Krakow – Kroke in Yiddish. Life and extermination of Polish Jews

Prior to the Second World War Krakow was the biggest Jewish community in Poland, where Jews constituted 65 000 inhabitants. The meaning of Krakow was particular for Jews of Eastern Europe. Kazimierz – the Jewish quarter – was one of the most important cultural and religious Jewish centres. Famous rabbis lived and worked here, one of them was Moses Isserles  "Remuh". His tomb is the pilgrimage place for Jews from all over the world. In the north of Krakow there were numerous orthodox shtetls. The Chassids lived in the east of Krakow . A small distance from Krakow is the biggest concentration camp set up by the Germans during the Second World War. More than 1 million people were murdered there. WWII  put an end to the Jewish  community in Poland. All that remains of the Jewish presence are synagogues and cemeteries in small towns,  Kazimierz - the best-preserved former Jewish district in Europe, the memorial places and people aware of the duty to preserve the memory of their Jewish co-inhabitants. 

Program: 

1st day: Arrival 

2nd day: Krakow  morning: City sightseeing tour of the Old Town (the Main Maket Square, St. Mary’s Church, the Jagiellonian University, the Royal Route, the Wawel Castle).  afternoon: Leisure time.  evening: Dinner with a concert of klezmer music in a restaurant in Kazimierz. 

3rd day: Krakow - continuing morning: "From Paradisus Judeorum…"- visit to Kazimierz District - historical centre of Krakow Jewish religious and social life. There you will admire the best-preserved synagogues and the examples of the pre-war Jewish architecture.  afternoon: "… to the extermination" – tour of the past ghetto site in Podgorze District with entrance to the remembrance museum - the Under the Eagle Pharmacy. The place was in the very heart of the Krakow ghetto for Jews during the Nazi occupation. The museum presents a permanent exhibition Krakow Ghetto and Plaszów Camp and organizes lectures for  school youth on the Holocaust in Krakow . There you see the sites, which Steven Spielberg used for his location shots of the Oscar winning "Schindler's List".  evening: Dinner in a hotel and leisure time.

4th day: Shtetl – following the traces of Jewish villages.  Whole day excursion to the past shtetls located in the North of Krakow . A trial to reconstruct the lives, structures and the customs of Eastern European Jews living in shtetls prior to W.W.II.  Route: Cracow - Dzialoszyce - Pinczow - Chmielnik - Szydlow – Checiny – Krakow .  evening: Return to Krakow . Dinner and leisure time. 

5th day: Auschwitz - topography and logic.  Whole day trip to Auschwitz.  morning: Visiting of the concentration camp in Auschwitz I called Stammlager.  afternoon: Visiting of Auschwitz II called Birkenau.  evening: Return to Krakow . Dinner and leisure time. 

6th day: Auschwitz - topography and logic – continuing Whole day trip to Auschwitz  morning: Option: visit to the archives department and meeting with the scientist from the museum or visit to the one of the educational centres and discussion about the current Jewish-Christian dialogue’s condition. Free time for individual visiting.  afternoon: Visit to Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue and the Jewish Centre in Auschwitz, where you see an exhibition and watch a documentary film about the Jewish community in Auschwitz before the Second World War.  evening: Return to Krakow . Dinner and leisure time.

7th day: Krakow  morning: Meeting at the Jewish Culture Centre in Kazimierz. A discussion about the current situation of the Jewish community in Poland and Polish-Jewish relationships.  afternoon: Leisure time.  evening: Dinner in one of the Old Town restaurants. 

8th day: Departure.