Taube Jewish Heritage Tours is an official tour provider for the award-winning POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw as well as the annual Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, the largest such festival in the world.
Walking Warsaw’s streets or smelling the sea air of Gdańsk on the Baltic coast, studying the architecture of Łódź or dancing in the market squares of Kraków, our travelers don’t just witness the sites from the sidelines, they actively engage in transformative journeys that continue long after they’ve returned home.
Books or documentaries can only bring you so far – nothing compares to actually being in Poland, where so much of our Ashkenazi heritage took root and developed centuries ago and continues to this day. Taube Jewish Heritage Tours are designed to go well beyond the usual guided tour, facilitating intimate, memorable, life-changing experiences.
Toward these objectives, we partner with major cultural and academic institutions in Poland to create Specialty Tours for the inquisitive, adventurous traveler like yourself. The two tour offerings below were developed in partnership with two award-winning museums: the Galicia Jewish Museum, in Kraków, and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, in Warsaw.
Galicia was a province of the Austro-Hungarian empire which came into being when Poland was partitioned between three great powers at the end of the 18-century (Austria-Hungary, Tsarist Russia, and Prussia). Consequently, Poland disappeared from the map of Europe for the next 125 years. At the end of WWI, Poland reappeared as an independent nation and this time it was Galicia that disappeared from the map as a distinct geo-political entity. Its territory was incorporated into the newly independent Polish democratic republic. After the upheavals of WWII, the boundaries were changed once again. The territory of old Galicia was divided in half: that which would had once been eastern Galicia was given to Ukraine, and Poland kept only the western half. But the memory of the region remains very strong, both among local people and also among the descendants of Jews who were born there. The most important cities of western Galicia were Kraków, Katowice and Oświęcim, and the shtetls include Chielmnik and Myślenice; the historic cities of eastern Galicia include Lviv and Drohobych.
On both our 8-day (below) and 10-day tours, we travel the breadth of Galicia, across Poland and Ukraine.
Day One: Jewish Kraków – Richness of the Past, Challenges of the Present
- Welcome at the Galicia Jewish Museum by Museum Director followed by a tour through the exhibitions
- Guided tour of Kazimierz, Kraków’s Jewish district: Visit its seven synagogues, walk through the hub of Kraków’s Jewish revival, and meet with representatives of Krakow organizations and institutions related to Jewish life
- Panel discussion: Revival of Jewish Life in Poland: Achievements, Challenges, & Hopes with panelists comprising of a Professor of Jewish Studies at Jagiellonian University; the Deputy Director of the Jewish Culture Festival in Kraków; and the Director of the Galicia Jewish Museum; and the Director of JCC Krakow
- Dinner; Overnight in Kraków
Day Two: Restoring a Forgotten Heritage – From Oblivion to Memory
- Visit Będzin for a guided tour of the Hurtownia Manufaktury trail, the Cemetery on Castle Hill, and the Mizrachi Synagogue; visit Cukierman Gate and meet with representatives of the Cukierman Gate Foundation; Lunch
- Return to Kraków
- Shabbat dinner at JCC Krakow; Overnight in Kraków
- Morning Shabbat services
- Guided tour of the site of the former Kraków Ghetto and the Schindler Factory Museum
- Evening on your own
- Havdala; Overnight in Kraków
Day Four: Non-Jewish Guardians of Memory
- Bochnia for a tour of the Jewish cemetery
- Nowy Sącz, where you will meet with representatives of the Sądecki Sztetl organization, and take a guided walking tour, followed by lunch
- Zbylitowska Góra for a brief tour
- Dinner, Overnight in Tarnów
Day Five: Jewish Galicia
- Brzostek for a tour the Jewish cemetery, a lecture delivered by Dr. Jonathan Webber, and a meeting with local authorities.
- Rzeszów for a guided walking tour and lunch
- Dynów for a guided walking tour, including a visit to the Center for the History of Polish Jews, and a tour of the Jewish cemetery
- Dinner; Overnight in Przemyśl
Day Six: The Diversity of Heritage
- Cross the Polish/Ukrainian border at Medyka
- Sambir for a tour of the synagogue and Jewish cemetery
- Drohobych for lunch
- Stryi to see the ruins of the Great Synagogue, and commemorate at the mass execution site in Holobutiv
- Lviv for a tour of the former Jewish Quarter, including seeing the ruins of the Golden Rose Synagogue, and visits to Jakub Glanzer’s Synagogue – Lviv Sholom Aleichem Jewish Culture Society and the Cori Gilod Synagogue
- Dinner; Overnight in Lviv
Day Seven: Day in Lviv
- Free morning
- Visit the Center for Urban History of East-Central Europe
- Meet with representatives of the local Jewish community “Beis Aharon V’Yisrael”
- Free evening
- Overnight in Lviv
- Zhovkva for a guided walking tour
- Cross the Polish/Ukrainian Border
- Visit the site of the Bełżec Death Camp
- Leżajsk for a tour the Jewish cemetery and Hasidic synagogue, followed by lunch
- Return to Kraków
- Final dinner and wrap up session
Museum Without Walls
Museum Without Walls
Taube Jewish Heritage Tours and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews share a common goal to enable visitors from around the world to understand Poland’s multicultural landscape and the centuries’ old Jewish culture that developed in Poland.
With the POLIN Museum’s core exhibition as the entry point, TJHT’s itineraries for its Museum Without Walls making use of the museum as our base, we explore Poland’s 1000-year Jewish history, starting with the museum’s state-of-the-art exhibition galleries, and then fanning out to relevant sites in cities and villages across Poland. This special journey illuminates why Jews settled in Poland, how Jewish communities grew into the epicenter of the Jewish world up to WWII, what distinguishes Polish Jews from other Jews, what were the enduring cultural contributions they made, and what happened to those who returned to Poland after the Holocaust.
- Learn about the Paradisus Iudaeorum, the Jewish Paradise, as you visit sites related to Jewish self-government in medieval and early modern eras, including the Council of Four Lands (Vaad Arba Aratsot) and the legacy of prominent religious authorities.
- Visit former shtetls in Warsaw, Łódź, Kraków, Ger, Lublin, and Białystok, and learn about daily Jewish life in the marketplace and synagogue. Explore how the 19th-century partitions shaped contemporary Jewish identities of Litvaks and Galicianers in Vilnius and Lviv respectively. Follow the footsteps of prominent reformers who modernized Jewish life as well as Jewish entrepreneurs and philanthropists, such as Israel Poznański, the cotton king of Łódź.
- Discover inspiring texts and places related to the literary lives of authors such as I.B. Singer, Y.L. Peretz or the writers connected with Tłomackie 13, or poets like Władysław Szlengel and Julian Tuwim.
- Encounter the postwar life of the 280,000 Polish Jews who survived the war and endeavored to rebuild their communities in Poland. Meet the movers and shakers responsible for the rebirth of Jewish culture in after the fall of Communism.
As further example, the Warsaw-based walking tours offer segments titled “The Secret Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto”; “The Urban Kibbutz Movement;” and “Jewish Soldiers and Resistance Fighters in WWI and WWII.” The Kraków-based tours include segments such as “The UNESCO Heritage Sites in the Historic Jewish District Kazimierz”; and “The Jewish ‘Rockefellers’ Who Developed Poland’s Early-20th Century Oil Industry”. In the city of Łódź, we show you “Jewish Contributions to the Arts and Industrial Modernization.” The tours are enriched by workshops, meetings and lectures, and cultural events.
The 10-Day itinerary includes Warsaw, Góra Kalwaria (Ger), Auschwitz, Kraków & Kazimierz, Łódź, Kazimierz Dolny, Lublin, Chmielnik and Szydłów.