangs and rattles - which I found very disturbing.

The museum collection presents two thousand years of German history through the eyes of the Jewish minority - presented mostly through the stories and personal memorabilia of German Jewish people. There was so much to experience and comprehend at this museum - we could have come every day for the next week.  This visit certainly gave me a much deeper understanding about the WHY questions I have been asking myself most of my life. 

Despite the dark nature of the museum's content there was a hopeful conclusion to the exhibition with news of the migration to Germany (since the end of WW11) of 200,000 Jews from the Soviet Union - opening up new opportunities for developing vibrant Jewish communities in Germany once more.

It was around 2.00pm by the time we weren't able to take anymore in and we were STARVING so as quickly as possible we found our way via the Underground to Kottbusser Tor station and then walked from there across the canal.......

until we found our way into the regular Tuesday Turkischer Markt on the Maybachufer.

We're in the Kreuzberg District here, one of the two areas in Berlin hosting a very large Turkish population (Berlin has the largest Turkish population in the world, outside Turkey). The Kreuzberg district is very peaceful apparently with Turkish families living side by side with punks, hippies and squatters.  The dominant language of the area is Turkendeutsche - a hybrid language spoken by the immigrant population.

We could see lots of alternative types around the market today along with the more obvious Turkish population.  The fresh food was cheap and abundant with stalls selling the freshest and most fragrant dips, nuts, breads, dates, antipasto and FELAFEL.

There were lots of braided arty types here too (I guess because there were lots of stalls selling cheap food, and braids and other textiles). There was a stall completely devoted to selling artist's canvases. How many painters do you need in a city to support a canvas market stall - only in Berlin!!!

We were home early today - around 4.00pm. I took this shot of a building near us on Kastanienallee as we walked around to Kaiser Supermarket for a few supplies.  Apparently it's a renowned Berlin squat (with an anarchist bookstore next door) - the signage on the front translates as...... Capitalism homogenises, destroys, kills......

.....a highly visible protest about the gentrification and development going on in this part of the former East Berlin????

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