Ashkenazi Trilogy- A Jewish Heritage tour Krakow, Prague, Vienna, Budapest

“The idea I have developed is an ancient one: It is the restoration of the Jewish State…The decisive factor is our propelling force. And what is that force? The plight..

“The idea I have developed is an ancient one: It is the restoration of the Jewish State…The decisive factor is our propelling force. And what is that force? The plight of the Jews…

We are a people, one people.

We have sincerely tried everywhere to merge with the national communities in which we live, seeking only to preserve the faith of our fathers. It is not permitted us. In vain are we loyal patriots, sometimes super loyal; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to enhance the fame of our native lands in the arts and sciences, or her wealth by trade and commerce. In our native lands where we have lived for centuries, we are still decried as aliens, often by men whose ancestors had not yet come at a time when Jewish sighs had long been heard in the country… Oppression and persecution cannot exterminate us. No nation on earth has endured such struggles and sufferings as we have. Wherever we remain politically secure for  any length of time, we assimilate. I think this is not praiseworthy… Palestine is our unforgettable historic homeland… ”

Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), 1896

Krakow, Poland

Poland Jewish History

Prior to World War II, Poland was the guiding light of world Jewry for almost 1,000 years: religious studies flourished and major developments in secular Jewish culture took root. Home to 3.5 million Jews prior to World War II, Poland had the largest Jewish community in Europe. Poland is where we come from.

More than 70 percent of American Jews trace their lineage to Poland, and 60 percent of Jews living in Israel come from families with roots in Poland. Poland is central to the construction of Jewish people. Poland is also thought of as the cradle of Ashkenazi heritage, which has shaped present-day North American Jewish communities and Israeli national culture.

This narrative is often understandably overshadowed by the Holocaust and the void that it left. However, the story of Judaism in Poland did not end with the Holocaust. This is clear when one looks at the Holocaust survivors and their descendants, Poland’s post-war Jewish generations, who are claiming their heritage and identity with fearlessness, intelligence, and vision for the Jewish future.

The renaissance of Jewish communal and cultural life in Poland is a post-Holocaust, post-Communist phenomenon of a leading, emerging democracy in the European Union. This new democracy has allowed the truth about Jewish life in Poland to emerge through education reforms that foster a growing intolerance of anti-Semitism and an inclusion of Jewish participation in civil society. Polish Jewish youth are eager to participate in this democracy, and continue to fight against anti-Semitism in all of its forms.

“The flowering of Judaism has gone hand in hand with the flowering of democracy. Jews have historically suffered where democracy suffers and thrived where democracy thrives. This has been the historical model for hundreds of years. What is happening now in Poland is a replay of conditions that have benefited Jews and Judaism historically. It is exciting to see the interest of non-Jewish Poles in things Jewish. ”  By Dr. Arnold Eisen, Chancellor, Jewish Theological Seminary


Krakow arrival

Individual arrivals Krakow, transfer to hotel

2:30-5:30pm Meet at hotel’s lobby for intro tour of Krakow

You will start with the Royal Castle and Cathedral on the Wawel Hill which were remodeled according to the new Renaissance taste in the beginning of the 16th century. It is the place where Polish kings were crowned and buried here. Afterwards, drive to the Old Town with the Main Market Square with magnificent houses and palaces. In the middle of the square is the Cloth Hall built before 1349, but altered in 16th century with many shopping stalls inside.

7:00pm Welcome dinner at restaurant Kogel Mogel (included)

Overnight Krakow

austria jewish toursDAY 2


Breakfast at hotel

9am. Meet your guide at hotel’s lobby for Krakow tour.

Visit to Kazimirecz district – that part of Krakow until the WW II was inhabited by the Jews, and could serve as a model of Jewish life in the Diaspora. Drive into the labyrinth of streets and alleyways – where else in the Diaspora where streets named after figures from the Old Testament – Jacob, Isaac, Joseph. Visit the famous Remuh Synagogue, named after the great Cracovian rabbi and scholar Moses Isserles, and the museum of the Jewish life in Cracow at the Old Synagogue.  See evocative memorial to the victims of the Krakow Ghetto.

Visit to The Eagle Pharmacy – since year 1910 its proprietor was Jozef Pankiewicz, and after him his son, who ran it since 1933. Before the war the clients of the pharmacy, one of the four in Podgorze, were both Polish and Jewish residents of the district. When in March of 1941 Germans established a Podgorze ghetto for Kraków’s Jews, Pankiewicz’s pharmacy at the Place Zgody was the only one found in its limits, and its proprietor was the only Pole with rights to stay in it.

Pharmacy was the place of Jewish intellectuals meetings, scientists and artists that lived in the ghetto. Soon it also started delivering to ghetto residents various resources and medicaments.

Today, it presents exhibition “The Holocaust of Kraków’s Jews”, the role of Kraków’s pharmacist, the meaning of Pharmacy The Eagle Pharmacy in the tragic World War II .

Visit the newly opened museum located in the former Oscar Schindler’s Factory. The main exhibition “Krakow Under Nazi Occupation, 1939-1945” shows the dramatic choice that people made. Key phases of the period come in for special attention, including notorious Sonderaktion of November 1939 (during which183 people were arrested, most of the university professors), as well as the creation and liquidation of the Jewish Ghetto. “Krakow Under Nazi Occupation: 1939- 1945″ showcase life during the war for Poles and Jews, concentrating at least some of its narrative on the disruption of Polish-Jewish relations against the backdrop of Nazi brutality.

Return to hotel approximately 4pm.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight Krakow.

austria jewish toursDAY 3


Breakfast at hotel

8:30am meeting at hotel’s lobby for visit of Auschwitz.

9:30am – 1pm approximately 3.5-4 hr tour with local guide.

Auschwitz – Birkenau considered as the biggest Nazi’s concentration camp, Auschwitz- Birkenau was established on 14th June 1940 and liberated in January 1945. About 1.5 million people of 28 nationalities lost their lives here, mostly Jews. Prisoners were unloaded onto the specially designed ramps, poisoned with Zyclon B fumes and burned in piles or crematories.

austria jewish toursFellow prisoners were forced to service the gas chambers and assist the cremation of the bodies and their robbing.

During the camp evacuation in January 1945, thousand of inmates died in so-called death march.

When the camp was liberated there were about 7 000 prisoners, all in terrible conditions.

1.30 pm – travel back to Krakow and afternoon at leisure

07.00 pm – dinner and concert at Klezmer Hois Restaurant.

Overnight Krakow


Krakow – Prague

Breakfast at hotel, Check out.

8:00am departure for Prague via Wieliczka Salt mine.

9:00am. Visit Wieliczka, which is famous for one of the oldest salt mines in Europe, which has been in operation for at least 700 years. The oldest part of the mine is opened to the public as a museum. Our route in the mine leads you through galleries, chambers and chapels on three levels. All altarpieces, figures and monuments there are carved is salt. The highlight is the richly ornamented Chapel of St. Kinga. The Wieliczka Salt Mine was placed in 1978 on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list.

11.00 am. Depart from Wieliczka to Prague /cca 6 hours drive/ – planning at least two stops for refreshment , Arrival in Prague

Overnight Prague

austria jewish toursDAY 5


Breakfast at hotel.

9:30am. Meet your guide in hotel’s lobby for full day tour of Prague including Castle district, Old town and Jewish quarter.

Jews have lived in Prague since 970 A.D. Until 1939, Prague was for many centuries one of the most important Jewish centers in Europe. Prague is the Czech’s Republic capital and its international showpiece.

From magnificent Prague Castle to Wenceslas Square in the heart of the city, Prague rewards visitors with a diverse range of attractions, most situated within walking distance of each other.

austria jewish toursThe Charles Bridge, flanked on either side by statues of monarchs and saints, serves as a timeless symbol of Prague’s medieval history, while the Jewish quarter, adjacent to the old town square, is a constant reminder of the Nazi occupation during World War Two. Having survived the centuries with its medieval architecture intact, Prague is one of the best-preserved capitals in Europe as well as being one of the most easily accessible of the great cities of Eastern Europe. Its historical legacy is only matched by its status as a European cultural center.  The Prague’s River Moldau was immortalized in the symphonic poem of Czech composer Bedrich Smetana.

The Prague Jewish Quarter Walking Tour traces the history of what was once the largest Jewish ghetto in Europe. This moving story embraces the traditions, customs and legends of the Jewish people in Prague, from their early settlements in the 10th century, through the poverty of the pogrom refugees, their successes and their enforced isolation.

Private guide, transfer and entrance fees included.

8:30pm (possible change to 7:30pm, Schedule is subject to reconfirmation)

Optional: Evening concert/cruise/dinner at Jazzboat.

Overnight Prague.

austria jewish toursDAY 6


Breakfast at hotel

9:30am Meet your guide at hotel’s lobby for a day trip to Terezin and Melnik Castle.

Terezin Concentration camp

The town and fortress of Terezin were founded in 1780 by Joseph II in neo-Classicist style. The Small  Fortress  was turned  into a Nazi concentration camp run by the Gestapo in June 1940, by the end of  war over  90 000 prisoners had passed through its gates. In February 1942 the town of Terezin itself  became a Jewish ghetto and 160 000 Jews from 35 different  countries were brought here in ‘transit’ to execution camps. The Nazis used propaganda to deceive Red Cross, claiming it was a ‘town for the Jews’.

After Terezin, Continue to Melnik castle . About 30km north of Prague, the town of Melník lies on a high ridge overlooking the junction of Bohemia’s two greatest rivers, the Labe and the Vltava.

The location has been inhabited since at least the 9th century, when it was a fortress of the Psovan tribe. These river valleys from Prague to the wide bend of the Labe at Roudnice were the heartland of the earliest Czechs; the original Slavic settlers who arrived in Bohemia during the great migration of nations in the sixth and seventh centuries AD. Guide, transportation and entrance fees are included.

5pm . Return to Prague.

Dinner on your own.

Overnight Prague.


Prague – Cezky Krumlov – Vienna

Breakfast at hotel.

8:30am Meet your driver at hotel’s lobby for private transfer to Vienna via Cezky Krumlov.

On the way, visit delightful historic castle town Cesky Krumlov a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a lively, cosmopolitan town with a unique atmosphere surrounded by unspoiled countryside.

Arrival 11:00 am walk with the local guide approximately 2 hours.

Dominated by a Castle stretching over the meandering Vltava River, Cesky Krumlov’s narrow cobblestone streets wind along romantic nooks between patrician houses where you’ll find attractive exhibits of world- renown artists, music festivals and concerts, and theater performances.

1:00pm, lunch at restaurant Satlava

Continue to Vienna

6:30-7:00pm approximately, arrival Vienna late afternoon, check into hotel.

Overnight Prague.


austria jewish tours


Breakfast at hotel.

9:00am. Meet your guide in hotel’s lobby for full day tour of Vienna.

Get to know the glory of Imperial Vienna – once the center of the powerful Habsburg Empire – on a route around the city’s famous Ringstrasse. Home to palatial monuments a plenty, the ring road boasts grandiose buildings like Vienna Rathaus, the city’s beautiful town hall. See the Lavish former home of the Habsburgs – Schoebrunn Palace (interior visit 1 hour included).

Over the centuries, there have been few times, if any, where so many dominant individuals – both good and evil – were in the same city at about the same time in Vienna during the two decades before the collapse of European civilization in 1914.

Although our journey of Jewish history will begin in the Middle Ages, our emphasis will be on the Fin de Siecle period (late 19th and early 20th century) in Vienna. At a time when Berlin was hardly a generation removed from being a Prussian garrison town, and Paris was torn apart by the Dreyfus Affair, Vienna was considered the most civilized city on the continent of Europe.

Vienna, it was thought, had a stable, secure heart – that beat in 3/4 waltz time. This was of course a myth. The great majority of turn of the century Viennese culture was promoted, nourished, and even created by Viennese Jews. More than half of Vienna’s physicians and dentists were Jews; more than 60% of the city’s lawyers were Jews. Unlike their less fortunate brethren in the shtetls of Russia, Jews in Vienna had no fear of pogroms and were able to enter into the middle class.

The first Jewish museum in the world was founded in Vienna in 1895.

As in Germany, the goal of Habsburg Empire Jews was assimilation into the overall society.

Approaches to assimilation were varied. Gustav Mahler converted to Catholicism to secure his appointment as Music Director of the Vienna State Opera. Sigmund Freud remained a Jew, but, denied a position of professor at the University of Vienna because he was a Jew, kept his newly created field of psychoanalysis outside the anti-Semitic hostility of the university establishment.

Theodor Herzl, a pro-German assimilationist in his early career, saw that assimilation was futile and turned to Zionism as the solution for European Jewry.

This tour also will give you an overview over the eventful and often very tragic Jewish history of the city. You will learn about Jewish life in the city from its earliest beginnings, about the medieval synagogue as well as the early 19th-century City Temple in Seitenstettengasse, about the destruction of Vienna’s Jewish community in the Shoah, and its re-birth. There is not enough time to visit these sites inside, but we will be passing the Gestapo Memorial, the Jewish Textile Quarter around Rudofsplatz, the Austrian Documentation Archive and the new Holocaust Memorial on Judenplatz.

This orientation tour of Vienna with walking Jewish sites ends approximately at 3pm.

3:00-6pm Free time. We suggest Visit museums in Vienna

Or immerse yourself in Viennese café culture… Viennese coffee house is known around the globe for its informal pleasantness. Traditional cafés entice with a wide variety of coffee drinks, international newspapers and pastry creations. Since 2011, the traditional Viennese coffee house culture has even belonged to the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. Modern representatives of the genre enrich the tradition with stylish flair. A close relative of the café is the pastry shop. Their specialty, pies and cakes, are the icing on Vienna’s dolce vita in the form of Bundt cake and Sachertorte.

6:30pm  dinner at restaurant Himmelpforte /near the hotel and concert hall – Konzerthaus

8:30pm Optional Mozart concert or Opera.

Overnight Vienna


Vienne- Bratislava- Budapest

Breakfast at hotel. Check out.

9:00 am meet in the lobby for departure to Budapest with stop and tour of Bratislava, Slovakia.

10:30am arrival Bratislava.

Stop 2 hours in Bratislava with private guide

Bratislava was for centuries an important center of Jewish life. Jewish presence in the medieval city was regulated by the municipal charter granted to Bratislava by King Andrew III Arpad, in 1291. One section of the document stipulated that the Jews had right to reside within the city walls, elect their own mayor and pay taxes directly to the King. Later, the Jews were expelled from the city on several occasions, the last time in 1526. In 1599, they returned to Bratislava, but not to the town proper. Invited by Count Puffy, they settled in a narrow zone between the castle hill and the city fortifications. The so-called Judengasse, a part of the area controlled by the Castle, remained the only place Jews were allowed to live until 1840. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Bratislava became an important center of Jewish learning. The Chatam Sofer established a famous yeshiva (rabbinic school), and at the same time his opponents in the Community opened a modern Jewish primary school. Later, there were two Jewish communities in Bratislava, the Orthodox and Neolog, each of them with its own large synagogue. Most Bratislava Jews were killed the Holocaust, but most of the Jewish built heritage in the city was destroyed after the War. The Orthodox synagogue was demolished in 1961 and the rest of the Judengasse, along with the Neolog synagogue, was razed in 1967, when the SNP Bridge was constructed. Today, there is a small but active Jewish community in the city.  The most important Jewish site is Chatam Sofer Memorial and Synagogue with Jewish Museum.  But you only have 2 hours so you will be given brief tour.

1-2pm approximately time for lunch (lunch not included)

2:30pm departure from Bratislava to Budapest.

4:30-5pm approximately, arrival Budapest.

Check into hotel.

Overnight Budapest

DAY 10

Budapest Sightseeing in Szentendre and Budapest

Breakfast at hotel.

9:45am meeting with the guide.

Departure to Szentendre. Viewing the little scenic town, which charms with its’ Mediterranean atmosphere, it is also famous as a town of arts with its’ baroque churches and a lots of museums.

Return back to Budapest, about 30-40 min drive. On the way presentation by Bauer Company by Szilvia Bauer.

Afternoon sightseeing tour in Budapest, visiting the most famous sights of the capital: Heroes Square, Andrassy st with the Opera House (from the outside), St.Stephen’s Basilica (from the outside). The sightseeing continuous on the Buda side: Castle District with the Castle of Buda,

Matthias Church (from the outside), Fishermen’s Bastion (from the outside)

Visit the most famous sights of the capital: Heroes Square, Andrassy st. with the Opera House (from the outside), St.Stephen’s Basilica (from the outside), Vaci Street – pedestrian area.

Includes transportation, guide.

6pm approximately, return to hotel

Dinner on your own.

Overnight,  Budapest

DAY 11

November 9, Sunday, Jewish Budapest

Breakfast at hotel.

9:30am, meeting with the guide at the hotel’s reception.

Walk to the synagogue. Visiting Great Synagogue, also known as Dohány Street Synagogue It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world.

Followed by a visit in the Jewish Museum, which occupies only four rooms but contains an impressive visual overview of the long history of Jews in Hungary.

Behind the synagogue is the Holocaust Memorial, the leaves of the weeping willow bear the names of the victims of the Holocaust.

Further sights during the visit: The Jewish Cemetery is located in the back yard of the Heroes’ Temple, enclosed by the Jewish Museum and the Dohany synagogue. This graveyard is the result of tragic historical events during World War II.

Furthermore visit at the Raul Wallenberg Memorial Park with the Tree of Life which was created to remind us of those who perished in the war.

We pass by the Heroes’ Temple  which was added the Dohány Street Synagogue complex in 1931. The Heroes’ Temple designed by Lazlo Vago and Ferenc Faragó, serves as a memorial to Hungarian Jews who gave their lives during World War I.

Followed by a visit at the Orthodox synagogue of Kazinczy street   The synagogue, with its secessionist, modern façade, was designed by Béla Loffler and Sándor Loffler and is still the most important place of worship for the Orthodox community of Budapest.

Walk around the old-new Jewish Quarter, which was used as a ghetto during the World War II. and it hosts synagogues, monuments, kosher restaurants, and shops. You can have lunch there (not included).

Walk around the old-new Jewish Quarter, which was used as a ghetto during the World War II. and it hosts synagogues, monuments, kosher restaurants, and shops.

Enjoy a delicious Kürtöskalács – traditional Hungarian pastry.

After visiting the historical Jewish Quarter, tour will be continued in new Leopold town situated on The Pest bank of the Danube opposite of Margaret Island. Most of the Jewish inhabitants of the city live here. In 1944 this part of the city became a so called “international ghetto” with protected houses. These were under protection of the country which they belonged to. Here in the Saint Stephen Park the bronze statue of Raoul Wallenberg was set up who saved thousands of Jewish lives.

The tour is followed on the Danube Promenade by the Shoes Monument. Created by Gyula Pauer dedicated to Holocaust victims.

7pm. 1,5 hour long cruise with buffet dinner with gypsy music.

8:30pm approximate. After the cruise transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight Budapest.

DAY 12

November 10, Monday,  Budapest – Departure

Breakfast at hotel.

Airport transfers for departure (driver only)


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