Benjamin arrives in Germany from Lucca after 20 days of travel. He actually arrives in Verdun, which he says is “the commencement of Alamannia.” As is usual for Benjamin, he begins with describing the landscape of the place, which would be very convenient for people following this guide, as the geographical aspects would be their first impression. Germany, he says, is full of mountains and hills.
It seems that he already knows there will be many Jews in Germany because after his geographical description, he speaks of the many congregations that exist there, specifically on the river Rhine from Cologne to Ashkenaz, both situated on either end of the river spanning about a 15 day journey. He also mentions a full list of cities which have Jewish congregations including Metz, Treves, Coblenz, Andernach, Bonn, Cologne, Bingen, Munster, and Worms.
After this, there is a quotation that says that “Israel is dispersed in every land and he who does not further the gathering of Israel will not meet with Jews and I will gather them.” This appears to be one of the major purposes of Benjamin’s travels. He wants to be able to reunite the Jews. Benjamin writes highly of these congregations saying that they contain scholars and caring communities of people. At the end of his account of Germany, he mentions other German cities where Jews live, and writes of them in high regard as well.
This portion of writing on Germany brings about some new ideas and styles of writing for Benjamin. We get more of an idea of his purpose in his travels through the quote about bringing the Jews together, which also explains why his travel narrative is more of a guide. He clearly wants Jewish people to follow it in order to find larger Jewish communities.
The quotations that Benjamin includes are different from his usual style of writing and it is interesting that he hasn’t used quotations until this point in his writing. Not only does it reveal more of the purpose in his travels, but it also shows his passion for his religion. Up until this point, we know he is Jewish and we know he must be dedicated to his faith because of his travels, but these quotations show his knowledge and passion for Judaism and Jewish people.