Study Experiences can arrange a wide range of visits in Berlin for students studying Religious Studies, such as:
Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, located on a stretch of the former “death strip”, where the Wall once stood near the Brandenburg Gate, is Berlin’s stunning monument to the Holocaust, dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide of World War II. Impressive in its awesome grey soberness, rather than sombreness, it includes an underground information centre, located on the south-eastern side of the memorial grounds.
The Information Centre complements the abstraction of the memorial with personal documentation about individuals and families. This includes biographical details, recordings and information about memorial sites throughout Germany and Europe. Documenting the universal issue of genocide, the centre represents a central focus on the diverse memorial sites across Germany which stress the living memory aspect of remembrance.
It took 17 years for the Memorial to be completed. Its foundation stone was a Bundestag resolution passed in 1999 to erect a Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This was followed by years of discussion and deliberation, until the Monument was completed in 2005. US architect Peter Eisenmann conceived the winning design consisting of 2711 rectangular blocks of concrete laid out in grid formation, recalling tombstones. An Audio Guided Tour (approximately 75 minutes) provides a general overview of the historical background and the European dimension of the Holocaust. Through historical documents, testimonies and the voices of contemporary witnesses, the fate of individuals and entire families is presented. The historians involved in the exhibition talk about their research, the exhibition designer provides an introduction to the architecture of the Information Centre.
A timeless monument to Jewish history and life in Germany, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum is one of the world’s most respected museums. The museum is a stunning achievement in the architecture of cultural identity, a lasting expression of Jewish presence and dislocation and above all the attempt at reconciling, physically and spiritually, the meaning of the Holocaust into the memory and consciousness of the city of Berlin.
For Libeskind, whose family was decimated during the Holocaust, the project presented to the Berlin Senate in 1988 – one year before the fall of the Berlin Wall – was a mission to acknowledge and incorporate the fractured course of German-Jewish history and the void of Jewish life in Berlin. The permanent exhibition inaugurated in 2001 comprises over 2000 years of Jewish history, from Roman times to the present day, arranged in 14 sections documenting the development of Jewish life in Germany – its artistic, cultural and scientific contribution throughout the centuries.
Guided tours for groups can be arranged which last approximately 1 hour. Following a short introduction into the architecture your tour can be focused on different themes. You can choose 3 of the following topics:
- Historical Themes – The Jewish World in the Middle Ages, Town, Country, Court (16th-18th century), Moses Mendelssohn (late 18th century), Emancipation and Reform (19th century), Start of the Modern Age (Late Imperial Germany and Weimar Republic), The Jewish Response to National Socialism (1933-1945), Women in Judaism – a 17th Century Women’s Life
- Contemporary Themes - Jewish Life and Traditions, What do Judaism and Islam have in common.
House of Wannsee Conference
The House of the Wannsee Conferences is located approximately 25km south west of Berlin. At noon on 20th January 1942 a fateful meeting of high officials from the Nazi Ministries and the SS was held in the Minoux Villa by the Wannsee waterside. High-ranking members of the SS, the NSDAP and various Reich ministries attended this meeting, which was convened by Reinhard Heydrich, Head of the Security Police and SD. The subject of the meeting was the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question
Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, located approximately 35km north of Berlin, was the first camp built on the orders of the Nazis regime in 1936, and served as a model for all the other camps. Over 50,000 victims of the Nazis perished in Sachsenhausen in conditions of appalling brutality. The camp became a training ground for the execution of the Holocaust and ultimately the centre of the whole concentration camp system. After the Nazis were defeated, the Soviets turned the camp into a gulag for their own political enemies. Thousands more were to perish over the next five years. The camp is now part of the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum. Its design is based on a decentralised concept, which aims to communicate history to visitors in the very places where it happened. The original buildings and remaining structures of the camp are ‘guarantors of memory’. It also remains a place of mourning and remembrance.
Following German reunification in 1990, the Bundestag (German Federal Parliament) decided to make the Reichstag building the seat of Parliament in Berlin, the restored capital of reunited Germany. After a complete restoration of Paul Wallot’s original 1894 building, the Bundestag reconvened here in Sir Norman Foster’s spectacularly restored Reichstag building on 19th April 1999.
A visit to the Reichstag is a must, a highlight includes the lift ride to the top of the building to a large viewing terrace for the breath-taking views of Tiergarten, the dome and the mirror cylinder at the centre. All groups are pre-booked with details of identification sent in advance.