Jewish Berlin | Private Tour With Van
Persecuted, expelled, almost annihilated – now resurrected and flourishing. The story of Berlin’s Jewish community did not begin, nor end, with Nazi Germany.
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- Tour Length Three Hours
- Group Size Small Group
Did you know that thousands upon thousands of young Israeli and American Jews have made a home for themselves in Berlin in recent years?
If that sounds surprising to you, we’d like to invite you for a tour that considers the history of Jewish life in Berlin in light of and beyond the Shoa; a history that now amounts to nearly 700 years.
We’ll consider antisemitism and assimilation as much as we will look at Jewish life in the affirmative: the fact that Berlin boasted one of the most diverse and vibrant Jewish communities in the world, whose members gained worldwide renown in science, arts, politics, and theology.
In the end, we hope you’ll agree that what was true in the 1920s is once again true today: that Berlin culture is inextricably connected to Jewish life in the city.
(All of our private tours are custom tailored to our clients needs and wishes and can include Berlin & Potsdam sights decided in advance or spontaneously organised on the day of the tour. If you have any specific requests for your tour, regarding sights and content, do not hesitate to ask – you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Within the three-hours of this private Jewish Berlin tour you will explore the traces of Jewish life – both past and present – in the German capital. Largely focusing on the former Jewish Quarter of Berlin – the Spandauer Vorstadt & Scheunenviertel Barn District – one of the most interesting areas of the city, defined by its regeneration and subtle acknowledgement of the tragedies, triumphs and everyday realities of its fascinating history.
Starting at the instantly recognisable Moorish-style Neue Synagoge, that along with the nearby Addas Israel Orthodox Community Synagoge, provides the spiritual heart of the quarter, you will meanders through the artistic courtyards of this now ressurgent – one-time impoverished – area of the city that ended up largely neglected in the Cold War East of Berlin.
Not far from the Synagoge is the Grosse Hamburger Strasse, known locally as the Street of Tolerance and Death – not only is there a Protestant Church and a Catholic Hospital – but this is where the area’s Jewish community began to flourish in the 1700s with the arrival of Austrian Jewish refugees. The introduction of the Grosse Hamburger Strasse Cemetery (the final resting place of the famous Jewish enlightenment philosopher Moses Mendelsohn), a boy’s high school (now the Moses Mendelsohn Gymnasium) and the first Jewish retirement home in Berlin – that would later tragically serve as the main deportation point for Jewish Berliners in the area during the Nazi period – all followed the arrival of this Austrian community.
The tributes and memorial spread across the area; in the form of Stolperstein brass plaques to be found outside former Jewish resident’s homes and artistic works such as the Abandoned Room and Christian Boltanski’s Missing House – are an essential part of the tour. As is the former home of the world’s first female Rabbi – Regina Jonas.
Heading to the nearby Hackescher Markt, the tour continues to the Otto Weidt Blindenwerkstatt & the Anne Frank Centre – to examine how Jewish Berliners were helped by other citizens of the city during the Third Reich period. This theme continues with the site of the Rosenstrasse protests in 1943 and the Judenstrasse home of Berlin’s medieval Jewish community – persecuted and expelled in the 1500s.
Time permitting, the tour can also extend into West Berlin, via the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe to cover the areas of the city populated by Berlin’s Russian Jewish community in the late 19th/early 20th century – including the Fasanenstrasse Synagoge – or on the opposite side of the city is the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery – the largest of its kind in Europe.
Special Tour Inclusions:
As this tour includes private transportation, it is possible that the following sites could also be included in the itinerary (on request and time permitting – extention of the tour duration may be required):
- Entrance to the Neue Synagoge
- Entrance to the Jewish Museum
- Visit to the Gleis 17 Grunewald Deportation Station Memorial
- Visit to the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery
- Three-hour Jewish Berlin private tour accompanied by one of our expert local guides (English language)
- Dedicated driver and transportation (premium quality German vehicle) including fuel costs & parking fees
- Collection from hotel/accommodation or tour start from central landmark (such as TV Tower/Brandenburg Gate)
- Hotel/accommodation drop-off at end of tour
- Includes time for coffee/snack break (not included in price)
- Includes time for photo breaks
- Price includes VAT (19%)
- Price includes Booking Fee
- Price includes Mandatory German Tour Insurance
- This tour does not include food/drink (unless requested)
- This tour does not include entrance fees (can be arranged)
- Guide/driver gratuities
In the event you need to cancel your booking with us, we ask for at least two weeks hours notice. Tours booked within two weeks of the tour date are not eligible for cancellation.
We will refund the total amount (minus any transaction fees) if we receive an email cancellation request at least two weeks before the tour/s. Cancellations made less than two weeks before the tour date are not eligible for refunds.
In order to guarantee the best guides and transportation for our tours, we have a two-week cancellation deadline that means that guides who are scheduled for tours are compensated for their time (often allocated to mean that they are not able to accept other work on the days we book them). We offer our commitment to our transportation suppliers in the same manner.
Our shorter tours (up to three & four hours) include time for a short coffee/snack break – our longer tours (5 hours and above) include time for a longer lunch break and also short coffee/snack break.
Some of our tours include public transportation tickets for up to five people in the total price, please check the tour descriptions on the tour pages for more information. If public transportation costs are not included in our tours descriptions but you would prefer to use transportation for the tour, we would be happy to arrange the particulars. Our car/van tours are all conducted with fully air-conditioned high-quality cars/vans (usually Mercedes Benz or Volkswagen).
They certainly are; although Berlin winters can be cold and we certainly recommend wrapping up. And don’t forget the sun lotion in the summer!
Berlin is a relatively flat city and the streets are easy to navigate. Despite being the German capital, Berlin is also not nearly as busy as other cities of a similar calibre. All this means that touring can be relatively stress-free. We strive to make Berlin accessible to everyone, all we ask you to bring is a healthy curiosity. If you have any special requests, don’t hesitate to ask.
Of course this depends on the time of the year – a hat and gloves in the winter, sunglasses in the summer. Please do check the weather before your trip, summers in Berlin can be rather hot (suntan lotion is a must) and the winters can be cold (don’t forget a coat). We always try to make sure our guests stay hydrated on tours, whether that’s coffee or tea, but a bottle of water is always a worthy travel companion.
We cater for guests of all ages and can tailor all our tours accordingly.
That depends on what sort of animal we are talking about. Dogs seem to love the fresh air and walking. Cats have a habit of wandering off on their own. Some of our guides are deathly afraid of snakes.
Our guides and drivers will always work hard for you and tipping is a great way of them receiving immediate feedback. Gratuities are completely discretionary but always gratefully received.
All of our guides are Berlin residents and have lived in the city for years, they are all well versed in letting their stomach lead the way to some of the best spots in the city. When touring in Berlin, feel free to quiz our guides about everything. If you need advice on where to stay or things to see/do before or after your tours please do send us an email. We are more than happy to help