On our last night in Berlin we decided to head down the Oranienburger Strasse not too far from our Mitte base. I knew it had been the heart of the old Jewish settlement in Berlin back in the 19th and 20th centuries and that amongst the hub of restaurants, clubs and bars were some memorials of the past.
We decided to walk from our hotel by the Spree River (which took us about 20 minutes or so). So far the street seemed fairly unremarkable and we were debating which restaurant to go into when we came across the “New Synagogue” . Originally built to serve the growing Jewish population coming from the east into Berlin in the mid 19th century, it has been restored in recent years and has a poignant inscription on the front.
The translation (by me) is as follows:
“This synagogue is 100 years old and was set on fire by the Nazis on 9th November 1938 in Kristallnacht.
During World War 2 (1939 – 1945) it was destroyed in 1943 through bombing attacks.
The front of this House of God should remain for all time a place of reminder and remembrance.
Jewish Community of Greater Berlin – The Board
Jewish services are once again held in the New Synagogue. Most of the building, however, houses offices and a museum.
We felt it fitting to go into the next door building, Cafe Orange, for our dinner. Situated in a lovely old building, Cafe Orange took us back into Berlin’s pre war heyday with jazz music accompanying our meal in the background and posters of the original cafe decorating the walls (with faded ochre paintwork).
It was a wonderfully relaxing meal and a great way to spend our last evening in Berlin. We’d been walking all day though so decided to catch a tram back to our hotel (they trundle up and down Oranienburger Strasse linking Hackescher Markt with Friedrichstrasse).
One slight word of caution – Oranienburger Strasse is probably not the best place to take young children or anyone easily shocked out at night, as it is one of the centres of Berlin’s perfectly legal red light trade. You may need to explain why a number of ladies are standing on street corners wearing thigh high PVC leather black boots! We felt, however, perfectly safe – just exercise the usual safety precautions that you would do anywhere if out at night.
The journey back on the tram was a chance to sit back and enjoy the night lights of Berlin. We’ll certainly be coming back again at some point to this wonderful and vibrant city!
Copyright © 2017 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved