Yeshurun Missions To Eastern Europe
Mission 4 : Berlin
Following our very successful Mission to Lithuania and Latvia, earlier this year, Yeshurun is running its fourth Mission to places of Jewish heritage and interest abroad next March.
This time, we're going to Berlin - a city which evokes a lot of emotion - it is also a city rich in Jewish heritage going back to the 12th Century, and with many places of interest, far more than just around the war year.
Today, Berlin has around 50,000 Jews. Approximately 80% have come from the former Soviet Union. Due to this, and an influx of Israeli and 'returning' German Jews, Berlin's Jewish population is now growing at a fast rate.
We now have enough confirmed interest for this Mission to take place, which will be from Sunday 3rd March 2013 for two nights and three days, returning on Tuesday 5th March (Purim is the previous Sunday).
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Tel No 0208 9545074 if you wish to book on the Mission. See the instructions at the end to book the flights. This needs to be done as early as possible.
Booking the flights should be done directly by you. Once booked, these are non-refundable.
Day 1, Sunday 3rd March
We will start our tour at the Brandenburg Gate, right at the centre of Berlin.
Brandenburg Gate and Parisen Platz, Unter den Linden, State Opera House.
Unter den Linden, Berlin 's magnificent boulevard and the centrepiece of Old Berlin, leads from Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate to the Schlossbrücke Bridge . Unter den Linden was originally a bridle path. From 1573, it led from Berlin Palace to Lietzow, later Charlottenburg, and then on to Spandau . From 1701, the Linden became more and more built up, mirroring the rising splendour of the monarchy and the new architectural style.
The day will continue with a visit to Humboldt University, Bebel Platz, State, (where they burned the books), with the Ulman memorial, “the empty Library” Royal Library, and Museum Island. We will also take in the site of the former and future Prussian-German Royal Palace and the Old National Theatre (Concert Hall). We will visit the Topographie Des Terrors (the Gestapo Museum, now Jewish-run); and the Gendarmenmarkt, known as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, created at the end of the 17th century as a market place.
Berlin Wall: During our walk through the area, we will see the many remnants of the Berlin walls, left and now displayed, as a reminder of the massive structure that once separated East and West Berlin .
After lunch we continue our tour to Potsdamer Platz: In the 1920s and 30s, the Potsdamer Platz was the busiest and one of the liveliest squares in Europe . It was a major public transport hub, with numerous bars, cafés and cinemas - until 1943 when it was left in ruins by Allied bombing.
After WWII the square, located between the American, British and Russian sectors, became a no-man's land. It was completely flattened with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 when the demolished buildings were pulled down. Today it has been completely rebuilt, with many modern office and leisure buildings including the Sony Center and luxury hotels.
We will visit to the Reichstag seat of the German Parliament and one of Berlin 's most historical landmarks. Before unification it was right next to the Berlin wall. The latest reconstruction started in 1995 and was completed in 1999. The design by Sir Norman Foster added a glass dome over the plenary hall. Since April 1999, the Reichstag has once again been the seat of the Bundestag.
An alternative afternoon visit to the Sachenhausen Concentration Camp, 25 miles to the north of Berlin City Centre, is also being explored.
Check in the hotel. Dinner at the 'Classroom Kosher Restaurant'. Overnight at the Hotel in Berlin
Day 2, Monday 4th March
Jewish Heritage of Berlin
After Shacharis at one of the local synagogues, and breakfast at the hotel, we depart by bus and start our tour of the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, built by Peter Eisenman, which covers an entire city block. The 2,711 pillars, planted close together in undulating waves, represent the 6 million murdered Jews.
We continue to the “Jewish Quarter” Residential Monument and Mendelssohn’s Grave. We will stop and look at the Oranienburger Strasse Synagogue. The (Conservative) Synagogue was burned during Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938 but the blaze was put out before much damage was done. The Nazis occupied the building in 1940 and desecrated the Synagogue by using it for storage.
The Synagogue sustained severe damage by Allied bombs during the war and for years it was left as an empty shell. Restoration began in 1988 and the Synagogue was reopened on May 7, 1995, the 50th anniversary of the German surrender.
We continue to the New Frank Meissler monument, and to Checkpoint Charlie. One of the crossings points near Friedrichstrasse between East and West when Berlin was a divided city, Checkpoint Charlie was the only crossing point that non-Germans could use. The main function of the checkpoint was to register and inform members of the Western Military Forces before entering East Berlin . Foreign tourists were also informed but not checked in the West. Checkpoint Charlie was removed on June 22, 1990
After lunch we continue our tour:
The Bayerisches Viertel (Places of Memories), known as the "Street Sign Memorial", is one of the city's most unusual commemoratives. It consists of 80 small signs attached to lampposts throughout the area that list the increasingly severe Nazi laws against Jewish citizens of Berlin . The memorial serves as impressive documentation that makes clear the increasing discrimination against Jews from the earliest persecutions to final destruction.
We then visit the very large and impressive Jewish Museum, designed by Daniel Libeskind and opened in 2001. The Jewish Museum is NOT a Holocaust Museum (that is the Wannsee Centre - see below). The permanent exhibitions deal with the fascinating story of the Jewish contribution to life in Germany since the 1st century.
The building (pictured - a Star of David that has become a lightning bolt through the Holocaust) is the most outstanding piece of modern architecture in Germany today. It incorporates a haunting (memorial) ' Holocaust Tower ' and a (slanted) ' Garden of Exile ' to convey the sufferings of German Jews.
Kosher dinner at the Classroom restaurant or Chabad centre. Overnight at the Hotel in Berlin
Day 3, Tuesday 5th March
Shacharis and Breakfast at the hotel
We start our Tuesday tour in Wannsee. We will visit the House of Wannsee Conference. This place was a meeting of senior officials of the Nazi German regime, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on 20 January 1942.
The purpose of the conference was to inform heads of German Government Departments that had responsibility for various policies relating to Jews of Reinhard Heydrich's appointment as the sole executor of the "Final solution to the Jewish question", and to obtain their agreement to subordinate their policies to him.
In the course of the meeting, Heydrich presented a plan, approved by Hitler, for the deportation of the Jewish population of Europe to German-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, and the use of those Jews fit for labour on road-building projects. The plan was never fully implemented, owing to the failure to achieve final victory over the Soviet Union, and most of the Jews of German-occupied Europe were sent to extermination or concentration camps, or killed where they lived
Depending on time, we may visit Potsdam
On our drive back, we will make a stop at the train tracks at Grunewald S-Bahn Station for a memorial service at "Track 17." Two sculptures here memorialize the deportation of 35,000 Berlin Jews who were loaded like cattle onto trains at this station between 1941 and 1945. The memorial consists of a long series of iron plates laid out on both sides alongside. Just above the track you can read, written on the side of each plate, the date, destination and number of Jews deported with each transport.
In the afternoon we will drive to airport for our flight back.
We are trying to cram as much as possible over the 3 days as there is so much to see so there is likely to be changes to the above agenda
The tour price is £465 per person sharing a double/twin room (single supplement £65). Note - this does not include flights, which you will need to book yourselves (see below for instructions on this)
A deposit per person of £85 will be required by the end of October 2012
The tour price includes all meals, lunch boxes, luxury coach, guide and museum fees .
We will stay in the 4* Leonardo Royal Hotel Alexander Platz
The need to be booked separately by you. Do this now as the price will go up as the date draws near. Once booked, the flight costs are non-refundable.
OUTBOUND: We will be flying with Lufthansa on the 0905 flight LH3373 from Heathrow on Sunday 3rd March to Berlin Tegel. This lands at 11.55
RETURN: We will be flying back with Lufthansa from Berlin to Heathrow on Tuesday 5th March on the LH3376 which leaves at 17.50 from Berlin Tegel and arrives back at Heathrow at 18.45 on the Tuesday evening.
The return price for this flight, last booked on 30th August 2012 was £109 return. Book flights on www.lufthansa.com
Remember also that you will need to be covered by your own Travel Insurance.
With Leonardo Royal hotel Alexander Platz, 4* plus
Sharing a dbl room or twin room, £465.00 – Not including cost of flights
Single supplement £65 – A deposit of £85 per person will also be required by the end of October 2012
Memories are forever