The Path to the Cemetery

The Judengang

The Judengang (literally "the Jewish path"), also called "communication", is a feature of the Jewish cemetery in Schönhauser Allee. The cemetery was inaugurated outside the city on June 26, 1827 with the burial of 53-year-old Sara Mayer. Until 1980, all the Jews who died in Berlin were buried here.

The main entrance to the Jewish cemetery on Schönhauser Allee before World War Two
The main entrance to the Jewish cemetery on Schönhauser Allee before World War Two

The Judengang runs from the Kollwitzplatz along the Jewish cemetery to Senefelderplatz and provides the access to the back entrance to the cemetery. According to one explanation, King Friedrich Wilhelm III ordered the use of this back entrance during the days when he rode to Schönhausen Castle. It allowed him to avoid crossing the path of the funeral procession. However this story cannot be proven and is not believed to be true anymore.

The Jewish cemetery in 1999
The Jewish cemetery in 1999

Another explanation may be found in a Halachic Rule (a Jewish tradition). This rule describes how Jewish cemeteries are oriented toward the East, and the main axis of the cemetery leads from the main gate to the Eastern gate. Today, other than on a few occasions, the Judengang stays closed.

Go further and cross Kollwitzstraße and Diedenhofer Straße. Turn left into Rykestraße and walk until you reach the synagogue, the second building on the left.