Berlin, first take

I am having a great time on my Berlin trip, so far, for the  Louis Lewandowski Festival. Thursday night, we sang a concert at the Krankenhauskirche im Wuhlgarten. A substantial audience (in a small church) seemed to really enjoy the concert, and it was both fun and meaningful to sing. Here is a link to a song from that performance:

Saturday night, we gave our second concert at the Jewish Museum in Berlin. Not a huge audience, since all 8 choirs participating in the festival gave concerts in different venues, but we enjoyed it and the audience did, as well.

On Friday, we had a very interesting tour of Jewish Berlin. More precisely, it was a tour of formerly Jewish Berlin. Before the war, 170,000 Jews lived in the city of over 4 million. Today, 11,000 (?) Jews live in a city of 3.4 million.

We spent about an hour in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin, which survived the war unscathed. A documentary made about the cemetery, “In Heaven, Underground,” is reviewed here. I am looking forward to watching it, since a DVD was included in the package for all festival participants.

Here is the gravestone of the subject of our festival. The inscription is “Liebe macht das Lied unsterblich!” (Love makes the melody immortal!):

Louis Lewandowski gravestone

The prewar Jewish population was quite prominent and prosperous. We were impressed by the size of this memorial.

Large mausoleum

We happened upon the memorial to one of Berlin’s financially successful Jewish families. The Kempinski family owned a successful hotel. During our bus tour, we learned it was confiscated by the Nazis. That was sort of a running theme – here was a business, built by Jews, confiscated by the Nazis.

Kempinski grave

After our visit to the cemetery, we learned that the round metal plaque is actually hinged. If you open it, you can see a picture of Berthold Kempinski at his tomb. While images are discouraged or forbidden in Jewish cemeteries, Kempinski found a way around the prohibition!

More about Berlin, a fascinating city, in future posts.


One Response to “Berlin, first take”

  1. Phyllis Says:

    not everyone got the DVD, so if anyone would like to make a copy for those of us who didn’t get one, it would be much appreciated!

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