Danish Jewish Museum Copenhagen Reviews
Very nice. Not a must-see but a pleasant experience Jul 15, 2016
Located in the heart of the tourist strip of ol' Copenhagen, this museum showcases the trials and tribulations of the Jewish - how they found refuge in Denmark before invasion, and how several then fled to neighbouring Sweden not knowing if they'll ever return.
The museum is broken into 2 bits: the permanent exhibit at the basement, and you walk outside to another hall that houses a temporary one. It's quiet, compact and very well displayed.
The trivia I found to be very interesting was that 99% of Danish Jews survived the holocaust - this has a good narrative on how they escaped from Germany to Denmark, how they enjoyed normal status in Denmark until the Germans invaded - at which time they were left scurrying for Sweden. The temp exhibit then shows the "after life" on returning after Germans left Denmark and the difficulties fitting in.
Part of the Denmark (Zealand) travel blog
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Aug 03, 2007
The Danish Jewish Museum is located within the grounds of Slotsholmen (where Christiansborg Slot is). The Jewish Museum is right next to the National Library, housed in the former Royal Navy Boat House. It opened quite recently, in 2004, I think. Daniel Libeskind designed the museum, which is shaped (as you walk through it) in the Hebrew letters of the word "Mitzvah", which means good deed. He designed the museum this way because the Danes did a good deed during World War II and saved almost all of the Danish Jews.
The Museum begins with two short films on continuous play. One is about Daniel Libeskind and designing the museum; the other is about the history of Jews in Denmark. The latter film in particular provides a good historical background and helps with understanding the rest of the museum.
The museum is entitled Space and Spaciousness: An Exhibition About Jews in Denmark. The museum itself describes the exhibit as follows: "For 400 years, Danish Jews have made their homes Denmark. They have made their mark on the country's culture and have themselves been coloured by their surroundings. The Danish and Jewish cultures are two separate spaces which both opened up to allow cohabitation and integration. Jewish life in Denmark also needed to be spacious in itself because although Jews are a small minority in Denmark, they comprise a wide variety of adherences and ways of life."
This permanent exhibit has five sections: Arrivals, Standpoints, Mitzvah, Traditions, and Promised Lands. After viewing the two movies the museum begins with Arrivals, showing the history of the Jews as they arrived from all across Europe to Denmark and the lives they created in this Scandinavian country.
Standpoints showcases the differences among the Jews who settled in Denmark, with the one common denominator among them being their Jewish identity. Mitzvah entails the saving of the approximately 7,000 Danish Jews from the Holocaust. Denmark was able to transport most of its Jewish population to Sweden (Malmo is just across the water from Copenhagen), and only a few hundred perished in the concentration camps.
Traditions displays some beautiful items through the past few centuries that are used during Jewish ritual. The items have descriptions to provide information for those visitors who do not know much about Judaism. or those people who do know what the various items are used for, seeing the wide assortment, and particularly the older pieces, is really nice. The last part is Promised Lands, which addresses the question of whether it is possible to make a home after centuries on the road, while at the same time recognizing that for most Danish Jews, Denmark is what they consider as their homeland.
All in all the museum does not take long to see. Even with viewing the entirety of both films, the museum takes at most an hour. If you are unfamiliar with the history of Denmark's Jewish population, visiting the museum is definitely worthwhile, as the history is quite complex compared to some of the other European states.
Part of the The Life of a PhD Student travel blog