European Tours

Tours in Poland Jewish Warsaw
Drive to the former Jewish Ghetto for a walk along memory lane. Stop at Umschlag Platz, the point where 300,000 Jews were deported to Treblinka. Visit the Old Cemetery (Okopowa) where prominent Polish Jews are buried. Visit the Jewish Historical Institute and Noszyk Synagogue.


Warsaw Overview
Walking tour of the charming Old Town with the Cathedral and lively Mariensztat Market Square, with its lovely outdoor cafes. View the magnificent Royal Castle and the reconstructed Barbican. Go by car to historic Lazienki Park with the Chopin monument and Old Orangerie. Stop for a nibble at the kosher restaurant "Na Kazimierzu" before driving via Oskar Schindler's former factory to Plaschow and other sights.


Krakow Tour
Krakow, the ancient capital of Poland on the Vistula River, is a beautiful city whose fairy-tale castle and centuries-old University spread out like a living museum around the vast and colourful Market Square with its Renaissance-style Cloth Hall and arcades leading to numerous shops. Visit the magnificent castle Wawel and the Coronation Cathedral perched high atop Wawel Hill. See Kazimierz, the former Jewish Quarter, whose original buildings remain intact. Visit the ancient Remuh Synagogue, where Jews still worship today, and the nearby Old Cemetery. Stop by the 14th century Alt Synagogue, recently

Auschwitz Death Camp
Make the hard trip to the infamous death camps Auschwitz and Birkenau. As you know, Auschwitz was the most horrible concentration camp, where approximately 2 millions Jews were killed. Visit Block 27 dedicated to the "kadoshim", the martyred Jewish brethren. (Note: the tour of the concentration camps lasts approx. 6 hours).



Tours in Austria
The following are available as private tours. Please contact us for rates and booking information.

Vienna Overview
Vienna is remarkable. Its eminent role in history, architecture (gorgeous churches and palaces), art (a myriad of treasures) and music combine to embody the phrase "Old World Charm". We start the tour at Belvedere Palace, a stunning Baroque structure that now houses one of Vienna's most impressive art collections (Medieval, Baroque, Viennese Art Nouveau, works of Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka). Designed as a summer palace for Prince Eugene of Savoy, it has been a sumptuous gilded retreat for princes, dukes and archdukes of the Hapsburg dynasty.


Tours in Hungary
It was not until the 13th century that any substantial Jewish community was established in Hungary. At that time, King Bela IV, desperate to restore Hungary’s economy after the devastating Mongol invasion, formally invited people with mercantile experience to enter the country. From that point on, Jewish communities emerged in almost all major Hungarian towns, including Buda, Sopron, Kőszeg, Komárom, Esztergom, and Székesfehérvár. Remnants of medieval synagogues exist today only in Buda and Sopron; such buildings were completely destroyed throughout the rest of the country.

Jews did indeed serve the purpose for which King Bela IV intended them and were instrumental in the economic revitalization of Hungary. Their disproportionate contributions to the country’s economic health and growth continued throughout the country’s history and well into the modern era. However, they remained segregated physically and culturally from the rest of the population until 1867, when the Austro-Hungarian Empire issued an edict emancipating its Jewish citizens. Then in 1895, Judaism was recognized as a legal minority religion. These reforms came at a time of rapid economic and industrial development in Hungary, and Jews began to take on even greater roles in encouraging this unprecedented modernization. The result was the gradual assimilation of the Jewish community into the larger Hungarian intellectual and cultural community. Jews quickly also became involved in the modern artistic movements that swept the country, and numbered among Hungary’s premier sculptors, painters, and architects.
Unfortunately, this unprecedented era of freedom soon came to an end. The First World War left Hungary scarred and broken and, looking to retain some national pride, the Hungarian government allied themselves with Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s. Simultaneously, the Hungarian parliament passed a series of three laws that curtailed all Jewish activities and eliminated basic rights. The deportation of Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz began almost immediately following the German occupation of Hungary on March 19, 1944. During this dark time Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and Carl Lutz, the Swiss Consul heroically issued forged visas allowing tens of thousands of Jews to escape to safety. However, many more perished: approximately 600,000 Hungarian Jews died in the Holocaust.

Following the Second World War, the few Jews left in Hungary found themselves again unable to practice Judaism as they would have wanted, as the Communist Regime instated in 1948 restricted religious life and made formal Jewish education nearly impossible. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, Hungarian Jews were finally able to expand and revive their community for the first time in over 50 years. Synagogues have been restored, new schools and cultural centers have opened and festivals have been established. Hungary is currently in the midst of a Jewish revival.


Tours in Germany
This tour will help you gain a better understanding of Berlin's complicated and tragic history. Visit Fasanenstrasse, the seat of the Jewish community in Berlin. The synagogue was destroyed on November 9th 1938; only the portal has survived to this day. The tour includes the following sites: Kufuerstendamm, the main shopping boulevard once berated by East German propaganda as a "symbol of Western opulence The Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, whose ruins serve as a reminder of World War II The Jewish Museum Complex — housing .exhibitions on the history of Jewish culture in Germany Lindenstrasse, the address of another former synagogue Checkpoint Charlie, the former East-West crossing point managed by U.S. troops — the Checkpoint Charlie museum nearby is dedicated to various successful, unsuccessful and ingenious attempts to get from East to West Remains of the Cold War and the Wall that divided Berlin for nearly 30 years Potsdamer Platz — a symbol of Berlin's renewal, it was The Centre of Berlin until it was consumed by the Wall, and has since been transformed from a strangely barren field into a showcase of 21st Century architecture. The site of Hitler's former bunker The site of the soon-to-be constructed Holocaust memorial The Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag (German Parliament) Berlin's Old Jewish Quarter and place of deportation to the concentration camps The New Synagogue and Jewish Cemetery The Nikolai Quarter, the oldest part of Berlin The Gendarmenmarket, often complimented as the most interesting square in Berlin Unter den Linden boulevard Charlottenburg palace and the site of the 1936 Olympic games.
Though we will drive between sites, there will be plenty of walking so be sure to wear your walking shoes!

Dresden
Just 2 hours from Berlin and 2 1/2 hours from Prague, a stop in Dresden is a pleasant way to break up the ride; Dresden also makes for a nice day-trip from either city. Besides having a charming downtown, a visit to Dresden is essential for understanding WWII history in Central Europe. The rococo Palace Zwinger houses a major collection of Renaissance art; the Gruenes Gewoelbe houses the richest treasury in Europe. See the town that after half a century is still recovering from WWII destruction. Only 30 miles (50 km) from Dresden you can visit Meissen, home of perhaps the world's best porcelain. If desired, you may visit the factory to see production first-hand … and perhaps find a bargain in the factory store.
Berlin & Munich Tour. As both cities are major airline destinations, either city may serve as the starting point of your tour.



Berlin
as the capital of Germany, always offers a rich selection of cultural events — concerts, operas, and exhibitions. The city's art collections, such as the Pergamon Museum, famous for its ancient Babylonian gateway, are known world-wide. Visit the places famous and infamous in our modern history (the reconstructed Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, remainders of the Berlin Wall).

Munich
is about a 6-hour drive from Prague and less than 2 hours from Salzburg. In addition to the city's many museums, visitors enjoy Munich's typically Bavarian atmosphere. The Jewish Museum in Munich displays the complicated history of the German Jews from its early beginnings, through the Crusades and right up until the Holocaust period. Within a year of coming to power, the Nazis established one of its first concentration camps on the outskirts of Munich. Till today this camp, Dachau, is an important reminder of Nazi brutality.


Passau
Driving south from Prague, you'll see the lovely contrast between the mild countryside and the Šumava mountains. Passau, just 1 hour from the Czech border, was established on a peninsula on the confluence of three rivers — the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz. The former Bishop's Castle offers a striking view of the historical town. In addition to its many monuments, Passau is famous for its rich collection of Bohemian glass — at 30,000 artefacts, the oldest of which dates from 1780, the collection is in fact the largest in the world.



Regensburg
This one-day trip offers a nice opportunity to view the similarities and differences between Bohemia and Bavaria. Regensburg, a small city on the Danube untouched during WWII, offers a typical mediaeval setting — marketplaces mingled with curved streets and tiny passages, with remnants from the Roman period waiting to be discovered. Recent archaeological research has discovered an old Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue, destroyed during a riot in 1519. It was from Regensburg that the first Jewish scholars came to Prague and founded the first Yeshiva.


luba.poleva@seznam.cz, poleva@guide-prague.cz |