Solidarity Museum Gdansk

Essential Jewish Poland

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Day 1
Arrival | Gdansk

This morning you will arrive into Gdansk, where you will be met by your driver for your transfer to your hotel in the center of the city and in the heart of the historic district.

Gdansk, or Danzig, as it was formerly called, is a city of charm and elegance, even though it is most known for its industrial shipyards and the popular movement by Lech Walesa that marked the end of Communism in Poland. While Gdansk was mostly German before WWII, the Poles expelled all remaining Germans at the end of the war and left the city to become truly Polish. Gdansk was an important city of the Hanseatic League for centuries.

The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Exeter Services: Arrival Transfer

Hotel: Radisson Blu

Day 2
Gdansk | Gdansk

Begin this morning with an exploration of Gdansk. Your guide will take you on Gdansk’s Royal Route. Around every corner of Old Town you’ll find an important building or historic monument and your guide will show you the most important of them. You can also step inside St. Mary’s Church, founded in 1343, and one of the largest churches in Europe and is best known for its extraordinary Gothic sculpture. At the picturesque Motlawa River bank you will see the massive, 15th century Old Crane, which is now a museum containing a wooden elevator and granaries used at the port during its heyday.

Afterward, your driver will meet you for the one-hour drive to Sztutowo for a visit to the remains of Stutthof Concentration Camp. This camp was the first built by the Nazi regime that was outside of Germany and was used mostly for political dissidents rather than Jews and most of the early victims were non-Jewish Poles from Gdansk and Pomorze region.

In 1942, this became a “regular” concentration camp for Polish and Jews also from other regions of occupied countries. In June 1944 it became a part of Nazi "Endloesung" project "the final solution of the Jewish problem". In this way it became a camp of mass-extermination. Within the 5 years of its existence, Stutthof grew from a small camp 3500 prisoners (in 1940) to 57 000 prisoners (in 1944). It was a place where 110 000 people were kept from 28 countries and over 30 nationalities. The most of them - 65 000 died. In museum you can watch a documentary film about the camp. Most of the camp was razed to the ground when Nazis fled, but today there is a memorial building and blocks commemorating the original barracks.

Note: Some touring today is on foot through mostly pedestrian areas. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (5 Hours); Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Radisson Blu

Day 3
Gdansk | Gdansk

This morning meet your guide in your hotel lobby. Today you will start with a visit to the European Solidarity Center. The permanent exhibition is dedicated to the Solidarity Movement and the opposition, which led to the overthrow of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. It’s like a walking timeline of contemporary history in Gdansk and really all of Europe. It’s a fascinating look into this turbulent time leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Afterward head to Oliwa. This is a complex of Cistercian abbey buildings and the highlight is the cathedral. It’s built in the Romanesque and Gothic styles and is best known for its organ, which includes moving angels, stars and the sun. Today there is an organ concert at noon and you can attend.

Continue back to Gdansk where you will also see the extensive WWII Museum. September 1, 1939 was the date that WWII began, and it started right here with shots fired over Westerplatte. This massive museum is divided into three areas – past, present and future. You’ll have a timed entrance ticket today and the use of an audio guide, if you like. With even a casual interest in WWII, you’ll be hard pressed to see everything in two hours here. There are over 2,000 exhibits from the road to war to effects of the war post-1945. All exhibits are in English and the audio guides give greater detail wherever you would like it.

Note: Some touring is on foot. Please be prepared to be outside and walking over cobblestones.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver, & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Radisson Blu

Day 4
Gdansk - Warsaw | Gdansk - Warsaw

This morning your driver will take you directly to the station to meet your high-speed train to Warsaw. First class tickets are included and will be given to you locally.

Upon your arrival in Warsaw you will be transferred to your hotel, where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Often overlooked, Warsaw is a phoenix that has risen out of the ashes of immense carnage to emerge as a vibrant, contemporary and edgy European capital. Its eclectic architectural style reflects the different influences throughout the ages. In Old Town Warsaw, tall church steeples, colorful houses, and narrow cobble-stoned lanes give way to the newer part of the city and a larger more contemporary skyline. Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings have been exquisitely restored to their former glory in the post-World War II era, while more recent construction reflects Warsaw’s cosmopolitan vibe.

Exeter Services: Station Transfers with Assistants

Hotel: Bristol Warsaw

Day 5
Warsaw | Warsaw

Today your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby for a half-day walking tour of Warsaw’s Old Town. On the tour with your guide have a stroll through Warsaw’s renowned Castle Square. In this square, you’ll find street artists, small cafes and shops among the rebuilt gothic mansions of Warsaw’s nobility. View Zygmunt Column, built to honor King Zygmunt III Wasa, who moved Poland’s capital from Krakow to Warsaw in the 17th-century.

Afterward, begin your exploration of Warsaw’s Jewish history. Before World War II, Poland’s capital was the most important Jewish center in Europe. Out of all the cities in the world, only New York had a greater Jewish population. The first stop on any itinerary of Jewish Warsaw is the Nozyk Synagogue, the only one of the ghetto’s three synagogues still standing. A short distance away is the Ghetto Heroes Monument. Unveiled in 1948 on the fifth anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising, the monument recalls the immense courage of the Jewish resistance.

Today you can visit the Jewish Historical Institute, near the site of the former Great Synagogue. It stands on the site of the prewar Judaic Library, and is part museum, part library and research archive. The permanent exhibition here, “What were were unable to shout out to the world” is a moving look at authentic writings of the Ringelblum Archive. This is a unique collection of documents that are one of the world’s most significant testimonies about the extermination of Polish Jews.

The Jewish Cemetery, established in 1806, is one of the very few Jewish cemeteries still in use in Poland today. Scattered among the plots are the graves of eminent Polish Jews. Also worth seeking out is a powerful sculpted monument to Janusz Korczak, founder of the prewar orphanage.

Note: Some touring is on foot. Please be prepared to be outside and walking over cobblestones.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (4 Hours); Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Bristol Warsaw

Day 6
Warsaw | Warsaw

Today you will meet your guide and driver to explore more of Warsaw’s Jewish and WWII history.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience

This morning you have a private tour of the former villa of Jan Zabinski in the Warsaw Zoo. Dr. Zabinski was the director of the Warsaw Zoo before and during WWII. Upon the creation of the Warsaw Ghetto, Dr. Zabinski and his wife started hiding Jews in his villa and, unbelievably, in the Zoo itself. This was documented in Diane Akerman’s excellent book, The Zookeeper’s Wife.

Afterwards, you’ll have time for a short drive through of the Praga district, where the zoo is located. This area of the city wasn’t destroyed during WWII and it retains much of Warsaw’s original architecture. Today it’s slowly gentrifying into a hip district of galleries, contemporary street art, modern design and more. We love a stop at the quirky Neon Museum. Located in the Soho Factory, you will also find art studios, restaurants and this small private museum that allows you to look back in time. Here you will find over 200 neon signs that date back to the communist era and were designed by renowned graphic designers, artists and architects.

You will have ample time to explore the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN). This is a massive timeline of Jewish life in the region, stretching back 1000 years. Unlike many museums, this exhibit doesn’t focus on the Holocaust. Rather, it focuses on the development of Jewish life and community.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Bristol Warsaw

Day 7
Warsaw - Krakow | Warsaw - Krakow

Today you will have the chance to explore the fascinating Museum of the Warsaw Uprising. The museum, which opened on Aug. 1, 2004 to mark the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the fight for Warsaw, is a tribute paid by residents of the city to those who fought and died to bring freedom to Poland and its capital. The exhibition displays all aspects of the battle as well as everyday life in Warsaw against the background of the German Nazi occupation. More than 500 exhibit items, plus about 1,000 photographs, films and sound recordings, depict the days leading up to the outbreak of the uprising, its day-by-day development, the forced evacuation of the fighters from Warsaw, and their ordeal after their heroic fight was over. Don’t miss the short film, City in Ruins, at the end.

This afternoon, depart by express train to Krakow, the architectural gem of Poland. First class tickets are included and will be given to you locally.

Upon your arrival in Krakow you will be transferred to your hotel, where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

The untouched medieval splendor of Krakow is a miracle for having survived unscathed during World War II, and in fact, some locals believe that Krakow has been divinely blessed with an aura of peace. Medieval buildings surround the cavernous market hall and the central square, where street musicians serenade you in the evenings with folksongs.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours); Station Transfers with Assistants

Hotel: Unicus Palace

Day 8
Krakow | Krakow

Today your guide will introduce you to Krakow’s Old Town. The Gothic houses of the 13th-century burgesses remain, although they were rebuilt and given Renaissance or neoclassical facades. You will see the medieval Sukiennice, rebuilt in the 1550’s, is one of the most distinctive sights in the country – a vast cloth hall, topped by a sixteenth-century attic dripping with gargoyles. Its commercial traditions are perpetuated by a covered market, which bustles with tourists and street sellers at almost every time of the year.

If time allows, you can also stroll towards the beautiful Florian Gate, built around 1300 on one of the streets laid out according to the town plan of 1257.

Afterwards, your driver will meet you and will take you to Krakow’s former Jewish district, Kazimierz, to visit its most important Jewish heritage sights and to see the lively revitalization of the former ghetto. Step in the Old Synagogue, dating back from the 16th Century. You may also have a visit to the Remuh Synagogue and cemetery. The small Renaissance-style synagogue was built in the 16th Century and is one of the two that are still in use. Just behind the Remuh Synagogue, you will visit one of the most important Jewish cemeteries in Europe, which, although badly damaged during the Second World War, still holds some old tombstones.

This whole area was immortalized by Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List and has many shops and kosher restaurants with live traditional Jewish music.

Today you may also wish to visit the Galicia Jewish Museum, located a few minutes away from the Old Synagogue in Krakow’s Jewish Quarter. Housed in a former Jewish factory, it is dedicated not to just the death, but the life that the Jews lead in Galicia, today’s Malopolska region of Poland, which includes the city of Krakow. The permanent photographic exhibit on display shows the traces of Jewish memory that continue to linger in this region from the lives they lead prior to the Holocaust.

Note: Some touring today is on foot through mostly pedestrian areas. Please wear appropriate footwear.

Exeter Services: Vehicle & Driver (4 Hours); Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Unicus Palace

Day 9
Krakow | Krakow

This morning your driver and guide will meet you for your visit to the memorial at Auschwitz–Birkenau. Timing today is pending an appointment time at the camp. Auschwitz-Birkenau is located approximately 90 minutes outside of Krakow, near the industrial town of Oswiecim. Upon arrival, a special camp guide will meet you for a privately guided tour of the exhibits. Today Auschwitz is made of a series of barracks – each with its own displays – from luggage collected from prisoners, to seized prosthetics and more.

After your tour of Auschwitz, you will drive the short distance to Birkenau, where the majority of captives lived and died. A few barracks remain, as well as the railroad track that brought the prisoners to the selection process.

Back in the icty, your guide will take you to pay a visit to one our favorite historical museums. The actual factory of Oskar Schindler has been opened as a branch of the Krakow History Museum. It’s now a moving timeline of the history of Krakow from 1939 through 1945. You will see the changes in the city brought on by the Nazi occupation.

Exeter Services: Vehicle, Driver & Guide (8 Hours)

Hotel: Unicus Palace

Day 10
Departure | Krakow

You will meet you driver this morning to transfer to the airport to meet your departing flight.

Exeter Services: Departure Transfer

Meet a ballerina in St Petersburg
Extraordinary Experiences
VIEW VIEW page

Extraordinary Experiences

Discover our insider access Extraordinary Experiences.

VIEW PAGE
Exeter Experts Feb 2019
The Experts
VIEW VIEW page

The Experts

Meet the Experts that will make your trip extraordinary.

VIEW PAGE
Rovinj, Istria
View Our Destinations
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Destinations

Our specialty is in the countries that link East & West, both in Europe, and between Europe & Asia.

VIEW PAGE
Family travel
View Our Trip Types
VIEW VIEW page

View Our Trip Types

How do you like to travel? View your choices here.

VIEW PAGE