There is no denying the countless atrocities the Jews endured due to the Nazis but the many stories that abound of those heroic citizens who helped them give a silver lining to one of histories darkest periods. Otto Weidt who himself was blind owned a workshop for brush making. He had hired Jewish workers who were either blind or deaf. During the epitome of the Nazi reign, he had about 30 workers. He managed to forge their documents to protect them from deportation. Though he could only save a few, his bravery and compassion brought him many honors. Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt is set in his old workshop and tell his story. Managed by the Memorial to the German Resistance foundation, this simple repository with its archives and relics, is a wonderful reminder of courage and compassion.
19th-century architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel provided Berlin with many of its greatest buildings, including the magnificent Konzerthaus and the equally striking Altes Museum. The museum, which opened in 1830, was the first to be built on Museum Island. It now houses rotating special exhibitions and is home to part of the Antique Collection, a breathtaking collection of ancient Greek and Roman artifacts that were excavated by the famous German archaeologist Hildesheimer.
Located on the Lindenstraße, the Jewish Museum is the largest museum focusing on Jewish history in all of Europe. The original Jewish museum of Berlin was built in 1933, but was closed in the following decade by the Nazi regime. The Berlin government hosted an anonymous competition to design the new museum; famed architect Daniel Liebeskind won the competition with his jagged and zig-zagging building that was nicknamed "blitz." The museum was completed in 1999. Today, visitors to the museum can learn all about German-Jewish heritage, starting in the Medieval era and continuing into today's Jewish community.
Situated in the lovely Neuer Garten in Potsdam, Schloss Cecilienhof was built in 1913-17 as a residence for Crown Princess Cecilie. Although the Prussian royal family was deposed in 1918, Cecilienhof remained in the family's hands until the outbreak of the Second World War. While extremely pleasant, Cecilienhof's popularity is also due to its unique place in history. For it was here, in the heart of the Third Reich, that the four Allied powers met in July and August 1945 to determine the future of Europe. The negotiations culminated in the signature of the Potsdam Agreement which demilitarized Germany and divided the country into different sectors, a precursor of Germany's later division into East and West. Visitors can now view the delegates' chambers and the conference room—complete with an enormous round table made in Moscow especially for the event.
The Liebermann Villa is a wonderful museum that displays fantastic art by Max Liebermann. The museum provides guided tours to its visitors and also has a lovely cafe. The place has a permanent exhibition of 40 paintings on its upper floor which showcase the beauty of the villa and its gardens and the ground floor has the history of the Liebermann family.
Built on the site of Berlin's oldest church, the Nikolaikirche today is still the site of regular services, but also houses a museum highlighting its rich history, a tower which boasts some spectacular views, and fantastic acoustics, which are a boon when it hosts musical acts. This attraction is also worth a visit for its Medieval architecture and twin green spires.
Anne Frank Zentrum tells the story of its namesake protagonist. This repository through its multimedia displays showcase Anne Frank's life and her dairy. The impact of what happened decades ago, still resounds in this current time. The center is also an education facility to create awareness of racial prejudices and more.
The Knoblauchhaus is the oldest surviving house in Nikolaiviertel, which itself is the oldest surviving part of Berlin. The Knoblauchhaus was originally built between 1759 and 1761, but was reconstructed in the early 19th century. The interiors are furnished in traditional Biedermann style. The exhibition uses a collection of period items from the Knoblauch family to help document the history of Berlin from the 18th to the 20th century, a time of huge industrial development.
The building itself is worthy of being in a museum. Ludwig Hoffmann was the architect responsible for constructing the Markisches Museum in 1899-1908, and succeeded in creating an absolutely new kind of museum. This is no place for boring dust-covered relics. Instead, the visitor is presented with an intriguing mixture of objects which cover the history of architecture in Berlin and Germany. Glancing through the windows at the park and the romantic courtyard, the guest may feel far away from modern-day Berlin. Built in red brick with Gothic and Renaissance allusions, the museum is perfect for those wanting a taste of those darkly romantic German castles described in fairytale books. The small park behind the museum contains a bear cage where visitors can admire Berlin's symbol in real life.