Our second day in Berlin and we were to have a "Jewish" tour. We had told the tour operator that we weren't interested in the Holocaust sites but rather the earlier and the current Jewish influences. Unfortunately, our guide couldn't seem to grasp the concept of seeing "Jewish" Berlin without going from one memorial site to another. We started by going to Grunewald where there is a memorial at the train station. I was more interested in the area and what it was before the war and what it is now. From all appearances it is a very nice residential area with upscale houses.
This is a square immediately outside the train station.
Next we went to the Friedrichstrasse station which is in more of a commercial district. There we saw the "Trains to Life - Tranis to Death" memorial. Two children with bags and satchel are looking hopefully in one direction while at the other end, 5 ohers are staring in the opposite direction. The track alongside leads to life or death.
Then it was on to the Rosenstrasse Women's Protest memorial. This is a in a small park like setting and consists of a number of pieces of sculpture. This was to remember the women that protested the taking of 1200-2500 Jewish men and boys that were husbands or sons of non-Jewish women. Eventually the men and boys were freed.
From Rosenstrasse we went to Rosenthaler Strasse where we visited the Museum of Otto Weidt's Workshop. He employed the blind and deaf to make brushes and brooms. Some of his employees were Jews. He managed to save them and also hid a family behind a false wall in his workshop. I have no pictures as they weren't feasible.
It was finally time to leave the Holocaust memorials and proceed to an old Jewish cemetary. We were told that this cemetary is where Moses Mendelssohn is buried.
We had nothing scheduled for our last day in Berlin so we decided to take a bus tour to Potsdam. It wasn't a very nice day - cool and drizzly - and it wasn't a great tour. (I don't think bus tours are for me. They rush past places and things I would like to stop and see, and they give little or no direction at the places they stop.)
Potsdam is about 15 miles southwest of Berlin. It was an OK ride and you could hear a narrative in 10 languages. (I chose English and still didn't get a lot out of it.)
When we reached Potsdam, we were on our own for about 2 hours. We decided to walk over to see Sanssouci Palace and its gardens. The palace was the summer home of Frederick the Great. Although we didn't go inside, I could tell that it was a cozy little place like the palaces we saw in Russia.
At the end of our "Jewish" tour we went by the "New Synagogue". It was built in the mid 1800s and was the largest synagogue in Germany. It was badly damaged during WWII and required reconstruction. We did not get to go inside but from the outside it is quite an imposing sight. The large domes give it somewhat of a Moorish feel. It is quite beautiful and as seen in the pictures below, the synagogue is visible from quite a distance.