Following the traces of Jewish culture in Poland
For centuries, Poland had been the biggest center for the Jewish Diaspora in the world. Prior to 1939 there were about 3.5 million Jews in Poland, more than 10% of its inhabitants. The Second World War put an end to this rich culture and tradition.
All that remains are the unique examples of preserved Jewish presence found in cemeteries, miracle worker Rabbis, empty synagogues, ruins of the former shtetls and the carefully restored palaces of the Jewish bourgeoisie. There are also witnesses remembering times prior to the extermination.
Our literary guides are the famous writers, like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Icchak Lejbus Perec or Szymon An–ski.
On this tour you will find Lodz – the polish "promised land", Warsaw – the biggest European community before W.W.II, Lublin – "the Jewish Oxford", Zamosc – the city of Icchak Lejbus Perec – father of Roza Luxemburg and the Yiddish literature, Kracow with Kazimierz – the best preserved, former Jewish district in Europe and the shtetls - little Jewish villages prior to World War II.
We discover the symbols of the holocaust like the former Warsaw ghetto site, the concentration camps in Belzec, Majdanek and Auschwitz. We get to know the history of the Jewish resistance movement.
1st day: Warsaw – the biggest Jewish community of pre-war Europe. afternoon: Arrival to Okecie airport. Accommodation in a hotel. Visiting the Jewish cemetery at Okopowa Street – the most valuable monument of Jewish culture in Warsaw. Than the stop in Nozyk Synagogue founded in 1902 by Zalman Nozyk and his wife. Meeting with a representative from the Jewish community. Discussion about present situation of the Jewish community in Poland. evening: Performance at the Jewish Theatre. Since 2014, now you can visit excellent new Jewish Polin Museum which besides remembering Holocaust, celebrates centuries of Jewish life and culture in Poland.
2nd day: Extermination and the resistance movement. morning: Tour of an exhibition dedicated to Warsaw’s Jews at the Jewish Institute of History. Visit to the Ghetto territory, the memory place of Pawiak, The Ghetto Fighter's Memorial, a bunker at 18, Mila Street and Umschlagplatz. afternoon: Visit to an orphanage run by Janusz Korczak (Henryk Goldszmit) before the Second World War and the exhibition dedicated to him.
3rd day: Lodz – "the promised land". A whole day excursion to Lodz – the Polish Manchester – the city of Poles, Jews, Germans and Russians. The city was established on the wave of industrialization in the middle of the 19th century. Before the Second World War it was the second largest Jewish community in Europe (240 000 inhabitants). Visiting the palaces of Jewish manufactures, the Ghetto territory, the poverty districts and the biggest Jewish cemetery in Europe. Free time. Dinner and night in Warsaw.
4th day: Lublin – Jewish Oxford and the fortress of Chasidism morning: Departure to Lublin. On the way a short visit to Kazimierz Dolny – the picturesque shtetl on the Vistula River. City sightseeing tour of Lublin. The programme includes: the building of Jeshivah Chachwej Lubeni (Rabbinic Academy), the old Jewish cemetery, the Old Town lanes, the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. En exhibition about multicultural past of the city at the NN Theatre. afternoon: Visit to Majdanek concentration camp - the second largest Nazi camp of this type in Europe after Auschwitz, established in 1941. It is estimated that over 230 000 human lives were lost in Majdanek, including about 100 000 Jews. evening: Arrival to Zamosc. Dinner and night in a hotel.
5th day: Through the shtetls. morning: Tour of Zamosc called "Padova of the North". The renaissance Old Town is on the World’s Heritage List of Unesco. Visiting the synagogue. Departure to Lancut with stops at: Szczebrzeszyn - the baroque synagogue and one of the oldest and best preserved Jewish cemeteries Bilgoraj – the city of the young I.B.Singer – the remarkable writer in Yiddish language Tarnogrod – an old synagogue Lezajsk – ohel Elimelech – the famous miracle worker Tzaddik afternoon: Arrival to Lancut. Visiting of the four-pillared masonry synagogue in Lancut built around 1726 – one of the most beautiful and best preserved, provincial synagogues. A stop at the castle in Lancut - a magnificent aristocratic residence. Originally this early Baroque palace sited within fortifications was raised for Cracow Voivode Stanislaw Lubomirski in the years 1629-1641. The residence also comprises a winter garden, stables, coach-house and a little romantic castle in the park. evening: Dinner and night in Krakow.
6th day: Kracow morning: City sightseeing tour of Kracow. Program includes: the Main Market Square, the museum of the Jagiellonian University, St. Mary’s Church the Royal Route and the Wawel cathedral. afternoon: Free time. evening: A meeting with the representative of the Institute of Jewish History and Culture in Poland. Discussion about present and historic relationship between Poles and Jews. Night in Krakow.
7th day: What has left after "paradisus judeorum"? morning: Visit to Kazimierz District - historical centre of Kracow's Jewish religious and social life. A short trip through Szeroka Street, the old town square and synagogues. First you see the sites, which Steven Spielberg used for his location shots of the Oscar winning "Schindler's List". Then you visit the Old Synagogue, now the Judaic Department of the Historical Museum, the Remuh Synagogue and Remuh Cemetery - the most precious monuments of Jewish culture in Krakow. afternoon: Free time. evening: Dinner with a concert of klezmer music in a restaurant in Kazimierz.
8th day: The topography and logic of Auschwitz. morning: Visit to Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp. Established in 1940 as a concentration camp. It consisted of three sections: Auschwitz I, the main camp; Auschwitz II (Birkenau), an extermination camp; Auschwitz III (Monowitz), the I.G. Farben labor camp, also known as Buna. A projection of a documentary film. afternoon: Return to Krakow. Free time.
9th day: Departure.