Tuesday, December 4, 2012

First Jewish Cemetery - Große Hamburger Straße

In the big number of berlin's cemeteries, this small one is very old and places in a central area, just behind Hackescher Markt and not far from the Neue Synagogue. It's considered the first jewish cemetery from the end of 1600, used till the end of 1800 from a jewish community who decides to settle in Berlin and was including tombs of important personalities (of which just the one from Moses Mendelssohn is still here).

Since 1844 together with the cemetery, it was a nursing home, left beside the boys' elementary school. Both buildings have been converted in a prison in 1942 as a "Jewish camp" from the Gestapo with grilles and headlights. In 1943 the SS men devastated it, smashing grave stones.

In April 1945, the area was a mass grave of fallen soldiers and civilians killed in the bombing.
Probably 3000 war victims - of which about 2000 are known by name - now rest buried here beside estimated 3,000 Jewish dead.

In 1985, at the entrance of the cemetery, there's a memorial sculpture "Jewish Victims of Fascism" by sculptor Will Lammert erected, which was originally created in 1957 for the memorial in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. It is around 13 people sculptures were cast in bronze and grouped. Due to several attacks, the monument is now guarded at times..




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