Poland: Holocaust Study Tour 2017

Poland: Holocaust Study Tour 2017 Travel with the Holocaust Center for Humanity June 25 – July 2, 2017* Register Now: HolocaustCenterSeattle.org *Cust...
Author: Charity Wright
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Poland: Holocaust Study Tour 2017 Travel with the Holocaust Center for Humanity June 25 – July 2, 2017* Register Now: HolocaustCenterSeattle.org *Custom extensions available

Open to all. Educators and general public welcome. The Holocaust Center for Humanity invites you to explore the history and culture of Poland. Come with us to the places important in the history of the Holocaust and enter into a dialogue with local witnesses, experts, and educators.

Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

Overview Daily Itinerary Day 1, Sun, June 25 Day 2, Mon, June 26 Day 3, Tue, June 27 Day 4, Wed, June 28 Day 5, Thu, June 29 Day 6, Fri, June 30 Day 7, Sat, July 1 Day 8, Sun, July 2

Arrive Warsaw • Welcome dinner Warsaw Warsaw • day trip to Treblinka and Tykocin Warsaw • train to Krakow Krakow Krakow • afternoon visit to Auschwitz • Shabbat dinner Krakow • morning visit to Birkenau • Closing dinner Depart Krakow

Day 1 – Sunday, June 25 Arrive in Warsaw Individual arrivals in Warsaw. Upon arrival, travelers make their own way to the city center hotel independently. In the evening enjoy a festive welcome dinner to mark the beginning of the trip. Meals: D Hotel Bristol or similar Hotel Bristol is one of Warsaw’s most exclusive properties, situated on the “King’s Walk,” a short walk from the historic Old Town, the Royal Castle, and the National Theater and Opera House. Rooms include cable TV, Internet access, direct dial telephones, minibar, and air conditioning. The hotel also features a restaurant, business and fitness center, sauna, and conference center. Day 2 – Monday, June 26 Warsaw After breakfast, set out on a full-day tour of Warsaw. Founded in 1374, Warsaw became Poland’s capital in 1596, when King Zygmunt III moved here from Krakow. For the next 200 years, Warsaw was beset on all sides by the Swedes, the Prussians and the Russians. The late 18th century was Warsaw’s “Golden Age,” under King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, Poland’s last king. Since then, except for a brief period between the two world wars, Poland was not truly independent until 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved. Begin the day with a walking tour through Warsaw’s Old Town. Take in the powerful Royal Castle, home of Poland’s kings from the 16th century up to Poland’s partition; the Market Square, a beautiful pedestrian area filled with cafes, market stalls and strolling townspeople; and Warsaw’s neoclassical Grand Theater. The entire Old Town was meticulously reconstructed after its destruction at the hands of the Nazis after the Warsaw Uprising, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Attend a showing of a short documentary film showing Warsaw Old Town Warsaw before, during and after WWII. Admire beautiful pre-war Warsaw, called the “Paris of the East,” then experience the complete destruction of the city by the Nazis and the Red Army. The film also shows the huge reconstruction effort that began directly after the end of the war and restored Warsaw to its status as a proud capital city. After a lunch at a local restaurant, spend the reminder of the day exploring Jewish heritage sites.

Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

Jews first settled in the Warsaw area in the 14th century. Expelled from the city proper in 1483, they were officially banned until 1768, and lived in enclaves outside of town. A Jewish middle class began to grow, and entrepreneurs served as army suppliers and bankers. In 1809, a Jewish quarter was established, although only members of certain professions, such as bankers and doctors, were allowed to live there – and then only if they wore European clothes. By 1939, Warsaw’s Jewish population numbered almost 400,000. Today, there are perhaps 2,000. Nazi Germany established the Warsaw Ghetto on November 15, 1940. An estimated 450,000 Jews – almost 30% of Warsaw’s population – were crowded into 2.5% of the city’s area. Within the sealed walls, disease and starvation killed 2,000 people every month. In 1942, the German army began mass deportations to death camps in the area. In April of 1943 the remaining Jews revolted against the soldiers who had come to round up victims for the third deportation. For the next month, the insurgents held off the Nazis in what is known as the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The revolt was overcome by the Nazis and those Jews who remained were killed or sent to death camps. By May of 1945, only about 300 Jews remained in Warsaw. Drive through the “Little Ghetto,” where the original buildings were not destroyed and the only remaining pieces of the ghetto wall stand in secluded courtyards. In 1940, the Germans sealed off the two ghettos with 11 miles of brick wall. They forced the Jews to build it themselves, with their own money and labor. There are only two remaining sections of the original Warsaw Ghetto wall, and they're not easy to find. At these remnants, you can see how quickly and cheaply the walls were thrown up, with too much mortar and unmatched bricks.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument

Pay a visit to the Nozyk Synagogue, the only synagogue in the city that survived the war and still holds services. Although desecrated by the Nazis, and partially destroyed during the uprising, the synagogue was restored between 1977 and 1983. Continue to the Genscher Cemetery. Dating from the 19th century, it is Warsaw’s largest Jewish cemetery, with over 250,000 people buried in it. Rachel Kaminska, Adam Czerniakow and Dr. Zamehoff, creator of the Esperanto language, as well as other prominent leaders of the Warsaw Jewish community are buried here. Stop at the grave of Marek Edelman, recently deceased leader of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Monument is the beginning of “Memory Lane,” a trail of black marble stones commemorating some of the events and the people of the uprising. Follow the trail to Mila 18, the headquarters of the uprising, led by Mordechai Anielewicz. A pile of rubble is all that remains. Following “Memory Lane,” continue to the Umschlagplatz (in German, “collection point”). Next to the railway station, the Nazis forced the Jews to this site, where they were then loaded onto trains bound for Treblinka. One of the two remaining original buildings here was used as a phony “infirmary,” to fool the crowds into thinking that the sick and elderly among them would be hospitalized and strengthened to prepare for the trip. Dinner is independent tonight. Meals: B, L Day 3 – Tuesday, June 27 Warsaw & day trip to Treblinka and Tykocin Today, journey 50 miles outside of Warsaw for a visit to Treblinka, one of six death camps built by the Nazis. Between July 1942 and April 1943, approximately 900,000 Jews were murdered at Treblinka. Visitors today enter Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

the camp at the spot where the captive Jews were unloaded from their railroad cars. A field of boulders, each representing a Polish town or village whose inhabitants were wiped out, lies ahead, followed by a mass grave and a memorial. Continue to Tykocin, a small village in northeast Poland, renowned for its lovely restored synagogue, built in 1642 in the early baroque style. During WWII, the Nazis with the help of local collaborators, marched the Jewish population into the forest and executed them over mass graves. A memorial marks the mass graves. Today will be a long day of touring. Lunch will be packed from the hotel in Warsaw and the time of returning to Warsaw will be late in the evening. Dinner tonight is independent. Meals: B, L Day 4 – Wednesday, June 28 Warsaw & train to Krakow Following breakfast, pay a visit to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, POLIN. The cornerstone of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was laid in 2007 in Warsaw's former Jewish Ghetto, over the spot where the Ghetto Uprising began in January 1943. The imposing building of glass and limestone honors the 800 years of Polish Jewry. Today you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with Polish teachers and students of the local high schools and discuss how the Holocaust is covered in their curriculum.

POLIN: Museum of the History of the Polish Jews

Take a break for an independent lunch at the museum’s cafeteria before transferring to the railway station for the afternoon two-and-a-half rail journey to Krakow. Poland’s royal capital from the 11th to the 17th century, Krakow was included on UNESCO’s first World Heritage list in 1978. Since the Tatar raids in the 13th century, the Old Town has remained mostly intact, the only large Polish city to escape the destruction of WWII. In its center is the largest remaining medieval town square in Europe, Rynek Glowny, the Main Market Square, laid out in 1257. Upon arrival, check in to hotel. This evening, enjoy dinner at a restaurant in Krakow’s Old Town. Meals: B, D Sheraton Hotel or similar Sheraton is a modern five-star hotel in historic Krakow. Rooms have all the amenities including high-speed Internet access, private bath/shower, cable television, and hair dryer. The hotel offers a choice of restaurants, a currency exchange, business center, and fitness center. Day 5 – Thursday, June 29 Krakow This morning, take a walking tour of the Old Town, following the Royal Road – the coronation (and funeral procession) route of the Polish kings. Begin at the Florian Gate, the only one of the seven original gates left standing from the nearly two miles of walls that used to surround the Old Town. Walk up lovely Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

Florianska Street to the Main Market Square, Rynek Glowny. Medieval Rynek Glowny has excellent shopping. Wonderful handcrafted souvenirs are displayed by the artists; wooden boxes, hand-knit wool sweaters, leather goods, ceramics, painted eggs and a wide variety of other articles can be found here for very reasonable prices. Pay a visit to the stalls of the Cloth Hall and stop in at the Basilica of St. Mary’s on the corner of the square. In a corner of the square is the Basilica of St Mary’s from whose tower the hejnal is sounded hourly. This bugle call was used to signal the raising and lowering of the great gate, and to warn the townspeople of attack. The familiar refrain is cut off in mid-phrase, in remembrance of a bugler who, legend tells us, was shot in the throat by a Tatar arrow as he was blowing the hejnal. One of the highlights of the basilica is its resplendent altarpiece, carved and painted by famed sculptor Veit Stoss between 1477 and 1489. Eloquent 12-foot biblical figures, each carved from a single linden tree, emerge from the 43-foot triptych, illustrating scenes from the life and death of Mary. The gorgeous altarpiece, a national treasure of Poland, was abducted by the Nazis during WWII, but was recovered intact from Nuremburg Castle and reinstated in St. Mary’s. Rynek Glowny in the main market square has excellent shopping. Wonderful handcrafted souvenirs are displayed by the artists; wooden boxes, hand-knit wool sweaters, leather goods, ceramics, painted eggs and a wide variety of other articles can be found here for very reasonable prices. The Underground Tour of Rynek, the main market square, traces the evolution of Krakow from the Middle Ages to the present day. Founded in the 13th century, the extensive underground vaults display relics of the past 800 years. Walk on ancient stone paths that still have wheel ruts, view ancient architecture, inspect ancient coins and objects and trace the relationship between Krakow and other capitals of the Middle Ages on this compelling tour. In 1335 King Casimir the Great founded Kazimierz on the outskirts of Krakow, and it grew quickly into a strong trade town. Its ethnic makeup was mixed during its first hundred years, but records show that the area had established a mikveh, bathhouse and cemetery by around 1350. In 1407, construction began on the Alte Schul (Old Synagogue), the oldest synagogue remaining in Poland. After a decree by King Jan Olbrecht in 1495 moving the Jewish population of Krakow to Kazimierz, the area grew into a major cultural center of Polish Jewry. Visit the Galicia Jewish Museum. Established in a former Jewish factory near the Old Synagogue, this Jewish life and culture in Poland. Here enjoy lunch, a short presentation by the museum’s expert, and a meeting with an Auschwitz survivor. Take a walking tour of Kazimierz, including the Old Synagogue, or Alte Schul, the center of the Kazimierz Jewish community until WWII. Nearly destroyed by the Nazis, it was painstakingly rebuilt and is now the Museum of Jewish History of Krakow with several permanent exhibitions of the vibrant community that flourished here. Continue on to the Remuh Synagogue, the smallest of Krakow’s former synagogues. Remuh is Krakow’s only synagogue with a permanent rabbi, and he didn’t arrive until October 2005. Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

157 people are official members of Krakow’s Jewish community, but at least 1,000 others live here, some of whom are still unaware of their Jewish roots. Return to the hotel for overnight. Dinner is independent. Meals: B, L Day 6, Fri, June 30 Krakow • Afternoon visit to Auschwitz After breakfast, embark on a tour of Krakow’s Ghetto. In 1941 the Nazis forced the Jewish community of Kazimierz into the area around then Plac Zgody (Concordia Square) in the Podgorze neighborhood. Over 50,000 Jews from Krakow and the surrounding area were crowded into 329 buildings and walled off from the rest of the city. The square was used by the Nazis to assemble the Jews for transport to the death camps in June and October of 1942. In December 2005 a memorial opened in the square, now named Plac Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes Square). 33 large empty chairs and 37 smaller ones are set around the square, as if waiting for their occupants. Pay a visit to Oscar Schindler’s factory near Ghetto Heroes' Square. This was the site from which Schindler was able to save over a thousand Jews from the Plaszow forced labor camp, and ultimately, from death, as portrayed in the movie Schindler's List. The museum, opened in 2010, is housed in the factory's administrative building, and includes Schindler's preserved office, photos and displays about prewar Krakow, and the story of the five years of Nazi occupation. After lunch at a local restaurant, drive to Auschwitz. 30 miles west of Krakow is the Polish town of Oswiecim, whose German name, Auschwitz, has become a symbol of horror and genocide. Return to Krakow for Shabbat dinner at the Jewish Community Center. Next door to the Temple Synagogue in Kazimierz, Krakow's Jewish Community Center was inaugurated in 2008. A joint effort of the Prince of Wales, World Jewish Relief and American Jews, the center includes offices, a restaurant, and conference halls, and hosts exhibitions and performances. Meals: B, L, D Day 7, Sat, July 1 Krakow • Morning visit to Birkenau Following breakfast, head to the town of Oswiecim to visit Birkenau, a part of the Auschwitz camp complex. Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, was the largest Nazi death camp of World War II. Unlike Auschwitz, Birkenau has been largely left as it was in January 1945, when it was liberated. The retreating SS dynamited the crematoria, but their outlines and some of the barracks remain. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Auschwitz Jewish Center (AJC) in Oswiecim. Opened in 2000, the AJC honors the generations of Jewish citizens and Holocaust victims who lived and died in Oswiecim, a city whose Jewish community once comprised 50% of the total population before WWII. Located in the heart of the town, the center includes a museum wing that was adjoined with the Oswiecim Synagogue, the only active synagogue in town. Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

Photographs, documents, survivor testimonies and other artifacts display the city's 400 years of Jewish history, and illustrate the vibrant culture that thrived here before it was nearly wiped out by the Nazi campaign. After lunch at the AJC, return to Krakow for an optional afternoon tour of Wawel Castle on the hill above the Old Town, which was the seat of Polish kings for hundreds of years. The high ground of Wawel Hill has been occupied since take up residence until the 11th century. In the 16th century, King Sigismund the Old had the castle complex designed and built into the Renaissance ensemble that it is today. While exploring Wawel Castle, take time to admire the famous Leonardo da Vinci painting, Lady with an Ermine. Its former home at the Czartoryski Museum is under renovation, and the painting, brought from Italy by Izabella Czartoryska's son in 1798, is too much of a treasure to remain buried until the renovation is finished. One of only four portraits of women that Leonardo painted, the Lady with an Ermine wears an enigmatic smile reminiscent of his Mona Lisa. Gothic Wawel Cathedral, with its thousand years of history, has since the 14th century been the place where the Polish kings were crowned at the beginning of their reigns, and buried at the end of them. Chapels and crypts have been added on over the years, nearly hiding the central nave. This is where Polish Pope John Paul II celebrated his first Mass as a priest. Gather this evening for a farewell dinner with a performance of klezmer music at a Jewish restaurant in Krakow’s Kazimierz District. Meals: B, L, D Day 8, Sun, July 2 Depart Krakow Following breakfast at the hotel, flight times permitting, the tour concludes with independent transfers to the airport for international departures. Meals: B

Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000

COSTS $2945 - Land package price per person, based on double occupancy Single room supplement: $765 Costs are based on a group size of 15 and include: trip manager/special guide, entry fees, local guides, 7 nights at 5 star hotels, daily breakfasts and 9 additional meals, land travel (train and private bus), and baggage handling at hotels and railway stations. Airfare and recommended travel insurance not included. Educators: 70 clock hours available at no additional charge. Limited scholarships funds may be available for teachers. To find out more, please email [email protected] $500 deposit required by January 13, 2017. Full payment required by May 1, 2017. *Prices subject to change depending on group size. We have tried to be as accurate as possible at time of writing. Questions? Please contact Ilana Cone Kennedy, Director of Education, at [email protected] or 206-582-3000.

Register at HolocaustCenterSeattle.org This program is organized by MIR Corporation and the Holocaust Center for Humanity. Custom extensions available.

Special thanks to:

Holocaust Center for Humanity | HolocaustCenterSeattle.org nd 2045 2 Avenue, Seattle, WA 98121 | 206-582-3000