Krakow & Auschwitz History Tour
School History Trip to Krakow & Auschwitz
When the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army in January 1945, it revealed to the world the shocking but methodically orchestrated process of deportation, slave labour and murder of Europe's Jews that we now call the Holocaust. Today the remains of the camp, and of the neighbouring camp at Birkenau, are preserved as a memorial museum and which have a powerful and sobering effect on visitors. In the nearby city of Krakow, where leading Nazi Hans Frank was Governor, our tours visit other important sites including the old Jewish Ghetto of Kazimierz and the factory of Oskar Schindler who's actions in saving his Jewish workers is recounted in the film Schindler's List.
A lighter contrast is provided by Krakow's beautiful old quarter with its cobbled pedestrian streets and welcoming cafés. We also visit the fascinating Wieliczka Salt Mine excavated deep underground over many centuries where workers have carved out a network of elaborate tunnels and chambers.
The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.
Flight to Krakow. Walking tour of the Jewish Quarter and Ghetto
Flight to Krakow: You are met on arrival by your guide and private coach and transfer to your hotel for check in.
Jewish Quarter and the Ghetto: After lunch you have a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter of Kazimierz and learn about the tragic events of the past. You visit places such as the Old Synagogue and Remah Jewish Cemetery which are now just remnants of the once rich Jewish history of Krakow. Crossing the Vistula River you see Ghetto Heroes Square which stands where the original Krakow ghetto once stood and is now a memorial to the thousands who died. Empty chairs symbolise the people who were sent to different concentration camps. You also visit the Eagle Pharmacy which existed during the war and which helped the Jewish people held in the ghetto.
Dinner and Old Quarter: After dinner this evening you can visit the vibrant Old Quarter of Krakow with its many cafes spilling out onto the central Market Square.
Full day visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Auschwitz: Today you visit the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz and Birkenau, located 40 miles west of Krakow. During World War Two this was the largest concentration camp of Nazi Germany. Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviets in January 1945, and today it is a museum honouring the victims of Nazism. There will be a guided tour which will include the separate site at Birkenau.
Evening Bowling: You return to Krakow in the afternoon there will be time to go bowling before dinner at a city restaurant.
Wieliczka Salt Mine, Schindler Factory and Plazsow Concentration Camp
Wieliczka Salt Mine: This morning you have a guided tour at the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine. Situated 135 metres underground the mine dates from the 12th century and played an important role in the economic development of the city. This is the only salt mine in the world preserved in such a pristine condition. It has various chambers and even underground chapels, all decorated with salt sculptures and elaborate ornamentation carved in the salt rock.
Schindler Factory: In the afternoon you visit the former Emalia Factory of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist credited with saving thousands of Jewish workers and commemorated in the film Schindler’s List. There is a museum and permanent exhibition about life in Krakow from just before the start of the war to the liberation by the Soviet Red Army.
Plazsow: After visiting the Schindler Factory you continue to the site of the former concentration camp at Plaszow who’s brutal commandant Amon Goeth was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in the Spielberg film Schindler’s List. Little remains now apart from the infamous ‘Grey House’ where Goeth had his office, and there is a monument to the thousands who died here.
Evening: Dinner this evening will be at your hotel or a city restaurant
Galicia Jewish Museum and flight home
Galicia Museum: This morning you visit the Galicia Museum which commemorates Jewish victims of the Holocaust and celebrates the Jewish culture and history of the former Austro-Hungarian region of Galicia. There is a book shop and photographic exhibition depicting modern-day remnants of Poland’s once–thriving Jewish community. There is also the possibility (although it is becoming a rare event now) to meet a Holocaust survivor and to hear their testimony at first hand.
Flight home: There will be free time for lunch and shopping before you transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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If you are planning a tour with us, we can arrange an inspection trip so you are able to familiarise yourself with the destination and conduct any risk assessments your school may require.
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