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Classrooms Without Borders

A Program for Young Jewish Professionals in Cooperation with Classrooms Without Borders.

Established in October 2007, Germany Close Up – American Jews Meet Modern Germany is an initiative created to enrich transatlantic dialogue and provide Jewish American young emerging leaders up to 39 with an opportunity to experience modern Germany up close and personally. A generous government scholarship (a part of the ERP Special Assets of the German Ministry for Economics and Technology) covers more than two thirds of participation costs, which leaves a participation fee of $990 per person. At the same time, Germany Close Up is an independent body regarding the organization and contents of its programs. The purpose of the program is to allow participants to gain their own perspective on Germany through individual experience.

The trips are designed as an exposure to a myriad of facets that form modern Germany, with both the past and present in focus. Every GCU trip entails a number of activities, tours and meetings. The different groups will meet German opinion makers from academic life and from across political spectrum as well as representatives of grassroots movements and German peers. All the trips cover issues of Germany's terrible past and its efforts to deal with the memory of the Holocaust and the Nazi terror up to this very day. They will also consider its transformation in the last 60 years into a modern, reunified, and democratic country in the heart of the European Union, home to the third-fastest growing Jewish community worldwide. Observing Shabbat and keeping a kosher diet are both possible on all GCU trips.

The 10-day program between August 1st and 10th will enable participants to experience Germany, Berlin's multicultural life, visit former East Germany, the Jewish Museum in Berlin, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and experience other key historical sites and other cultural venues. They will meet with German opinion-makers, grass root movements, faculty and students of the Humboldt University Berlin, the Jewish community and Germans contemporaries. The role of Jewish voices in transatlantic relations will be explored as participants actively contribute to German-American dialogue.

The program will focus on the following topics:

  • Berlin and united Germany
  • The Holocaust and the Nazi Era including a visit to a former Concentration Camp
  • Transatlantic/German-American relations (incl. a meeting with officials of the German Federal Foreign Office)
  • Jewish Berlin, present and past (incl. the integration of new members of the Jewish community)
  • German-Israeli relations
  • A visit to Munich and Nuremberg

 

The Germany Close Up Fellowship:
An Open Program for Young Professionals in Cooperation with
Classrooms Without Borders
August 1th – 10th, 2016

Tentative Schedule (still subject to change)

Monday, August 4: Introduction

Individual Arrival in Berlin and Transfer to the Hotel
Hotel Augustinenhof
Auguststraße 82, 10117 Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 - 308 86 710
Fax: +49 (0)30 - 308 86 100
S Oranienburger Straße

- Program officially starts –

5:30 pm Q & A Session
With Dr. Dagmar Pruin, Program Director, and GCU staff

7:30 Welcome Dinner

Tuesday, August 5: Orientation in Berlin

Bring a head covering (optional for women)!

8:15 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

9:00 am Empty Space? Don't Trust the Green Grass!

A Walking Tour of Jewish Mitte
With Dr. Dagmar Pruin

Starting point: Hotel Alexander Plaza
Rosenstraße 1, 10178 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt / Bus 100, 200

12:00 pm Lunch
Cafe Orange
Oranienburger Straße 32, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / Tram M1+12

1:30 pm City Bus Tour
With Gerrit Book
Starting point: Monbijou Platz
Monbijou Platz, 10117 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt / Bus 100, 200

4:30 pm Visit to the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum Berlin covers two millennia of German Jewish history. World renowned architect Daniel Libeskind designed the museum, which opened to the public in 2001. The museum was one of the first buildings designed after German reunification.

The Jewish Museum Berlin
Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
U6 Kochstraße

Free time and dinner on your own

Wednesday, August 6: Remembrance & Beyond

8:45 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

10:00 am A Guided Tour of the Holocaust Memorial including a visit to the Information Center
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in the center of Berlin is Germany's central Holocaust memorial site, a place for remembrance and commemoration of the six million victims. The Memorial consists of the Field of Stelae designed by architect Peter Eisenman and the underground Information Center. It is maintained by a Federal Foundation.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin
S+U Brandenburger Tor / S+U Potsdamer Platz / Bus 100

12:00 pm Departure from Berlin / Lunchboxes will be provided

1:30 pm A Guided Tour of the Memorial and Museum at the Former Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen
This concentration camp was used primarily for political prisoners from 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in May 1945. Nazi-German concentration camps were different from extermination or death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau or Treblinka. Concentration camps were mostly intended as places of incarceration and forced labor for a variety of "enemies of the state" - the Nazi label for people they deemed undesirable. In the early years of the Shoah; Jews were primarily sent to concentration camps, but from 1942 onward they were mostly deported to extermination camps in Eastern Europe most located in occupied Poland. After World War II, when Oranienburg was in the Soviet Occupation Zone, the concentration camp was used as an NKVD special camp. The remaining buildings and grounds are now open to the public as a museum and memorial.

Memorial and Museum at the Former Concentration Camp
Sachsenhausen
Straße der Nationen 22, 16516 Oranienburg

4:00 pm Departure back to Berlin

5:00 pm Arrival in Berlin
Time on your own

6:00 pm Group Discussion

7:30 pm Dinner

Thursday, August 7: SOLA Day (ARSP summer camp)

Bring a head covering (optional for women)!

8:00 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

9:00 am Guided Tour of the Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
The Weißensee Cemetery is a Jewish cemetery located in the neighborhood of Weißensee in Berlin. It is the second largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. The cemetery covers approximately 42 ha (100 acres) and contains approximately 115,000 graves. The plot of land was bought by the Jewish community of Berlin. The old Jewish cemetery in Große Hamburger Straße, opened 1672, had reached its full capacity in 1827. The second cemetery in Schönhauser Allee, opened in the same year, reached its capacity in the 1880s, offering only few remaining gravesites in family ensembles mostly reserved for widows and widowers next to their earlier deceased spouses. Weißensee Cemetery was inaugurated in 1880. The surrounding walls and main building (where the archives are kept and the cemetery is administered) were constructed with a distinctive yellow brick. A second building (built in 1910) was destroyed during World War II.

Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
Herbert-Baum-Str. 45, 13088 Berlin

10:30 am Work Session I
With the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace German-Russian Youth Summer Camp (SOLA) at the Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
Herbert-Baum-Str. 45, 13088 Berlin

12:30 pm Lunch

1:30 pm Work Session II
With the Action Reconciliation Service for Peace German-Russian Youth Summer Camp (SOLA) at the Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
Jewish Cemetery Weißensee
Herbert-Baum-Str. 45, 13088 Berlin

2:30 pm Official end for work with SOLA, bus departure

3:30 pm Introduction to Action Reconciliation Service for Peace
With ...
Action Reconciliation Service for Peace (ARSP) was founded in 1958 by German Protestant Christians as a sign of peace and atonement following the Shoah and the Second World War. Since then, the organization has been commited towards working towards these aims, in particular through work fighting racism, discrimination, and social exclusion. Today, these aims are continued and realized through the long-term international peace service program. Every year around 180 volunteers, mostly aged between nineteen and twenty five, take part in a yearlong placement in one of thirteen different countries where they work on a variety of educational, historical, political and social projects.

Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste e.V.
Conference Room
Auguststraße 80, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / Tram M1+12

4:30 pm Panel Discussion: Jewish Life in Modern Germany

7:00 pm Dinner with SOLA participants

Friday, August 8: Political Germany in a Nutshell

Formal dress code required – Please be sure to bring your passport

8:30 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

9:00 am Meeting with a representative of the Israeli Embassy

11:00 am Meeting with a representative of the German Federal Foreign Office

1:00 pm Lunch on your own

2:30 pm Meeting with a Member of the German Federal Parliament

Free time

7:00 pm Services (optional)

Synagoge Fraenkelufer Fraenkelufer 10, 10999 Berlin
U8 Kottbusser Tor

8:00 pm Dinner with the Congregation
Synagoge Fraenkelufer Fraenkelufer 10, 10999 Berlin
U8 Kottbusser Tor

8:29 pm Time for candle lighting

Saturday, August 9: Shabbat (optional)

10:00 am Services (optional)
Synagoge Oranienburger Straße
Oranienburger Straße 28-30, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / M1+12

11:00 am A Guided Tour of the Picture Gallery
The Gemäldegalerie is an art museum in Berlin, Germany, and the museum where the main selection of paintings belonging to the Berlin State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) is displayed. It holds one of the world's leading collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 18th centuries. Its collection includes masterpieces from such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach, Hans Holbein, Rogier van der Weyden, Jan van Eyck, Raphael, Titian, Caravaggio, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt and Johannes Vermeer. It was first opened in 1830, and the current building was completed in 1998. It is located in the Kulturforum museum district west of Potsdamer Platz.

Gemäldegalerie
Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin
S+U Potsdamer Platz / Bus M48 + 200

Lunch boxes will be provided

11:45 am Departure to Potsdam

1:00 pm A Walking Tour of Potsdam
Potsdam was historically a centre of European immigration. Its religious tolerance attracted people from France, Russia, the Netherlands and Bohemia. This is still visible in the culture and architecture of the city. An Old Market Square is Potsdam's historical centre. For three centuries this was the site of the City Palace, a royal palace built in 1662. The palace was severely damaged by bombing in 1945 and demolished in 1961 by the Communist authorities. In 2002 the Gate of Fortune was rebuilt in its original historic position, which marks the first step in the reconstruction of the palace. The most popular attraction in Potsdam is Sanssouci Park, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. The plan to build a Potsdam synagogue is another sign of the renaissance of Jewish culture in Germany.
Starting point: Church to Saint Nikolai on the Old Market Square
Am Alten Markt, 14467 Potsdam

Free time and dinner on your own

9:47 pm Time for Havdalah

Sunday, August 10: Jewish Timelines

9:30 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

10:00 am Panel Discussion: History and Memory
Centrum Judaicum – Seminar Room
Oranienburger Straße 28-30, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / Tram M1+12

12:00 pm Lunch on your own

2:00 pm Panel: Holocaust Education in German Schools Today
With Nadine Hoffmann
Centrum Judaicum – Seminar Room
Oranienburger Straße 28-30, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / Tram M1+12

Coffee Break

4:00 pm A Panel Discussion: Initiatives against Antisemitism and Right Wing Extremism
With representatives from (KIgA) and (MBR)
Starting in 2001, the Mobile Counseling Team against Right-wing Extremism (MBR – Mobile Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus in Berlin) has been offering counseling and support to anyone in Berlin willing or needing to become active against right-wing extremism, racism and antisemitism. In the five years of the MBR's existence, typical client groups have been youth groups (especially those being targeted by right-wing violence and dominance), citizen's action groups, NGOs, teachers, social workers, as well as civic authorities, and politicians on the municipal and federal state levels. The purpose and long-term goal of the MBR's work is to foster a democratic culture, i.e. practice for everyday life. This concept of "democratic culture" is based on the ideal of human rights and equality. It is a demanding concept, as it requires taking a position, establishing a lively culture of debate, and the personal willingness to take up action. Such democratic culture is aimed at handling conflicts in a non-discriminatory, non-accusatory way.
The Kreuzberg Initiative against Antisemitism is a small organization located in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin. Today, the neighborhood is mainly populated by Muslims, immigrants of Kurdish, Turkish and Asiatic origin, as well as Palestinians who have immigrated to Germany. The organization was founded after a long series of antisemitic attacks around the world. It exists with the assistance of various government donations, as well as donations from various organizations that aim to reinforce the activities of the organization.

Centrum Judaicum – Seminar Room
Oranienburger Straße 28-30, 10117 Berlin
U6 Oranienburger Tor / S Oranienburger Straße / Tram M1+12

Free time and dinner on your own

Monday, August 11: Worms – the Cradle of Ashkenaz

6:30 am Meet in the hotel lobby with overnight bag

7:34 am Departure to Mannheim from Berlin Hbf

12:27 pm Arrival in Mannheim and transfer to Worms by bus
Lunch boxes will be provided

1:30 pm A Walking Tour of Jewish Worms
Including a Visit to the Rashi House and the oldest Jewish Cemetery in Europe
Worms: Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is one of the major sites where the events of the ancient German Nibelungenlied took place. The city is known as a former center for Judaism. The Jewish community was established in the late 10th century, the first synagogue was erected in 1034. The Jewish Cemetery in Worms, dating from the 11th century, is believed to be the oldest in Europe. The Rashi Shul, a synagogue dating from 1175 and carefully reconstructed after its desecration on Kristallnacht is the oldest in Germany. At the Rabbinical Synod held at Worms in the eleventh century, rabbis for the first time explicitly prohibited polygamy.
Meeting point: Wormser Dom, Südportal
Domplatz, 67547 Worms oder:

The Jewish Museum at the Rashi-Haus in Worms Hintere Judengasse 6, 67547 Worms

5:00 pm Departure to Heidelberg and check in at the hotel

7:30 pm Dinner with local guests

Tuesday, August 12: Heidelberg

9:15 am Meet in the hotel lobby ready for departure

10:00 am A Walking Tour of Heidelberg, including a visit to the Castle
Heidelberg is a city of approximately 145,000 inhabitants situated in the South-West of Germany. It is well known for being one of the world's oldest and most unique university towns, with a university that has influenced the city's character for centuries. Because of its beauty and picturesque scenery it was one of the better known centers of German romanticism and is still one of Germany's finest tourist attractions.

Starting point: Neckarmünzplatz
Neckarmünzgasse, 69117 Heidelberg

1:00 pm Lunch on your own

Time on your own

4:46 pm Train Departure to Frankfurt

5:40 pm Arrival in Frankfurt followed by check in to the hotel

7:30 pm Dinner

Wednesday, August 13: Frankfurt am Main

8:30 am Meet in hotel lobby, ready for departure

9:00 am A Walking Tour of Frankfurt

Frankfurt am Main, commonly known as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hessia and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2012 population of 687,775. The city is at the centre of the larger Frankfurt Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region which is Germany's second-largest metropolitan region. Since the enlargement of the European Union in 2013, the geographic centre of the EU is about 40 km (25 mi) east of Frankfurt. The city is the largest financial centre in continental Europe and ranks among the world's leading financial centres. It is home to the European Central Bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and several large
commercial banks. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange is one of the world's largest stock exchanges by market capitalization and accounts for over 90 percent of the turnover in the German market. In 2010, 63 national and 152 international banks had their registered offices in Frankfurt, including the headquarters of the major German banks.

11:00 am Free Time and Lunch on your own

2:00 pm A Visit and Guided Tour of the Jewish Museum Untermainkai 14, 60311 Frankfurt am Main

6:00 pm Concluding Discussion

8:00 pm Concluding Dinner

Thursday, August 14: Day of Individual Departure

Have a safe trip home!

What our participants have to say...

I thought the Germany Up Close trip was an extraordinary experience. It has helped me to understand why the Holocaust occurred and how much work we all still need to do to prevent genocide.

Joshua Frank
Germany Close Up

I approached this visit as one of artistic inquiry, specifically pertaining to Berlin's approach to memorializing a vast, overwhelming epoch. How does one turn something intangible into concrete and meaningful art without undermining the significance of the subject? I took away an unforgettable lesson in German humanity: culture, hospitality, struggle and triumph. I also know myself better as a Jew.

Sarah Rubin / Teacher / Shadyside Academy
Germany Close Up