July 1- 9, 2012
On the first day of our trip in Poland, we will endeavor to understand Jewish Life in Warsaw (and in the whole of pre‐WWII Poland) through the lens of the remains of the Warsaw Jewish community. Some 250,000 Jewish graves in the Gesia cemetery will tell us the story of the history of Jewish life in Poland in general and in Warsaw, the capital in particular.
We will go to the only pre‐war synagogue still standing (and operating) in
we visit the Warsaw Ghetto that enclosed half a million people. From June‐September 1942 the Nazis systematically deported 6000 Jews per day from the Ghetto to Treblinka. The following year, the remaining Jews in the Ghetto revolted against the Nazis – the first urban resistance anywhere in Occupied Europe. By June 1943, the Ghetto was completely destroyed after the suppression of the uprising. A short bus ride to Treblinka (from the Umschlagplatz). At Treblinka we learn about the implementation of the Final Solution in the context of Operation Reinhard.
We will travel from Warsaw to the city of Lublin. Just at the city outskirts, we will tour the Majdanek concentration camp. In the afternoon From Majdanek we will drive to the picturesque town of Kazimierz Dolny.
We will begin with a visit to Wierzbnik‐Starachowice, Howard Chandler’s hometown. Together with Howard we will follow in his footsteps as he relates to us his journey.
Auschwitz, the largest of the Nazi killing centers, simultaneously consisted of 3 camps: Auschwitz I ‐ a concentration camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau)‐ an extermination camp, and Auschwitz III (Buna/Monowicz) – a slave labor industrial complex. We will begin with a visit to Auschwitz I, which has been turned into a national museum. From there, we will continue on to Birkenau. Upon completing our tour of Auschwitz we will return to Krakow in the late afternoon, we will quickly freshen up for the Sabbath and walk to the Jewish Quarter to watch and participate in the Friday night service at the Remuh synagogue.
For many centuries Krakow was the capital of Poland and the seat of the Polish monarchy. In the morning, we will tour the Jewish quarter and its synagogues. In the afternoon, trip participants will have the opportunity to tour the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It will be possible to visit Wawel hill, which includes the Cathedral of St. Vaclaus and St. Stanislaus as well as royal tombs and crypts and the Castle itself. In the evening the International Festival of Jewish Culture ‐This tremendous festival has been held in Cracow for over fifteen years.
A visit to the Wieliczka salt mines, which were in active use for 600 years and contain breath‐taking salt sculptures deep under the ground . We will visit the remains of the Ghetto, as well as Schindler’s factory, a non‐Jewish pharmacy in the Ghetto run by a righteous gentile and Plashow all of which were depicted in the movie “Schindler’s List”.