Prague by Mskorpion, iStockA Tale of Two Cities, a Prague & Berlin Seminar

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Join us as we follow the trajectories of these great and beautiful cities, each in its time playing a unique role in Jewish life, and both succumbing to the great madness that almost led to the destruction of European Jewry. The seminar explores the ways that each city has dealt with its past, dealing also with political change and reintegrating into the surrounding societies: Berlin has become the symbolic phoenix of European Jewish life, while Prague allows us access to the precious legacy of central European Jewish life, ironically due to the Nazis' intention to create a Museum of the Extinct Jewish Race.

 

  • Day One: Wednesday
    PRAGUE: A WALKING INTRODUCTION

    2:30 p.m. Meet with your Melton educator and fellow group members to begin the program.

    Orientation to the program.

    Walking tour of the Old Town Square and its vicinity, a kaleidoscope of periods and styles: (how) were the Jews a part of this culture? 

    Welcoming dinner.

    Return to the hotel.

    Overnight: Prague


    Day Two: Thursday
    THE GLORY OF PRAGUE, GENERAL AND JEWISH

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Introduction to the day: The Crown, the Cross and the Jews.

    Transfer to the Strakhov Monastery for a special tour of their library, followed by a visit to the environs of the Hrad (Prague Castle).

    Overview of the City of 100 Spires and walk along the Golden Lane, with a study session on the way: Politics and Leadership: Between Nobles, Burghers and Jews.

    Walk through the Lesser Town and over the Charles Bridge crossing the Vltava River, once the most important connection between Prague Castle and the city's Old Town and adjacent areas

    Lunch on your own en route.

    Afternoon devoted to the Old Jewish Town (Yosefov):

    Introduction: The Fabric of Jewish Life Until the 19th century

    • Guided visit through the Altneu Shul
    • Explore the rest of the Old Ghetto and the Precious Legacy Exhibit at the Jewish Museum, encompassing the Old Cemetery, the Maisel, the Klausen and the Pinkas Synagogues.

    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

    (Optional): A Jew in K.'s Prague (walking exploration of Kafka’s World in Central Prague).

    Overnight: Prague


    Day Three: Friday
    MEMORY & CONTINUITY

    Breakfast at the hotel and introduction to the day: Twentieth Century Breakdown.

    Depart Prague and drive to Terezin.

    Visit Terezin, the town that was turned into the “model” ghetto and concentration camp. Visit the Historical Museum and the Art Exhibits, created by the artists who were prisoners of the camp, stop by the so-called Hidden Synagogue and the Crematorium. Conclude the visit with a special study session: What Makes For Heroism?

    Boxed lunch en route back to Prague.

    Meeting with a young leader of the Czech Jewish community.

    Shabbat Dinner, possibly with members of the community.

    Overnight: Prague


    Day Four: Saturday
    A PRAGUE SHABBAT

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Optional Shabbat morning services at a local synagogue.

    OR

    Morning at leisure to explore Prague on own.

    Lunch on own. 

    Afternoon walking tour.

    Bein Kodesh Lechol: light Shabbat Snack, study session and Havdalah.

    Overnight: Prague


    Day Five: Sunday
    FROM PRAGUE TO BERLIN

    Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

    Drive to Dresden, symbol of Germany in her defeat and of the price of war.

    Site visit and discussion: Victor Klemperer - A Jew, Not by Choice. 

    Boxed lunch together, in a park near Dresden's cathedral.

    Continue the drive to Berlin; upon arrival:

    • Visit Nikolaikirsche Platz for an overview of the story of the city and its Jewish community.
    • See Ephraim-Palais, home of the court Jew of Frederick the Great
    • Presentation alongside Lessing's home: Lessing and "Nathan the Wise" (Moses Mendelssohn).

    Check into the hotel.

    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Berlin


    Day Six: Monday
    JEWISH LIFE IN BERLIN

    Breakfast at the hotel and introduction: German Jews and Their Judaisms.

    Visit the Weissensee Jewish Cemetery, the second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe.

    Walk along Grosse Hamburger Strasse, once the center of Berlin Jewry.  

    Tour to Jewish sites in the neighborhood, including:

    • The Hackescher Markt
    • The Jewish Cemetery, including Moses Mendelsson's grave

    Break for lunch on own.

    Guided visit to the Jewish Museum of Berlin, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. One of the most conspicuous architectural landmarks in the city, it embodies remembrance, melancholy, and departure.

    Return to the hotel or remain in museum.

    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Berlin


    Day Seven: Tuesday
    FROM IMPERIAL TO NAZI BERLIN

    Breakfast at the hotel and introduction to the day: From Bismarck to Hitler; Models of Authoritarianism.

    The Fate of Books and People: Visit the Book Burning Memorial at Bebel Square, alongside Humboldt University.

    Stop at the Victory Column in the Tiergarten: Bismarck, Architect of Modern Germany, and his Jew, Bleichroder (brief discussion).

    Visit the 1936 Olympic Games stadium: Putting Symbols to Use.

    Break for lunch on own.

    Visit the "Places of Remembrance" Art in Public Space Memorial in the Bavarian Quarter, addressing the almost-forgotten history of this neighborhood, where Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt once lived.

    Visit the exhibition devoted to the residents of Schoneberg at the Municipal Hall: “We Are All Berliners!”

    Free to explore or return to the hotel.

    Overnight: Berlin


    Day Eight: Wednesday
    THE BEAST LET LOOSE: NAZI BERLIN

    Breakfast at the hotel and introduction to the morning: The Thousand Year Reich

    Drive to the Reich Ministry of Aviation and other Nazi-era buildings along Wilhelmstrasse.

    Visit the Topography of Terror Museum.

    Study Session: What to Remember? How to Remember?

    Visit the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the commemorative spots devoted to the Roma and Sinti, and to the Homosexuals.

    Break for lunch on own.

    BERLIN DIVIDED AND REUNITED

    Visit Brandenburg Gate

    Walls That Divided: Visit the Berlin Wall Museum and Memorial.

    Dinner on own and evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Berlin


    Day Nine: Thursday
    TAKING STOCK

    Breakfast at the hotel.

    Introduction to the day:Looking Back

    How Do We Educate? A special session with the educational staff of the Wannsee Conference Educational and Memorial Site.

    The Ongoing Construction of Memory: a visit to Gleis 17 (Track 17), the main deportation site for Berlin Jews during the Holocaust, located in Grunewald.

    Boxed lunch en route.

    Heart of the New Germany: The Reichstag and new Government Center.

    What Lessons do Germans Take from their Past? Meet with an organization involved in refugee assistance or co-existence dialogue or a scholar of contemporary Germany society.

    Group Session: What Lessons do WE Take from our Encounters?

    Farewell dinner.

    Overnight: Berlin


    Day Ten: Friday
    RETURN HOME or remain in Berlin for AJC Global Forum,  starting Sunday, June 14th.

    Breakfast at the hotel and check out as per individual schedules.

    Transfer on own to Berlin International Airport or continue with private travel plans or with the AJC pre-conference plans.

     


    Note: Itinerary subject to change. Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays locally observed in the destinations being visited.

     

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