Fotoeins Fotografie

questions of place & home

Posts tagged ‘Old Jewish Cemetery’

IHolocaustdenkmal, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: observations from Germany

Primo Levi, Italian-Jewish author, chemist, and Auschwitz survivor, delivered a set of essays about life and survival in Nazi extermination camps in his 1986 book “The Drowned and the Saved”. Levi wrote:

… For us to speak with the young becomes even more difficult. We see it as a duty and, at the same time, as a risk: the risk of appearing anachronistic, of not being listened to. We must be listened to: above and beyond our personal experiences, we have collectively witnessed a fundamental, unexpected event, fundamental precisely because unexpected, not foreseen by anyone. It took place in the teeth of all forecasts; it happened in Europe; incredibly, it happened that an entire civilized people, just issued from the fervid cultural flowering of Weimar, followed a buffoon whose figure today inspires laughter, and yet Adolf Hitler was obeyed and his praises were sung right up to the catastrophe. It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say.

On 27 January 1945, Soviet Red Army troops liberated the Nazi concentration and extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in south-central Poland. Over 1 million men, women, and children were murdered.

The United Nations declared January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day; the designation came during the 42nd plenary session of the United Stations when resolution 60/7 was passed on 1 November 2005.

Accepting and openly stating responsibility are critical first steps, but spending time, money, and effort to ensure the simple motto of “never again” is also an ongoing reality that isn’t solely up to the citizens of Germany. It’s a collective responsibility that we all should have to remain vigilant; that we all have to recognize and bolster actions which encourage and strengthen the universality of human rights, and reject the erosion and withdrawal of those rights.

I also believe responsible tourism includes paying appropriate respect at a memorial, especially the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. It’s my view this important memorial is not (supposed to be) a playground.

And yet, there’s something to be said about freedom in the early 21st-century which allows people to laugh and frolic in the public space, an undulating sculpture of featureless massive grey cement blocks, a testimonial to the systematic murder of millions of people.

Naturally, you have the freedom to take selfies and play here. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna laugh with you.

•   Yolocaust art project, DW 2017.

( Click here for more )

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Fotoeins Friday: Intl. Holocaust Remembrance Day (2017)

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day:

•   United Nations
•   Yad Vashem
•   US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Outside the Old Jewish Cemetery near Hackesche Höfe in Berlin’s Spandauer Vorstadt is Will Lammert’s sculpture “Jüdische Opfer des Faschismus” (Jewish victims of fascism). The sculpture shows men, women, and children with horror and despair on their faces, directly confronting visitors with an equally direct question: “why?”

More from me in Berlin

•   City’s oldest Jewish cemetery
•   Grunewald train station, track 17
•   Memorial to murdered Jews in Europe
•   Memorial to murdered Sinti and Roma

I made this photograph on 21 November 2012 with the Canon EOS450D, 18-55 kit-lens, and the following settings: 1/25s, f/5, ISO800, and 28mm focal length (45mm full-frame equivalent). This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-8WN.

Berlin’s Oldest Jewish Cemetery (Spandauer Vorstadt)

“Der Jüdische Friedhof in der Grossen Hamburger Strasse”

In the past, I’ve often felt guilty for taking photographs at a cemetery, as if the act of opening and closing the camera’s shutter somehow “exposes and steals” the essence of people who are laid to rest. Only in the last few years have I overcome these feelings, as I now see cemeteries as beautiful places to visit and to witness frozen snapshots to individual lives over time. On this late-autumn afternoon, I stood in the middle of the garden, transported to a different place and a different time, surrounded by tranquility and living memories.

Große Hamburger Straße (or Greater Hamburg Street) was the key central road in what was once the Spandauer Vorstadt, which was the suburb or town at the foot of the former Berlin city gates. The road allowed for trade and movement from Berlin in the direction towards the nearby town of Spandau.

According to berlin.de, the area developed around the Hackesche Market and Courtyards:

Historically, development of the Höfe went hand in hand with the growth of Berlin as a thriving urban centre. The expansion started around 1700 from an outer suburb known as Spandauer Vorstadt, located outside the Spandau City gate which already had its own church, the Sophienkirche as early as 1712. Friedrich Wilhelm I built a new city wall here and the former suburb became a new urban district belonging to Berlin. Today’s Hackescher Markt takes its name from the market built here by a Spandau city officer, Count von Hacke.

The influx of Jewish migrants and the exiled French Huguenots gave the district the cosmopolitan diversity which it never lost. The first synagogue was built in this area and the first Jewish cemetery established on the Grosse Hamburger Strasse. Another name for the area, the Scheunenviertel (barn district) is associated today with up and coming art galleries and the more bohemian side of Berlin. The largest synagogue in Germany was built in nearby Oranienburger Strasse in 1866.

In use from 1672 to 1827, this is Berlin’s oldest cemetery for the Jewish community. Buried here is Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), philosopher, a founding father of the Jewish Enlightenment, and grandfather to the great composer Felix Mendelssohn. During the last stages of fighting in the Second World War, 2425 dead were buried here in 16 mass graves. With no clear boundaries separating those buried in the past from those buried during the war, the new memorial garden was constructed and restored in 2007-08 with all of the buried left undisturbed as they were.

The present location was also the site of the first nursing home in 1844 for the Jewish community in Berlin. The Gestapo transformed the home in 1942 to a collection and staging point for prisoners, and ordered the destruction of the entire site in 1943. 55000 Berlin Jews from infants to the elderly were deported and murdered in the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Theresienstadt.

I also wrote about the “Shalechet” (Fallen Leaves) sculpture installation at the Jewish Museum Berlin.


Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com
Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Moses Mendelssohn

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Moses Mendelssohn

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com
Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

In memory of the oldest Jewish cemetery in Berlin

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com
Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

In memory

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Wrongs to be righted

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com
Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Sophienkirche at right

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Graves on top of graves

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

“Jüdische Opfer des Faschismus” (Jewish victims of fascism), by Will Lammert

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Once a home to seniors, then a place for staging and deporting

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Front gate to Fernsehturm

Old Jewish Cemetery, Grosse Hamburger Strasse, Berlin, Germany, fotoeins.com

Nie wieder. Never again.


Directions

Visitors can reach the Old Jewish Cemetery with the MetroTram (M1, M4, M5) to Monbijouplatz; Strassenbahn 12 to Monbijouplatz; S-Bahn (S3, S5, S7, S9) to Hackescher Markt; S-Bahn (S1, S2, S25, S26) to Oranienburger Strasse; or the U-Bahn (U8) to Weinmeisterstrasse. After disembarking the train or tram at any of these stations, it’s a short walk to the cemetery which is located next to the Sophienkirche church.

In Berlin-Mitte at Spandauer Strasse 68 (at Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse) a memorial plaque marks the location of the house where Moses Mendelssohn and his family lived; see also articles in German Berliner Morgenpost (3 May 2015) and Süddeutsche Zeitung (16 June 2016).

I made the photos above on 21 November 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-2MX.

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