It was once the largest synagogue in Germany, the testimony of the presence of a large Jewish community, and a symbol of pride of the Berlin Jews.
Today the Neue Synagoge (New Synagogue) on Oranienburgerstrasse in the Mitte district is one of the key places of the Jewish world in the city, the sign of the rebirth of the city’s Jewish life in the neighborhood. After a dark and painful past, the shrine where Einstein used to play locally violin, is finally back to shine and is now one of the new symbols of Berlin. The magnificent temple Moorish-looking (an explicit reference to the “golden” Hispanic-Jew Middle Ages and the ability of Jews to integrate into every social environment), is quick to catch the eye. The magnificent green and gold cupola visible from far away, the oriental decorations, the narrow façade flanked by two towers topped with golden domes give it beauty and refinement.
The synagogue after the tragic Kristallnacht
The sacred building was built between 1859 and 1866 on the project of the Berlin architect Knoblauch and could accommodate up to 3,200 faithful. On November 9, 1938, during the terrible Kristallnacht, despite the heroic intervention of a local superintendent of police who prevented the fire from the SS, the synagogue was desecrated and severely damaged by the Nazis. In 1940 it was requisitioned and converted into stock. 1943 is the year of the sad ending: Allied bombs hit her repeatedly. Of the beautiful architectural building remains only the external facade.
On the Berlin, the sky shines again the green dome of the Synagogue
After the war, the synagogue was abandoned to his fate of decadence, sad and silent monument to the memory. In 1988, the 50th anniversary of Kristallnacht began the long reconstruction completed in 1995. The renovation work included only parts of the building (dome and the front); a glass structure protecting the ruins of the synagogue and a path of stones on the ground, sketches the original size. During the restoration were revealed some objects, including a Torah roll and a perpetual lamp, properly exposed.
Since the reopening, the New Synagogue has once again become a place of meeting, study, and prayer. Inside there is a place for prayer (with no distinction between men and women), an exhibition space dedicated to the history of the synagogue and of the neighborhood, and a valuable center of meetings – Centrum Judaicum – that through documents and photographs describes the life of Berlin Jews. From the top of the magnificent dome, you can enjoy a beautiful view over the rooftops of the neighborhood.
Opening hours: Sat – Thu (10.00 AM – 06.00 PM), Fri (10.00 AM – 03.00 PM)
Admission: 5 EUR (adults), 4 EUR (reduced)
How to reach: Metro Berlin Oranienburger Straße (S1, S25)
Address: Oranienburger Str. 28-30, 10117 Berlin