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Concentration Camp/WWII sites Itinerary round 2 with corrections

I would appreciate feedback and suggestions on my plan for touring Poland July 17-Aug. 10.

17-Arrive by air from Budapest 10:25 am. Taxi or bus to apartment to drop bag, then enter Schindler’s Factory 1pm.
18-Auschwitz study tour 9-3. Reservation to re-enter at 5pm if needed.
19-walking tour of Old Town/Jewish Quarter. Wawel Castle/ Cathedral etc.
20-Museum of Home Army, Jewish Kazimierz and Plaszow, ?

21- train Krakow to Radom to Lublin arriving noon. Drop bags at apt. and explore/walking tour.
Check at Majdanek for possible Sobibór tour.
22- Sobibór if possible. Bus to Wlodawa, taxi to camp.
23-Belzec death camp by bus to Zamosc to Belzec. Tour Zamosc and Rotunda after camp.
24- Majdanek

25-train to Gdansk arriving by noon. Drop bags and explore/walking tour
26- WWII museum 10-7
27- WWII museum 10-7
28- Stutthof concentration camp
29- Malbork Castle
30- Solidarity Center and Shipyard

31-train to Toruń : walking tour Old Town. Train to Warsaw
01-Warsaw Uprising Museum 8-8
02-Warsaw Museum 10-7. Palmiry Memorial site
03-Museum of the History of Polish Jews 10-8pm
04-Jewish Martyrdom and Struggle Memorial Route. Royal Way Walk and Old Town
05-Treblinka 9-6:30
06-Lodz ghetto
07-Chelmno / Waldlager 10-6
10- Depart Warsaw-Frankfurt-SFO

Posted by
6569 posts

I've been to a few Holocaust museums and Dachau, and found them mostly done in good taste.
We have a Jewish relative that was on the last U.S. ship to leave Hamburg, Germany in 1938. She's now 96 years old and still doing great. She had her mother, gather and only 3 cousins--and the rest didn't make it.
But do you really need to immerse yourself in so much WW II Holocaust sites?

Posted by
12353 posts

Your itinerary this time is focusing on seeing all 6 of the extermination centers, set up as such.

Majdanek was the first of the six to be liberated when the Red Army crossed into eastern Poland, ie, west of the Curzon Line. The Soviets waited a week before announcing to the world the horrors they had encountered there.

On the two days left open in Warsaw, you can plug in the Army/Military Museum.

Posted by
26 posts

Thank you Marduk. With all my research I had never seen the Traces of War website, or considered the point you raised. I appreciate your help. Judy

Fred, thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by
5980 posts

judy, please report back on your return. I haven't been to any of those camps you listed, but my understanding is that most only have memorials, and none of the original buildings or facilities remain for visiting.

Posted by
12353 posts

@ Judy...You're welcome.

Should you want to pursue the topic rarely discussed in Anglophone historiography on the horrors of the war in the East in 1944-45, I heartily suggest the British historian and researcher, P. Bruttar's, "The Battle for Prussia," published in the early years of the 21st century. Some of the history of the ensuing Vertreibung (Expulsion) is dealt with too.

For a more concentrated focus on Poland in 1944-45 pertaining to the war, then I heartily recommend the British historian, N. Davies. Like Bruttar his works are enlightening, scholarly, poignant, thorough. From the mid-1990s Davies' works focused on the grim history of Poland in the war.

Posted by
3769 posts

Judy, we have just visited one concentration camp and agree with comments you have received from previous posts that it is an overwhelming emotional experience, so you should try to schedule some balance time, too. But, the reason I’m responding is that I sincerely hope that you will share a trip report on the forum after you return and have time to process your experience! Thank you!

Posted by
26 posts

Hm, my previous message is gone... Anyway.

You missed Westerplatte in Gdansk, a place where WWII started.

Also, take a look at Grunwald Battle - huge medieval reenactment event. July 15
And a smaller one SIege of Malbork, July 19-21.
Maybe worth to make some changes to the plan if it's interesting for you.

Posted by
12353 posts

In Krakow is the big (I mean big) battlefield monument to the Grunwald battle of 1410, ca 20mins (?) from the Krakow Glowny, saw it in 2001.

Posted by
2212 posts

I agree with Nick and Fred too, Poland has a long and illustrious history, don't just limit to WWII.

Posted by
12353 posts

Ouite right. Keep in mind that it was the Polish king who saved Vienna in 1683 (Die Belagerung von Wien). Not far from the Albertina is the church where he attended. You can see the plaque there attesting to that along with the date.

Part of that illustrious history: The Poles stuck with Napoleon all the way to Waterloo.

Posted by
2212 posts

@Fred Yes... unfortunately Napoleon had a talent for manipulating different ethnic groups, he tantalizingly dangled the promise of independence for the recently subjugated Polish people (after the partitions). A bit like Hitler did to the Slovaks/Croats during WWII.

Posted by
1250 posts

If you want a general history of Poland, I can recommend the Adam Zamoyski book "Poland, A History". He covers the complicated, centuries old history in an easily understood way. I had no idea that Poland had such a rich and varied history.

We went to Gdansk last Autumn and loved it. I'd agree with others that you might go to Westerplatte if you're interested in the War. It's very worthwhile and it's easy to get to from the town centre by regular boat (which gives good views of the shipyards along the way). Another, minor, War sight is the Polish Post Office museum which is worth a quick visit.

If you're arriving/departing from the Gdansk main railway station, there is a moving monument to the Kindertransport called "the departure" . There is another one in London depicting the same children called "the arrival".

Posted by
12353 posts

@ Carlos...True, I agree with your basic point that Napoleon was never really serious in Polish independence as long as they remained loyal to France. He did set up the Grand Duchy of Warsaw after he had beaten all of Poland's traditional enemies...the Austrians, Russians, and Prussians.

Posted by
12353 posts

@ Carlos....Thanks very much for the link. Fantastic!

Another reason to go back to Krakow. I didn't know of this museum in 2001 when I was there.

Posted by
26 posts

Thanks everyone! Please keep the ideas coming. I will add Westerplatte and watch for the monument
near the main train station in Gdansk. The museum mentioned in Krakow sounds intriguing as well.

I will attempt to finish the history book before departure 😄

Posted by
908 posts

Have you read the novel Lilac Girls? I just finished it for book club. I found the post-War II section of the novel the most interesting. I'm bringing it up because one of the main characters and her family are from Lublin, and it involves transport from Lublin Castle.

Posted by
26 posts

Rachel, I have it but haven’t read it yet. I’ll get going!

Posted by
5980 posts

judy, on the eastern side, north of Lublin, is the Bialowieska Forest park area (I think its a World Heritage site) where the last of the European bison live. Not been there but something different from cities.

Posted by
12353 posts

@ Judy...While you are in Gdansk, if interested and having some time, you could visit another war-related site. The German Military Cemetery is ca one Kilometer from the city center Zentrum, located on " ul. Gen. H. Dabrowskiego 2. "

It's called: Deutsches Kriegsgräberfeld auf dem Garnisonsfriedhof. It pertains to WW1 and the 1870-71 war plus a small one on WW2.

As you'll be visiting Warsaw and Krakow, I would also suggest , as you are out and about, looking for the big memorial to Katyn.

In both cities I saw a big, unmistakable memorial to the event of Katyn.

Posted by
15 posts

If you're planning IIWW tour around Poland then add Poznan as it has:
- Imperial Castle which interiors were re-made during IIWW as a copy of Berlin's HQ's
- 3 maths geniuses from Poznan Uni craked Enigma code
- in Poznan worked the very 1st gas chamber during IIWW (October 1939)
- you will find graves of the some heroes of The Great Escape...

That's IIWW alone, but as other said Poland's history is rich and reaches way beyond IIWW...
It's worth to see and experience our country...

I am organising & guiding private tours around Poland so my answer might not be objective but based on some experince :)