Music United is back and ready to warm us up in the following winter days. The best way to learn about something is to experience it first hand and that is exactly what we did! Our long-time partners from Israel and Portugal joined us in Berlin on a 10 day journey to help us commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and make sure we never forget about one of the most gruesome crimes of mankind.
34 participants from three countries gathered and walked down the historic path, listening with an open mind and remembering with an open heart, empathizing with the ones who suffered and trying to reason with the perpetrators. The tour started in the Jewish Neighborhood so called „Scheunenviertel“ in the „Rosenstraße“ where we learned about the Jewish culture and Jewish life rooted deeply in Berlin. We were told about how this eventful history of Jewish citizens and their families shaped the past centuries of Berlin by a lovely tour guide Jörg, who has a 20-year carreer behind him. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm on the topic and witty details of his personal life in Berlin made the group forget about the cold and helped them have a clear image of the storyline and development of the Jewish community.
We visited the sight where the Old Synagogue used to be, where we heard the history of the Jewish people in Berlin from the Middle Ages through to the dark days of Hitler and the Nazis. In the vicinity of the ruins of the Synagogue we saw the monument „Frauenprotest 1943“ and listened to the inspiring story of how women defeated the Nazis, demanding to free their husbands, who were being held against their will. The path took us to the Museum of Otto Weidt, where we learned about the courageous acts of this man, his strength and resistance and strangely how paintbrushes can save lives. The group then explored the secret courtyards of Berlin named „Hackescher Höfe“, walked past the New Synagogue, visited the grave of Moses Mendelsohn in the old Jewish cemetery placed near the site of the city’s first Jewish retirement home. On our way out of the Jewish Neighborhood we stumbled upon various stepping stones honoring the ones who lost their lives. We passed by the Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral and walked down the famous street called „Unter den Linden“. The tour ended in front of the „Brandenburger Gate“.
After the morning tour, the group divided to have some free time enjoying the specific Berlin vibe, exploring and trying out „Currywurst“, „Brezel“ and the beer. In the afternoon we had a guided tour in the „Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe“. The group walked around and discussed their emotions and thoughts. After the second tour, we headed to the „Friedrichstadt-Palast“ where we had the opportunity to watch and enjoy the show „Arise“. It is safe to say that our participants have witnessed enough, experienced a variety of emotions and are now ready to express it all in their songs, because Music unites!
Text: Natalija Dermanov