Jewish life in Berlin extends back to the Middle Ages- Jews having impacted nearly every aspect of the city’s great tapestry of culture, history, and scientific & economic development.  However, the story of Jewish history in Berlin is ultimately one of horrible destruction, as centuries of rich and meaningful life were wiped out in the Holocaust.  Having faced the lessons of its violent past, modern Berlin presents a vastly different tale-of great hope and potential as a city which greatly values tolerance and diversity.  Berlin’s Jewish community is today one of the fastest growing communities in the world.

 

Highlights

  • Encounters with the city’s past: The Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz, Unter den Linden, Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie & the Berlin Wall and more…
  • Meaningful encounters with the local Jewish community: meetings with Jewish activists, leaders & locals and a memorable Kabbalat Shabbat experience at the Oranienburger Str Synagogue.
  • Monuments & Moments to the Shoah: Hitler’s bunker, Track 17 at Grunewald Station & a visit to Wannsee.
  • Authentic cultural & culinary experiences.
  • Led by renowned Holocaust historian and veteran tour educator Sara Pellach.

 

About our on-site tour educator, Sara Pellach:

Born in Israel to Holocaust survivors, Sara Pellach grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust with a mother who would speak of nothing else but the “Shoah” and a father who never spoke a word about it.

It was only in 1971, while Sara was doing research on the Holocaust period for her degree at Bar Ilan University, that her father finally opened up and began to reveal his past.

Sara began her career as an enthusiastic history teacher. She taught for several years of being a teacher in Israel and was a school Principal in Canada.  After a tour in Poland organized for second generation Holocaust survivors, Sara decided to dedicate her research and knowledge of the Holocaust to informal education outside the classroom, guiding student and adult groups in the very places where Jewish history unfolded in Eastern Europe.

Her vast knowledge, sensitivity, religious convictions and personal experience bring an additional dimension to her tours and her sense of “Shlichut”- of being on a mission, gives her the strength and stamina to return time after time, yet with another group, to Europe.

Since 1987, Sara has guided hundreds of Jewish heritage trips for school and adult groups to Eastern and Central Europe.

Fluent in Hebrew, English and Yiddish, Sara guides tours from Israel, Europe and the United States.

 

A Kenes Tours Jewish Heritage tour guided by Sara Pellach is a memorable and spiritual experience, a once in a lifetime journey, forever to remember.

 

 

Day 1: Thursday-Willkommen in Berlin/Welcome to Berlin

  • Morning arrival at Berlin Tegel International Airport. After airport procedures, we are met by our tour guide and special on-site Jewish educator who will accompany us for the duration of our experience together, and are escorted to our awaiting coach transportation.
  • Today, we are introduced to the modern city of Berlin-capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is considered today to be one of the most exciting cities in the world.  Its past is full of critical moments of importance to world history and its present is an exhilarating combination of avant-garde culture, complex identity issues and the preservation of heritage-landmarks.  On our panoramic tour of the city, we will be able to see and explore some of the city’s must-see sites, including:
    • The Brandenburg Gate: Located in no-man’s land between East and West Germany during the Cold War, this famous monument, built during the 18th-century reign of Friedrich Wilhelm II, has long been a defining symbol of Berlin and both the city’s division and unification.
    • Potsdamer Platz: Used as a commercial and military transport center before World War I, this famous town square, which was trapped in the no-man’s-land next to the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, is currently under construction to become once again one of Berlin’s chief commercial centers. See the Berlin Wall Memorial, an open-air exhibition that explains the history of division and the impact of the Berlin Wall on the city and its residents.
    • Unter den Linden: One of the most important arterial roads in the center of Berlin, the magnificent boulevard in Mitte is the venerable heart of the city and takes you from the Brandenburg Gate to the Schlossbrücke and the Berliner Dom.  Strolling along the 1.5 km long road, you pass numerous important buildings such as the Humboldt University and the Staatsoper, and landmarks such as the Neue Wache and the Zeughaus. The boulevard also boasts restaurants, cafés and shops.
    • Museum Island: Berlin’s Museum Island(Museumsinsel) is a truly outstanding ensemble of five world-renowned museums. Apart for the legendary bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, the most famous and important cultural exhibits on show here include the breathtaking Pergamon Altar and the stunning Ishtar Gate. In 1999, the Museum Island complex was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    • Victory Column: The Victory Column was built in 1873 to celebrate Prussia’s victory in the Franco-German War. It was moved to its present location in the Tiergarten in 1938. Visitors can go to the top via 270 steps to see great views of Berlin.
    • Visit Checkpoint Charlie, one of the best-known crossing points between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.

 *** Total amount of site visits subject to time permitting. ***

  • Afterwards, we proceed to our hotel for check-in and a chance to rest, relax and prepare for the evening.
  • Tonight, we head out on the town for a welcome dinner at the TV-Tower-Restaurant Sphere– a renowned revolving restaurant that offers the perfect mix of amazing surroundings, a unique view of the city and fabulous food. We will be joined by a local Jewish activist (subject to availability).

Overnight: Berlin Hotel

 


Day 2: Friday-The Rich Jewish History of Germany

  • After breakfast, depart the hotel.
  • The Jewish Community in Berlin is one of the oldest communities in the Jewish world, noted for its rich and fascinating history. Today’s touring will focus on the history of Berlin’s Jewish community and will take us to locations where the city’s historic Jewish community originally lived, including to the site of the first official synagogue in Berlin. Throughout the day, we will hear about the different revolutions led by Berliner Jews-the Haskalah Movement, Feminist Rabbis, Socialist Jews and everyday heroes.  See the most important sites related to the city’s Jewish history.
  • Lunch on-site at the Jewish Museum.
  • Afterwards, go for a guided tour of the BerlinJewish Museum. Renowned as one of Europe’s leading museums, its exhibitions and permanent collection, educational activities and diverse program of events make the museum a vibrant center of reflection on Jewish history and culture, as well as about migration and diversity in Germany.  Additionally, its stunning design by acclaimed architect Daniel Libeskind accomplishes a contemporary structure which reflects in its construction the past, present and future of the country’s Jewish community.
  • Return to the hotel for a chance to rest, relax and prepare for Shabbat.
  • This evening, we celebrate Kabbalat Shabbat alongside members of the local Jewish community at the Oranienburger Str Synagogue. The Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) was built in the mid-19th century as the main synagogue of the city’s Jewish community.  Because of its beautiful and intricate Moorish design, it is listed amongst the city’s most important structures and was one of the only synagogues in Berlin to survive Kristallnacht.  Today, it is home to the city’s Masorti (Conservative) community.
  • Shabbat dinner together with the local community.

Overnight: Berlin Hotel

 


Day 3: Saturday-Berlin During the Third Reich: The Point of Fear

  • After breakfast, depart the hotel.
  • The Third Reich and National Socialism (Nazism) were more than ‘just’ the Holocaust. Nazism was a theory, which related itself to all aspects of life (and death) in the ‘Reich.’  Today’s touring will focus on several aspects of Nazi ideology and policies: the dream of creating a ‘master race’, the monumental architecture– which represents Nazi Germany’s aspirations to occupy the most central place on the world stage, and naturally, the brutal awakening from that dream into the grim reality of the Battle of Berlin.  Throughout the day, we shall see the Nazi government’s center of power, including the site of Hitler’s bunker, relics to Hitler and Speer’s ‘Germania’ and an authentic air-raid shelter.
  • Lunch on own.
  • At Grunewald Station, stand on Track 17 and witness its memorials to the deportation of Berlin’s Jews which took place here.
  • Next, travel outside the city to the garden suburb of Wannsee. There, visit the site of the 1942 Wannsee Conference, where Hitler and his inner circle planned the ‘Final Solution.’
  • Return to the hotel for a processing session.
  • Rest, relax and prepare for the evening.
  • This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant accompanied by a leading member of the local Israeli community in Berlin. Learn about the controversial origins and special makeup of this unique community of Israeli Jews who have returned to the city to comprise a significant proportion of Berlin’s contemporary Jewish community.

Overnight: Berlin Hotel

 


Day 4: Sunday-Departure

  • After breakfast, we check-out of our hotel accommodations.
  • Transfer to Berlin Tegel international airport for our departure flight.

 

 

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