Jewish Berlin with John Owen - Context Travel

Jewish Berlin with John Owen


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Jews first arrived in medieval Berlin in the 13th century, when the city was still a provincial town along the swampy lands of the river Spree. Led by a local historian, this conversation explores the triumphs and sorrows of Jewish thinkers, artists, public figures, and common people who have long called this Berlin home.

We will explore Jewish presence in Berlin, discussing important historical moments before, during, and after the Nazi era. Over the course of several hundred years, Berlin went from having a virtually non-existent Jewish population to being one of the most important centers of Jewish life in Europe before following a deeply antisemitic path around the end of World War One. We will discuss this extraordinary historical change as well as important figures who shaped Berlin's Jewish community from Moses Mendelssohn to Leo Baeck. We will then ask how their influence and this history continues to impact the Jewish community of Berlin today.

Led by historian John Owen, this interactive seminar will leave you with profound insight into what it was and what it is to be Jewish in Berlin, and the resilience of this community.

John studied History and German at the University of Oxford, eventually specializing in German-Jewish history and the history of the Third Reich. He has been coming to Berlin since he was a teenager and moved to the city permanently a couple of years ago. The tangibility of history, especially that of the twentieth century, never ceases to thrill him in Berlin.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.