Jewish Culture in Poland
DAY 1, WARSAW
Airport transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 2, JEWISH WARSAW
Guided tour of Warsaw. The capital of Poland was severely damaged during the Second World War and most of the architecture represents the post-war period. Our tour starts in the Old Town (since 1980 on UNESCO list as “an exceptional example of the comprehensive reconstruction of a city that had been deliberately and totally destroyed”).
Then we will proceed to Grzybowski Square, where we will see the last street of the ghetto and Nożyk Synagogue. After that we will get close to the remaining fragment of Ghetto Wall and we will visit the place where a pedestrian bridge above the crossing of Chłodna Street and Żelazna Street was situated. Nowadays, this place of contrasts is an incredible conglomerate de various historical periods. Then we will go to the recently opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews and the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes; after that we will visit Miła Street number 18 where we will find the bunker of Anielewicz (the commander of the ghetto uprising) and Umschlagplatz. We will end our tour walking along what is today a ghost street, former Nalewki Street, until we reach Bankowy Square, where the biggest synagogue in Warsaw was situated. Overnight in Warsaw.
DAY 3, ŁÓDŹ – WARSAW
Excursion to Łódź – an old centre of textile industry in Poland, which after the German invasion in 1939 was renamed Litzmannstadt. Before the Second World War Łódź was an example of a multicultural and multinational city – constructed by Poles, Germans, Jews and Russians. The war changed it in a very cruel way, but the influence of these cultures can be noticed in the city even today.
The nazi authorities organized in Łódź one of the biggest ghettos in Poland, where aspproximatelt 200 000 Jews were closed. The city didn’t suffer a major destruction during the bombing raids, however, it lost nearly all its infrastructure (factories were confiscated by Germans and the machines were transported to Germany). We will also visit the Radegast railway station, where we will see a monument which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust (citizens of Łódź were transported from there to concentration camps) and a Jewish cemetery (the biggest in Poland, a very impressive place). Return to Warsaw. Overnight.
DAY 4, AUSCHWITZ - BIRKENAU
Private transfer to the railway station. A travel by train to Cracow (2 hours 20 minutes). Private transfer to the hotel.
Guided visit in Auschitz-Birkenau Museum (UNESCO). Located about 70 km from Krakow, this former Nazi concentration camp is one of the best known places of genocide in the world. About 1,3 million people lost their life there. Nowadays the preserved Memorial consists of two parts Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau. The guided tour lasts about 3,5 hours (a whole excursion – 6,5 hours).
Overnight in Cracow.
DAY 5, CRACOW
Walking tour of the Old Town (UNESCO)– discovering the treasures of the former capital of Poland. Starting with the Wawel hill with an impressive castle (which used to be the seat of the Polish kings) and the cathedral, you’ll follow the Royal Way to admire the beautiful tenement houses and churches and reach the Market Square – the largest medieval market place in Europe! Here we’ll stop for a while to listen to the bugle call played by a trumpeter from St. Mary’s Church tower, visit the church (with the famous wooden altar) and the Cloth Hall – a perfect place to buy some souvenirs from Krakow. During the tour you’ll also visit the university quarter with Collegium Maius – the oldest building of the Jagiellonian University.
Then we will cross the Vistula river in order to get to Płaszów – a site of memory, where a concentration camp was situated, and the Ghetto Heroes Square (the main square of the ghetto, where the Jews were selected to be transported to the concentration camp). No buildings in Płaszów have survived in Płaszów until nowadays, but we can see a large monuments which commemorates the victims. At the end of the tour we will visit the Schindler’s Factory – one of the most interesting museums in Krakow. The Museum is housing an exhibition called Kraków under Nazi Occupation 1939–1945, which is a story about Krakow and its inhabitants, both Polish and Jewish, during World War 2nd. It’s possible also to visit the office of the owner of the factory – Oscar Schindler, who saved the lives of over a thousand people. Overnight in Cracow.
DAY 6, ŁAŃCUT, LEŻAJSK, KRAŚNIK
Departure for Lublin. On a way we will stop in three places related to Jewish history: Łańcut, Leżajsk and Kraśnik. The synagogue in Łańcut is a rare example of a Baroque four-pillar synagogue built in 1761 and decorated with paintings representing the traditional Jewish subjects. In Leżajsk we can find an old Jewish cemetery, where Elimelech Weisblum (one of the initiators of the Chasidic movement) was buried. When it comes to Kraśnik, it is known for an unusual double synagogue. Overnight in Lublin.
DAY 7, LUBLIN
Walking tour of Lublin. This city used to be an important centre of Polish Jews, where their culture, commerce and crafts flourished especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. Walking through the city, we can find plaques and buildings associated with some well-known Jewish personalities, like Jaakow Icchak Horowic (disciple of Elimelech Weisblum), Icchok Lejb Perec, Anna Langfus or the Żytomirscy family. In Lublin, there are two Jewish cemeteries, a building of Jeszywas Chachmej Lublin and the Chewra Nosim Synagogue (nowadays it functions as a memorial room of Jews from Lublin). A ghetto in Lublin was created in 1941 and the number of Jews in the city was 43 195. The ghetto was liquidated 1942 and 28 thousands of the citizens were transported to the extermination camp in Bełżec. Overnight in Lublin.
DAY 8, DEPARTURE - WARSAW