For many Jewish people, Berlin would seem an unlikely tourist destination. While it was the HQ for all things Hitler and his Nazi Party that was then and this is now. Berlin then was a real no, no for Jews, Berlin now is really a yes, yes, yes.
Sixy years after the end of World War Two, and 16 years after the fall of the The Wall, Berlin really is an excellent place for all Jews to visit and to absorb the wonderful Berlin experience.
And with Berlin being served by many low-cost airlines in Europe, it's a affordable city to fly to and spend time in, so there's no excuse for not going there and enjoying yourself.
The essential Jewish stuff to do:
First visit should be to the Jewish Museum. It offers a fascinating look at the history of Jewish life and culture in Germany over the past two millennia, plus an area that covers the Holocaust in compelling, unsentimental fashion. There's even a section devoted to Jewish lifecycle with plenty of information (and maybe too much information) on the tools of the trade for doing a Bris - ouch! Spend a couple of hours there.
Top Tip: If you’re looking for a kosher meal stop by the museum restaurant, which is not kosher but can provide kosher meals on request.
Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
Tel: 030 25993 300
If you are looking to get into the party mood and maybe a bit shika, then a bar dedicated to world famous Jewish film director Billy Wilder is the place to go to. Billy Wilder's is located in the popular Potsdamer Platz and next door to Berlin's Film Museum. It serves an amazing range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. And like most bars in Berlin it’s open until the small hours.
Top Tip: Can’t find the cocktail of your choice on the menu? Ask the staff if they’ll make it for you – chances are they will. Plus, go during happy hour and blue hour for cheap cocktails.
Address: Im Filmhaus Potsdamer Platz, Potsdamerstrasse 2, 10785, Berlin
Want something to munch on? Then a Berlin bagel is a great treat. The perfect antidote to those late nights in the Berlin bars, kosher café Salomon Bagels has a variety of flavours, from sesame, poppy and onion to cinnamon raisin, blueberry, thyme and chocolate. They also do a range of bagel sandwiches, all made to order.
Top Tip: All the bagels are good but we particularly recommend the chocolate.
Address: Joachimstaler Straße 13 10719 Berlin, and Alte Potsdamer Strasse 7,10785 Berlin
Tel: 030 252 976 26
Other great things to do:
Brandenburg Gate: When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the gate was a focal point for the people and symbolised freedom from communism. Located on the Pariser Platz it was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II as a sign of peace and took three years to build being completed in 1791.
Top Tip: Take a picture of yourself in front of it.
Visit Berlin Zoo. With around 14,000 animals, this is one of the biggest and most impressive zoos in Europe. The adjacent aquarium, featuring hundreds of species of fish, reptiles and insects, is also a must-see. And don’t forget the petting zoo, where very tame sheep, goats and other animals mingle with the human visitors – as much fun for grown-ups as it is for kids!
Top Tip: Budget to spend at least half a day here – it is so huge you will need it to see everything.
Address: Hardenbergplatz 8 or Budapester Strasse 34 (there are two entrances)
Tel: 030 25 40 10
Go shopping at the Ka De We. Kaufhaus Des Westens, more commonly known by the shortened version of its name, is the second largest department store in Europe (only Harrods in London is bigger), selling everything from clothes and household goods to stationery, toys and souvenirs. The quickest way to travel is in one of the glass-panelled lifts which give a superb view of the store as they whiz up and down.
Top Tip: Do not miss the gigantic food hall, which sells almost every type of food and drink you could possibly wish for, as well as housing several eating places.
Address: Tauentzienstr. 21-24 10789 Berlin
Tel: 030 21 210