Holocaust and WW II
School Trip to Auschwitz. Extended programme
( with two days study visit in Auschwitz Museum)
morning: Flight to Katowice or Krakow. Coach transfer from the airport to your hotel in Krakow. Lunch.
afternoon: “Krakow, city of kings”. Tour of the Old Town in Krakow, the historic capital of Poland. Programme includes the Main Market Square, the Cloth Hall, and St Mary’s Basilica, with its famous wooden altarpiece made by Wit Stwosz (Veit Stoss); the Gothic courtyard of Collegium Maius, the narrow streets of the Old Town, the Cathedral on Wawel Hill, with the tombs of the Polish kings, and the Royal Castle.
evening: Dinner at your hotel and free time.
Excursion to the Auschwitz Museum 1: “Auschwitz – the topography and logic of the Holocaust”
Two-part sightseeing. The first part covers the exhibition in the prisoner blocks in Auschwitz I – Stammlager (the original camp): the death block, the wall of death, and the only surviving gas chamber and crematorium. After a moment of rest, tour of Auschwitz II – Birkenau, the site of the mass extermination of Jews, with the preserved prisoners’ barracks, the ruins of the gas chambers and crematoria, and the monument commemorating the victims of the camp. Return to Krakow.
evening: Dinner, followed by a meeting with an “eye-witness to history” – a survivor of the Krakow ghetto or a “Righteous Among the Nations of the World”, one of the people who helped fellow Jewish residents of the city survive during the Holocaust.
Excursion to the Auschwitz Museum 2. Time for individual exploration of selected parts of the exhibition.
Options for this part of the programme:
- A visit to the central bathhouse, known as the “Sauna” – the building that new prisoners passed through as they arrived at the camp. This exhibition examines the procedure by which humans were reduced to the numbers tattooed on their forearms. The “Sauna” also houses an exhibition entitled “Before they left”, which comprises private photographs of camp victims, found in the luggage of Jews from the Będzin ghetto, and offering an insight into their lives before the Holocaust.
- A tour of the Yad Vashem (Jerusalem Institute of Memory) exhibition “Shoah” in Block 27. This state-of-the-art multimedia exhibition is a moving insight into Jewish life before the war, the ideology of the German Nazis, and the extermination of the Jews perpetrated across German-occupied Europe. The exhibition also includes a room devoted to the 1.5 million murdered Jewish children, and a room housing the book of names, in which are written all the names of Holocaust victims that Yad Vashem has been able to collect.
- A tour of selected national exhibitions.
- A tour of the exhibition of works by Marian Kołodziej, prisoner no. 432, in the St Maximilian Centre close to Auschwitz II – Birkenau.
- A tour of the exhibition on the history of the Jewish community in the town of Oświęcim (the location outside of the Auschwitz camp) on display in the Jewish Centre in the former synagogue in Oświęcim.
- A meeting with a member of the museum’s scientific staff, or a workshop on selected themes from the history of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. See here for a list of topics.
morning: “Before the Holocaust” – tour of Kazimierz, the former Jewish quarter of Krakow. Visit to the Gothic and Renaissance Old Synagogue, now the Jewish Museum, and to the sixteenth-century Jewish cemetery adjacent to the Remuh Synagogue. After a rest, a tour of the site of the former ghetto in the district of Podgórze – surviving sections of the ghetto wall; the Eagle Pharmacy, a site of memory; and the “empty chairs” memorial. Lunch.
afternoon: Tour of the multimedia exhibition “Krakow under Nazi occupation 1939 – 1945” in the former Oskar Schindler Factory.
evening: Dinner in a Jewish restaurant in Kazimierz and a concert of klezmer music.
Check-out. Transfer to the airport and flight out of Krakow.