Please sign in to post.

Travel from Berlin to liegnitz

My mother was born in Liegnitz in 1916; it was her beloved home until 1939 when she had to leave. She passed away last year. I would love to see where she grew up; sadly we didn't do this while she was still alive. Has anyone been recently to Liegnitz( Legnica )? Is there anything that can be seen from pre-WW2? What about street names; in Polish only or Polish/German? I speak German and English but not Polish. I have heard about periodic tours from Germany to Silesia;how can this be arranged from the U.S? What about hotel accommodations and the languages spoken? How long is the trip by car or bus from Berlin to Liegnitz? Any information would be greatly appreciated.[enter link description here][1]

[1]: http://Trip from Berlin to Liegnitz

Posted by
12103 posts

Hi,

Well, I passed through Liegnitz... not recently but in 2001 on the train from Krakow to Berlin, direct, only saw the parts of the station. The train station sign shows only "Legnica" (famous battle site too). What I have seen in towns/cities formerly German, visited such as in West Prussia, Gdansk, Malbork, Torun, Chelmno on my three trips there, the street names are all in Polish, as are signs pointing to cultural and historical sites, which include English, sometimes German too. . But regarding these signs you'll see Polish and English. You speak German..great. In Gdansk at the Pension the two women who ran it didn't speak English or refused to do, so among the 3 languages (Polish, Russian, German) available to them, I used German, which came in very handy due to a discrepancy on the final bill,,,another story, but they saw they were wrong. In Chelmno at a restaurant for lunch I used German but that waitress spoke English just as well as German. At the small hotel in Torun and restaurant I used English. In the hotels expect the staff to be professional speaking to you in very good English. Some speak also German, very accommodating. If you go by train and the station clerk is limited in English, they'll get someone better to answer your questions. My last trip was in 2005 (Torun)...not too recent , I know but I've witnessed/experienced what is described above. In restaurants expect to see them in Polish, German, English, etc. although I did see a menu in a border town the other side of Küstrin an der Oder only in Polish and German.

"Is there anything that can be seen from pre-WW2?" The answer to that, historically, is no, unless you mean churches stemming from the Middles Ages that have been restored, refurbished, etc, but the historical German names are gone. What I saw was mainly in the lower Vistula valley, which is not where you want to go. I looked for the same from a historical perspective. Only some farms/houses I saw from the bus going from Torun to Chelmno (used to be called Kulm in Kulmerland/West Prussia were most likely German in terms of the colour paint and building style.

Going by train Berlin to "Legnica" you'll probably have to change in Wroclaw or Cottbus (Ger). Expect it to be a long haul.

Posted by
12103 posts

Hi,

One more thing....yes, you can arrange tours to Silesia from Germany. I only know that can be done through a travel agent in Germany just as tours from Germany to Kaliningrad (the former Königsberg, capital of East Prussia). I know a person who did that.

Posted by
16769 posts

If you search for "Legnica tourist information," you'll get mostly private travel agencies like http://www.staypoland.com/about_legnica.htm, but that seems like a good start. Lonely Planet and viamichelin.com web sites also have some info, as does Google Maps.

The simplest bus/train combo departs outside Berlin Hbf train station about 11:40 and takes 5.25 hours with one connection. To confirm schedules for your actual travel date, How to Look Up Train Schedules and Routes Online gives you the DB train schedule link and tips for using it.

Posted by
865 posts

Is there anything that can be seen from pre-WW2?

Yes, a few houses here and there, and the churches of course. Almost the entire old town, which survived the war relatively well, was destroyed in the early 1960s. Preserved are mostly buildings with a relation to Poland, i.e. medieval churches, or things related to the medieval Piast dynasty, which was considered Polish (although the Silesian Piasts were Germanized in the Middle Ages).
BTW: the sepulchral monument of the last Piast is in Legnica.

What about street names; in Polish only or Polish/German?

Only Polish of course. For 40 years the Polish Commies did everything to destroy the German heritage, which included street signs, which were either translated if they hadn't a German connection (like church street), or renamed if they had one. Todays street names usually have no connection to the German past.
On the other hand: in Legnica (most of?) the cemeteries survived, unlike in Wroclaw, where all of them, except the two Jewish ones, were destroyed in the early 1970s.
If you want to know more about the time between 1945 and 1990 I recommend this book:
Uprooted: How Breslau Became Wroclaw during the Century of Expulsions

I have heard about periodic tours from Germany to Silesia;how can this
be arranged from the U.S? What about hotel accommodations and the
languages spoken? How long is the trip by car or bus from Berlin to Liegnitz?

Forget Berlin and stay in Görlitz instead. Görlitz is the easternmost German town and directly on the German/Polish border. Historically the town wasn't Silesian but Upper Lusatian, but shared most of the history with Silesia, and after WW2 many expelled Silesians settled there. Today Görlitz has a mixed Upper Lusatian/Silesian heritage, and because of that it's the best place stay if you want to know how Silesia was before 1945. The Silesian museum there is a must. Görlitz is also completely preserved and, with 4.000 listed buildings, one of the most beautiful German towns.
From there you can take the train to Legnica, which is just ~1h away, or rent a car.