A cry-for-help Jewish map

The website Jewish Places provides an interactive map showing Jewish institutions, places, historic personalities and themed walks. Users are also able to add new locations to this open-source project.

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Photo by Martin Hinze

You’d think that Jewish Places, a website with an interactive map showing Jewish institutions, places, historic personalities and themed walks, would be exactly what this city needs. The Jewish Museum, Europe’s largest and one of this city’s most popular attractions, would surely be the right organisation to deliver just that. So when we heard that they were launching their map in September, we had high expectations that, sadly, which turned out to be unmet. A quick zoom into the Germany-wide map reveals Berlin’s 2437 Stolpersteine, 58 synagogues, six cemeteries and fivestores, schools and cultural centres. Clearly someone’s spent (three!) years pillaging Wikipedia and Alemannia Judaica. But how to explain that some of the city’s best insider’s tips, such as Grunewald’s Gleis 17 (Berlin’s most moving deportation memorial), and Weißensee’s breathtakingly vast Jewish cemetery (Europe’s second largest) are missing, and even the painstakingly obvious case that is the Holocaust Memorial has not been added? Barbara Thiele, researcher at the Jewish Museum Berlin, explains that the site aims to demonstrate how Jew and Gentile have always lived side by side, while avoiding solely focusing on the Shoah. “We care about Jewish life, not its extinction,” Thiele points out. But do they care about users? Perhaps an English version (let alone a mobile-friendly one!) would help to make it accessible to expats and visitors, if that were their target audience. Our hunch: they don’t seem to know who they are directing it at, but are counting on eager contributors for their open-source project. With many entries ‘boasting’ a 50 to 70 percent completion mark (they literally inform you on how incomplete the information is), the cry for help is as plain as it is pressing. Forget about your frustrations, open an account and be the source this map needs!