Between the Lines
The Jewish Museum Berlin
The design of the Jewish Museum engenders a fundamental rethinking of architecture. The museum exhibits the social, political and cultural history of Jews in Berlin from the 4th Century to the present. The new extension is connected to the Baroque building via underground axial roads. The longest one leads to the Stair of Continuity and to the Museum itself; the second leads to the Garden of Exile and Emigration and the third axis leads to the dead end of the Holocaust Void. The displacement of the spirit is made visible through the straight line of the Void which cuts the ensemble as a whole, connecting the museum exhibition spaces to each other via bridges. The Void is the impenetrable emptiness across which the absence of Berlin's Jewish citizens is made apparent to the visitor.
Cutting through the form of the Jewish Museum is a Void, a straight line whose impenetrability forms the central focus around which the exhibitions are organized. In order to cross from one space of the Museum to the other, the visitors traverse sixty bridges which open into the Void space; the embodiment of absence.
With its special emphasis on the Jewish dimension of Berlin's history, this building gives voice to a common fate - to the contradictions of the ordered and disordered, the chosen and not chosen, the vocal and silent. This Museum is not only a response to a particular program, but an emblem of Hope. Daniel Libeskind