Join us in exploring Praga: The District on the Right Bank of the Vistula River
Taube Jewish Heritage Tours invites participants of the 38th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy for a journey through the core of the Praga district on right bank of the Vistula River, which bisects the city. Jews settled not only in Warsaw, but also in the Praga district, which was a separate city until 1791. A royal banker, Shmuel Zbytkower, was authorized to establish a Jewish Cemetery in Bródno, which served as the second Jewish cemetery for the metropolis until World War II. In the 19th century, the district was popular among Jews, and many streets were predominantly Jewish, with Praga being the second heart of Jewish Warsaw. In contradiction to left bank Warsaw, the tenements of Praga survived the war but the district was neglected by city authorities. Now the gentrifying district is considered to be the nascent Soho of Warsaw.
Our tour begins with a visit to the former mikvah complex. Of the entire Jewish community complex of buildings, including a unique round synagogue, only a mid-19th-century mikvah (ritual bathhouse) complex remains. After the war it was renovated and served as the office of the Central Jewish Committee, as well as a kosher butcher and later a preschool. Today, it is the Jacek Kuroń Secondary School.
We continue our tour via University Hall of Residence built in 1926 for Jewish university students. Among the students who lived here was Menachem Begin. We make a short stop at the Bazar Rozyckiego, once regarded as Warsaw’s premier bazaar, the rambling Różycki Bazaar has seen its popularity wane since 1989.
The tour continues to the Praga Zoo to visit a modernist-style villa where director Jan Żabiński and his wife, Antonina, sheltered over 200 people seeking refuge – mainly Jews escaping from the ghetto – during Nazi occupation. In 1965, the couple were awarded the Righteous Among the Nations. Their story was a base for a scenario of the film “The Zookeepers’ Wife”. The final stop is the Brodno Cemetery, which was Warsaw’s second Jewish necropolis, but was destroyed by the Germans. It is gradually being restored, with a new exhibition space opened in early 2018.
- Tour of the Jewish Praga, district of Warsaw, located on the right bank of the Vistula river with many traces of Jewish buildings
- Zabinski’s Villa, the site where the zookeeper and his family hid Jews during World War II.
- Brodno Cemetery. Initially, due to very low fees for burials, it was a cemetery for the poor, and even the homeless. Over time, the situation changed, and in the inter-war period representatives of many social classes were buried there. The graveyard was levelled by the Germans during the war and was neglected throughout the Communist period. Very few tombstones survived, as were used by the Germans as building material. For the last 25 years a meticulous work is under way to salvage as much as possible and to restore the site’s character and importance.
- Różyckiego Market, the oldest market in Warsaw. During Communism it was the most popular market in Poland and it was a center of the specific culture of the Praga district: dialect, food, music, games and a unique way of being.
Taube Jewish Heritage Tours is excited to take you on this special journey of discovery.
Let your curiosity get the better of you and join us to discover the secrets of Praga. On Taube Jewish Heritage Tours, you are not merely a passive observer, but rather, an active participant in memorable journeys into time and place!
Praga: the City on the Right Bank
Dates: Tuesday, August 7; Thursday, August 9
Times: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm and 1:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Meeting and ending point: lobby of the Hilton Warsaw Hotel and Convention Centre
Grzybowska Street 63
Price: 275 PLN/person
Number of people: max 25 people, min 10
Led by a professional guide and accompanied by a TJHT staff member throughout