Brandenburg Gate

The Germany Close Up group pauses by the Binnenalster for a quick photo before continuing on the tour. 
The group’s walking tour, titled “Don’t Trust the Green Grass,” highlights the many open, grassy spaces in the city that appear unused and used to be important sites for Jewish Berliners. Visible in the green space right next to our hotel was the foundation of the first synagogue in Berlin. In this photo, the group visits what appears to be a lovely green park tucked away, but as visitors continue down the path, they see the headstone of philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, which remains standing in a lonely corner of the space. Closed in 1827, the cemetery was destroyed and desecrated by the Nazis in 1943. A group of us paused to say Kaddish to remember those who were buried here. 
The group poses in front of the Bundestag, the lower Parliament in Germany’s bicameral system. We had the chance to meet with the staffer of a member of Parliament who talked to us about the currently debated topics and answered our questions about the presence of right wing extremism in those debates. Later, we went to the Federal Foreign Office, where we met with the Deputy Special Representative for Relations with Jewish Organizations. We were able to gain some insight into the ways the federal government approaches and supports the Jewish community in Germany and represents their interests abroad.