Embark on a captivating exploration through the heart of Poland with our curated expedition, ‘Poland: In the Footsteps of Jewish Culture.’ This immersive journey invites you to delve into the rich tapestry of history, art, traditions, and Jewish heritage that has profoundly shaped Poland.
As we navigate this distinctive itinerary, we will not only bear witness to the poignant chapters, notably those connected to the Holocaust, but also uncover the enduring cultural legacy that has left an indelible mark on Poland’s evolution. Each city, every street, every synagogue, and cemetery we encounter serves not only as a testament to the past but also as a harbinger of contemporary Poland—a nation committed to preserving memory and cherishing the legacy of Jewish culture.
Join us on this thoughtfully crafted expedition, where every step is a discovery, and where the past seamlessly intertwines with the present, offering a profound and enriching experience in the realm of Jewish heritage tourism.
Departure to Krakow
Our journey to Poland will begin with a flight to Krakow. The narrow cobblestone streets, majestic churches, mythical Wawel Castle, and vibrant Main Market Square showcase Krakow as an unforgettable city where the present seamlessly intertwines with cultural heritage
After arriving in Krakow, we will proceed to the hotel. Following a brief rest after the journey, we will begin exploring the Old Town of Krakow. We will visit the famous Market Square with the Cloth Hall and St. Mary’s Basilica. Near the square, you will find the oldest buildings of the Jagiellonian University with the beautiful courtyard of Collegium Maius, the Barbican, Planty, and the courtyard of the Jagiellonian University.
Next, we will head to Krakow’s Kazimierz, a unique district shaped by centuries of close Christian-Jewish coexistence. The narrow, cobbled streets have retained their original names such as Szeroka, Wąska, Izaaka, and Estery. Some synagogues have undergone a change in purpose – the High Synagogue hosts concerts, promotional events, and exhibitions, while the history and culture of Krakow’s Jews can be explored at the Museum in the Old Synagogue.
Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
We will dedicate this entire day to exploring the part of Krakow intricately connected with Jewish tradition and culture. To begin, we will visit the Krakow Ghetto. Established in March 1941, it encompassed an area where over 18,000 Jews from Krakow and its surroundings were concentrated.
Following that, we will tour the Schindler’s Factory Museum. Anyone who has seen Steven Spielberg’s poignant film ‘Schindler’s List,’ depicting the inhumane times of World War II, understands the crucial role played by Oscar Schindler’s factory in saving 1,200 Jews from annihilation.
Finally, we will visit the Płaszów concentration camp, one of the most significant sites commemorating the Holocaust victims in Poland. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Krakow, Auschwitz, Lodz
After breakfast, we will proceed to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, where we will tour the former Auschwitz I concentration camp, including the starvation cell where Maximilian Kolbe met his martyrdom.
We will also explore the Auschwitz II-Birkenau extermination camp, where the Nazis murdered over a million people, mostly Jews, in gas chambers. Among them was Europe’s patroness, Edith Stein, a Christian-Jewish figure later canonized as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Following the tour, we will travel to Lodz for the overnight stay.
Today, we will explore the multicultural city of Lodz. In the 19th century, it was shaped collectively by four nations – Poles, Germans, Jews, and Russians. Germans and Jews engaged in craftsmanship and established factories where Poles, migrating to Lodz as the promised land from small towns and villages, found employment.
Cultures and languages intermingled, leaving traces that persist to this day, evident in Lodz’s cuisine and language.
Before World War II, the Jewish population constituted one-third of Lodz’s residents. In February 1940, in the Old Town and Bałuty, the poorest parts of Lodz, one of the largest ghettos in Europe was established. From its inception, it served as a slave labor camp and was liberated only in 1944, the last in all of Europe.
In addition to the ghetto, we will visit the Jewish cemetery, Radegast railway station, from where trains departed to extermination camps, and the only pre-war synagogue, Reichera, still active to this day. An evening stroll along Piotrkowska Street will conclude our day. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
After breakfast, we will travel to Warsaw. Upon checking in at the hotel, we will embark on a tour of Warsaw’s Old Town. During the stroll, we will visit Barbican, the Market Square, the Cathedral, Castle Square, Krakowskie Przedmieście, and Piłsudski Square.
In the afternoon, we will proceed to the Royal Łazienki Park – Europe’s most beautiful palace complex. Before World War II, Warsaw was the second-largest Jewish city after New York. Housing nearly 400,000 Jews and serving as a major center of Jewish culture, it became a site of the extermination of a significant portion of this community.
On the following day, we will strive to explore a fragment of this long-lost world. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
After breakfast, we will travel to ulica Złota, near the remnants of the Warsaw Ghetto walls. We will take a walk through its streets, visit the Jewish cemetery, the magnificent necropolis on Okopowa Street, and explore the only surviving synagogue in Warsaw, the Nożyków Synagogue.
In the afternoon, we have a visit to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, one of the most modern museums in Poland, ahead of us. The museum presents the thousand-year history of the Jewish people in Polish territories. The exhibition consists of eight galleries that narrate the culture and heritage of Polish Jews throughout the centuries.
Evening free time. Return to the hotel for an overnight stay.
Warszawa, Tykocin, Treblinka, Warsaw
On this day, we set off for Tykocin, a town in Podlasie that, before the war, was one of the largest centers of the Jewish population. Although the Jewish community was brutally exterminated, its Baroque synagogue survived, and we will explore it.
On the way back to Warsaw, we will visit the Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom in Treblinka. In the functioning Nazi extermination camp here, between 1942 and 1943, over 900,000 people lost their lives. Return to Warsaw for an overnight stay.
Warsaw, Kazimierz Dolny
After breakfast, we will visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum, commemorating the largest armed resistance action in German-occupied Europe. This exceptional place allows for a deeper understanding of contemporary Warsaw.
Following the visit, we will travel to Kazimierz Dolny. Before World War II, Jews constituted nearly two-thirds of the town’s residents. Kazimierz Dolny boasts a vast number of historic sites, earning it the designation of a monument of history by the President of Poland.
We will take a stroll through this incredibly atmospheric town, pay a visit to the Three Crosses Hill, explore the castle, and wander through one of the many picturesque loess ravines, such as Korzeniowy Doł. Overnight stay in Kazimierz Dolny.
Kazimierz Dolny, Lublin
After breakfast, we will travel to Lublin. Upon arrival, we will visit the Chamber of Memory of Lublin Jews, located in the building of the only pre-war Lublin synagogue, Chewra Nosim. Here, we will find a unique collection of books and photographs documenting bygone eras.
We will take a stroll through the former Jewish quarter. In the afternoon, we will visit the Majdanek Martyrdom Museum, the former Nazi concentration camp, the second-largest extermination camp in Poland after Auschwitz. Overnight stay in Lublin.
Today, we will head to Krakow. After checking into the hotel, we will embark on a tour of Wawel Hill – a limestone hill overlooking the Vistula River in the center of Krakow, featuring a complex of monumental landmarks with exceptional historical and artistic value.
The Gothic Wawel Cathedral of St. Stanislaus and St. Wenceslaus serves as the necropolis of Polish kings and some national heroes.
A series of bells, including the largest bell, the Sigismund Bell, donated by King Sigismund I the Old, is suspended in the cathedral tower. Another attraction on Wawel is the cave carved by the waters of the Vistula known as the Dragon’s Den, as according to legend, it was the lair of the Wawel Dragon. After the tour, free time in Krakow.
Departure form Krakow
Today concludes our journey through Poland, tracing the footsteps of Jewish culture. If you have fallen in love with the history and culture of this country, we warmly invite you to join us on other adventures in Poland with Rek Travel Adventure.
Perhaps this time, you’ll consider exploring Southern Poland?
Poland: In the Footsteps of Jewish Culture 2024/2025
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The company is not responsible for any loss of customer's property due to burglary, theft, loss, etc. We also do not assume responsibility for any losses incurred by the customer in motels. Rek Travel reserves the right to change the itinerary due to circumstances beyond its control. The customer is obliged to comply with the tour regulations. Tour participants are insured according to the requirements of the US Department of Transportation for a total amount of $500,000 (insurance policy available upon request). Participants may opt for additional insurance coverage for hospital and outpatient treatment of illnesses acquired during the tour, as well as accidents in visited facilities (further information available at the office) for an additional fee.