May 25 – June 2, 2014
July 20 – 28, 2014
August 10 – 19, 2014
October 19 – 27, 2014
from $2495 for groups of 10 and more
Same itinerary, or customized tours are available for family tours and groups of 4 and more throughout the year. Prices for small groups available upon request
Experience a unique and incredible journey through Poland spanning 1000 years of Polish Jewish history and culminating with the reawakening of Jewish life in Poland today. Prior to WWII, Poland was home to the largest and most vibrant Jewish community in Europe. It was referred to as the epicenter of Jewish learning and culture for hundreds of years. More than sixty years after the Holocaust, Poland is once again home to a Jewish community proud of its heritage and culture. Join us as we explore the past, encounter the present and look ahead to the future!
DAY 1: Departure to Warsaw
DAY 2: Arrival in Warsaw Groups of over 10 participants arriving together will be met by a representative of the Poland Jewish Heritage Tours tour guide at the Frederic Chopin International Airport. Those arriving outside the group will arrange their own transfer and meet the rest at the hotel (about $30 taxi ride).
Groups and individuals arriving early in the day can visit on their own a few points of interest close enough to our hotel:
• The Royal Castle, Castle Square and the Barbican
• Monument of King Zygmunt III Wasa
• Krakowskie Przedmiescie
• Presidential Palace and Warsaw University
• Copernicus and Mickiewicz Monuments
• Nowy Swiat and Embassy Row (Aleje Ujazdowskie)
• Lazienki Park
• Aleja Szucha 25
• Constitution Square and Marszalkowska Street
• Palace of Science and Culture
Check–in at the hotel in the early afternoon. The hotel is located in
the city center close to Warsaw’s only surviving synagogue. ((For details
about the Nozyk Synagogue, please see Day 3.)
A free evening in the Old Town Market Square.
Recommendations for restaurants will be made available upon request.
DAY 3: Warsaw
Guided tour of Jewish Warsaw, including sites and monuments representing Polish Jewry’s rich legacy and commemorating the fate and resiliency of the Jewish people, rising from the ashes to remember and rebuild.
Nozyk Synagogue: Meeting with a representative of the Jewish community/Chief Rabbi of Poland and an introduction to Jewish Poland. The Nozyk Synagogue was dedicated in 1902. It is Warsaw’s only surviving synagogue of the more than 300 prayer houses, shtiebels and synagogues that existed before WWII and it currently serves Warsaw’s Jewish community. Jewish community offices, a youth club, a kosher canteen, the Prof. Moses Schorr Educational Center and a variety of Jewish organizations are housed in adjacent buildings. Warsaw also has a Reform congregation Beit Warszawa and a Chabad–Lubavitch center.
The Esther Rachel & Ida Kaminska Yiddish Theater, which still offers musical performances in Yiddish, is located quite near the synagogue. There is a plaque on the All Saints’ Church on Grzybowski Square opposite the Yiddish theater, honoring the more than 6,000 Polish Righteous Among the Nations, who risked their lives to save Jews during the war. This church was situated at the very edge of the ghetto. Jews were hidden in the church and were often smuggled through it onto the "Aryan" side.
Site of the original orphanage run by Dr. Janusz Korczak (born Henryk Goldszmit), renowned educator and author, before it was moved into the Ghetto.
Krochmalna and Pereca Streets:
Poland was the birthplace of Yiddish literature, culture and theater, as well as of numerous Nobel Prize winners and outstanding individuals in many fields. Among the many who have contributed to Jewish and world culture are Isaac Bashevis Singer (who lived on Krochmalna) and Itzhak Leib Peretz who lived on the street now named for him.
Warsaw Ghetto Monuments:
The first ghetto memorial, dedicated by Polish Jews in 1946, resembles a manhole cover, recalling the underground’s use of the city sewers as hiding places and as escape and smuggling routes. It is located close to the Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto, a copy of which stands in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. The massive two–sided monument was sculpted by Natan Rappaport and unveiled in 1948 on the fifth anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising.
Nearby stands a tree and a commemorative marker honoring “Zegota,” an arm of the Polish Government in Exile and Europe’s only organization specifically tasked with aiding and rescuing Jews during the Holocaust period. Thousands of Jewish lives were saved thanks to the extraordinary, clandestine efforts of Zegota.
Across from the Rappaport Monument is the site of the future Museum of the History of Polish Jews, scheduled to open in 2012. We will have a brief presentation by a member of the Museum’s
Zygielbojm Memorial and the Route of Martyrdom and Resistance:
A memorial to Szmul Zygielbojm, a Bund representative to the Polish Government in Exile in London, who committed suicide after trying – in vain - to persuade the Allies to save the Jews of Europe. The Route of Martyrdom and Resistance includes markers naming representatives of the different groups active in the Warsaw Ghetto resistance.
The site of the command bunker of ZOB, the Jewish Fighting Organization during the Warsaw ghetto uprising in April 1943. Discovered by the Germans on May 8, 1943, the leaders of the uprising, Mordechai Anielewicz, Arie Wilner and many others, took their own lives. Two monuments honor their memories and mark their common grave.
Ghetto Wall Marker No. 21:
In 2008, the City of Warsaw, in cooperation with the Jewish Historical Institute, erected 21 vertical markers and a series of plaques inlaid on the ground indicating the borders of the Warsaw ghetto.
A monument erected in 1988 resembling a freight car used to transport Jews to the death camps stands on the site from which more than 300,000 Jews were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp. Scenes from the film "The Pianist" were filmed just a short distance up Stawki Street.
We will visit the newly built Museum of the Jewish People, one of the newest Warsaw attractions. The Jewish Cemetery:
Established in 1806, the Jewish Cemetery on Okopowa Street is one of the largest active Jewish cemeteries in Europe. There are more than 250,000 graves here, including those of rabbis, writers, poets, artists, actors, politicians and community members.
A special guided tour will be provided.
The Lauder–Morasha School:
Building on the success of a Jewish kindergarten created by a small group of parents in 1989, the primary school was established in 1994 and the middle school in 1999. The school, the first under Jewish auspices in Warsaw since 1949, teaches students and their families about Jewish culture, heritage and tradition. Meeting with the school’s principal.
The Museum of the Warsaw Uprising:
The Warsaw Uprising started on August 1, 1944. The 63–day battle, which included some Jewish fighters, ended with over two hundred thousand casualties and the near–complete destruction of the city.
We will take a short bus tour of the Praga district. Located on the right bank of the Vistula River, Praga was home to many of Warsaw’s poorer Jews prior to World War II; the Brudno Cemetery and several pre–war Jewish community buildings remain today. The district is now being revitalized, having survived the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 under Soviet occupation. We will be joined by a member of the Praga Museum’s staff.
The Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute (JHI):
The Institute is housed in the former Institute for Jewish Studies and Main Judaic Library which was connected to the Great Synagogue of Warsaw, blown up by the Nazis on May 16, 1943 as a symbol of the "destruction" of Europe’s largest Jewish community. The Institute was set afire, but survived. Established in 1947, the Institute houses the largest repository of information about Polish Jewry, in its archives, library and art collections. The Institute’s most precious holding is the Ringelblum Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto which documents Jewish life during the war. A presentation by a member of the Institute’s staff.
The Jewish Genealogy and Family Heritage Center
provides consultations, research and guidance, offering visitors from Poland and from around the world a unique opportunity to explore their own Polish roots and to discover their own family’s history.
(visit here is upon group's requests)
Optional: Concert at the National
DAY 4: Depart Warsaw for Lublin.
Pulawy and Kazimierz Dolny:
Picturesque medieval shtetls, often recalled in as mythic in the popular imagination. Located on the Vistula, Kazimierz Dolny is one of the most beautifully situated towns in Poland. As if untouched by time, it has preserved its 17th–century Renaissance charm and character. A popular myth relates that the king for whom the town is named had a passionate love affair with a young Jewish woman, Esterka..
A famous Polish spa town known for its healing waters. During the afternoon, we will visit Lublin and sites of Jewish interest
Remnants of the Lublin Ghetto
The Old Cemetery:
The renowned “Seer of Lublin,” a beloved Hasidic rebbe known for his extraordinary intuitive powers, is buried in this cemetery.
Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva:
"The Yeshiva of the Sages of Lublin", built by Rabbi Meir Shapiro in 1930, was the largest and most modern center of traditional Jewish study in Europe prior to 1939. Its beit midrash and mikveh were renovated in 2007 by the Warsaw Jewish Community. It is now used by the small Jewish community in Lublin and by visiting groups.
Brama Grodzka - “City Gate”:
The city gate linked the Old Town of Lublin with the city’s Jewish quarter.. The gate is testament to the fact that for a long time Poles and Jews lived side by side in relative harmony. We will have an opportunity to meet with members of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theater,” known for their innovative educational programs.
DAY 5: Depart Lublin for Krakow
The former Nazi concentration and death camp was built in October 1941 and liberated by the Soviets in 1944.
Shtetl Lezajsk (Lizhensk):
TThe grave of Rebbe Elimelech, who studied under the Great Maggid Dov Ber of Mezerich and became the leader of the Hasidic movement, is located in the cemetery. Lezajsk is the site of annual pilgrimages by Hasidim from the world over.
Zamosc, a UNESCO–listed World Heritage site, is an extraordinary example of 16th–century Italian Renaissance architecture and art in the midst of the eastern Polish country–side. It was designed by architect Bernardo Morando and built by Jan Zamoyski, an influential Polish nobleman of the region. The Rynek (Market Square) at Zamosc.
Home of Count Potocki’s Palace and the unique Horse Carriage Museum, as well as a beautifully restored synagogue and a Jewish cemetery with the grave of the famous Hasidic rebbe Naftali of Ropshitz (Ropczyce).
On the way to Krakow, we will stop to see the still–intact bimah of the famous synagogue in Tarnow, standing alone not far from the old marketplace. We will then continue to Krakow and spend the night at the Krakow Sheraton.
DAY 6: Krakow
We will begin our visit to Krakow, which offers Poland's best preserved sites of Jewish heritage and Poland’s past, with a walk through the Kazimierz Jewish district, home to many synagogues and the old Jewish cemetery.
Tempel Synagogue of Krakow:
Beautifully renovated; the largest synagogue in Krakow now used during the High Holidays and for special events.
The High (New) Synagogue (1563), the Kupa Synagogue
(1643), the Izaak Synagogue (1644).
The Stary Synagogue:
Built in the 15th century, the Stary Synagogue is the oldest in Krakow. It currently houses a Museum of Jewish Art with a beautiful collection of Judaica, including silver, textiles and manuscripts.
The Popper Synagogue (1620) –The Remuh Synagogue & Old
The Galicia Jewish Museum:
The museum commemorates the
victims of the Holocaust and celebrates the Jewish culture of the
Galicia region of Poland. We will have an opportunity to meet the museum’s director.
We will cross the river and visit the former ghetto area, including a newly dedicated monument to victims of Holocaust.
Remains of the ghetto wall
– The Museum of the “Under the Eagle” Pharmacy:
During the war, many non–Jews, such as Dr. Tadeusz Pankiewicz and his staff, helped Jews by providing food and medicine through this pharmacy located in the Krakow ghetto. The ghetto was liquidated in 1943 and the remaining Jews were transported to the Plaszow and Auschwitz camps.
Oskar Schindler’s “Emalia” Factory
Site of the Nazi concentration camp and transfer point.
Memorials to the Victims of the Holocaust and to 400,000 Hungarian
We will end our tour with a visit to Krakow’s JCC. Commissioned by Charles, Prince of Wales, the JCC is the center of Jewish life in Krakow. It offers programs and activities for all ages, working in cooperation with the Krakow Jewish Community and many local and international organizations to enrich Jewish life in the city. We will have an opportunity to meet with the chief rabbi of Krakow and the director of the JCC.
DAY 7: Auschwitz–Birkenau
We will pay homage to those who suffered and perished in Auschwitz–Birkenau, the notorious Nazi concentration and death camps. Our visit will help us try to understand the extent of the horror and terror and to appreciate the miracle that anyone survived. Auschwitz–Birkenau has been described by Elie Wiesel, a survivor of Auschwitz, as that which “arouses man’s most secret anguish.”
Auschwitz Jewish Center in Oswiecim: The center, established in 2000 by the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, provides an important link between the town’s pre–war Jewish community and post–war life.
DAY 8: Day Tour of Historical Sites of Krakow Wawel Royal Castle: High on the hills overlooking the river, the castle was the seat of the Polish monarchs until 1596.
“Collegium Maius”: The oldest building of the Jagiellonian University (Europe’s second oldest university founded 1364) now serves as a museum housing a collection of scientific instruments, including the astronomical instruments of Copernicus.
Czartoryski Museum: Famous for “The Lady with the
Ermine” by Leonardo da Vinci.
The Rynek: A picturesque medieval market square built by Eastern traders on the famous “Silk Route” from Asia to Europe.
Wieliczka Salt Mine: A UNESCO World Heritage Site considered one of the most fascinating places to visit. It was an active mine for more than 600 years from the 13th century until 2007. Inside the mine, miners created monumental chambers, chapels and halls filled with art carved entirely out of salt!
Transfer to the airport on your way home or continue on one of the optional tours offered: Prague or Israel.
Tour Cost & Details
$2,495 PP based on double occupancy & a minimum group of 15 participants.
Single supplement (private room) add $696
The itinerary is a suggested guideline to tour leaders and groups, it may be modified and changed by the tour director or respective group tour leaders.
Dates of Tours:
May 25 – June 2, 2014
July 20 – 28, 2014
August 10 – 19, 2014
October 19 – 27, 2014
Four and five star hotels accommodations
Comprehensive sightseeing as per itinerary
Meeting with Jewish community leaders
Visits to Jewish community centers and synagogues
A private visit to the Jewish Genealogy Center in Warsaw
All entrance fees to all sites visited
Excellent English speaking guide
And, much more
Airfare to Poland (special group rate available upon request)
Celebrate the 21st century of our Ashkenazi birthright Poland Jewish Heritage Tours creates unique itineraries, intellectually stimulating experiences and spiritually uplifting heritage tours of Jewish Poland. Our tours are deigned for people of all ages and backgrounds who are interested in learning more about Ashkenazic Jewish heritage, their own family histories, and the current revival of Jewish life and culture in Poland.
We have a highly qualified and experienced staff, they will enable you to delve into the past, trace your family lineage, participate in today's vibrant cultural life, and witness Poland's remarkable societal change since the 1989 breakdown of Communism and the dawn of the country’s first real experience in democracy. Only today is it possible to conceive of Poland as a democratic guardian of Jewish heritage and a strong, European ally of Israel.
“our tour changed my view of Poland from ‘mass graveyard,’ where my family roots are located, to a country where history is triumphing. The rebirth of Jewish life is a testament to the tenacity of our culture, traditions and religion. The desire of non–Jews to explore and understand the 1000 years of contributions of Jews to Polish life…underscores the resilience of the vibrancy of Jewish life.”
Our team of Jewish educators, scholars, culture seekers, and travel experts – from the United States, Poland and Israel – have explored Ashkenazic heritage in Poland, participated in the historic, international rescue mission to preserve Polish Jewish heritage, and witnessed the exciting phenomenon of Jewish cultural renewal in the very country that has, for decades, symbolized Nazi Germany's near–total annihilation of European Jewry in the Holocaust.
Hotels are subject to change but will be same class category or higher
All costs are based on rate of exchange and are subject to currency fluctuations.