Friday, June 1, 2012

Goodbye Berlin!

On a sunny morning at 7:15am sharp, our VIP bus is taking our
travelers to the airport. The morning air is crisp ans sunshiny,
making it more difficult to leave...

Berlin on Friday

We started our morning visits at the memorial sitefor the Jewish women
who held a protest in 1943 to obtain the release of their husbands.
They succeeded... A rare success in the history of the German
resistance. The day has been cold and blustery, but fortunately no
rain. Our tour guide took us to other Jewish sites: the New Synagogue,
the Jewish cemetery, the Grunewald train station, and finally the
House of the Wannseekonferenz which sealed the fate of the Jews in
January 1942.

This afternoon everyone scattered for one last free visit of the town,
then in a few fours we have our farewell dinner.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday in Berlin

Another good day in Berlin although I did not have a chance to take
pictures. First, the Reichstag building; then the Wall Gallery in East
Berlin; then the Brandenburg Gate; then lunch at Checkpoint Charlie, a
favorite of Donauer kebab afficionados (a Turkish barbecue sandwich).
In the afternoon I ran around trying to find a place to exchange
money, so I and a few students missed part of the visit to the
Topography of Terror Museum. I missed it altogether. That's part of my
responsibilities as group leader.

Advice to the wise: do NOT take Travellers' Cheques; US$; or a credit
card. The most convenient and economical money instrument in Europe is
the DEBIT card (fewer charges on ATM and purchase transactions).

We ended the day with a tour of the Museum of the German Resistance
and so had a really full day of learning about the political
conditions in Nazi Germany.

Tonight everybody is scattered around for dinner. I believe that the
Rhodes travellers' are biking in the Tiergarten, singing "I'm biking
in the rain..." I honestly do not know where they find the strength...

I promise pics tomorrow. The weather will be like today: grey blustery
with rain sprinklings.

Sent from my iPhone

I see you but you don't see us! Teeheehee!

As Mr. Dr. Carls and I were walking back to the bus on the Bruhl
terrace by the waterfront we spotted some of our travelers down by the

Wednesday in Dresden

Sunny day again. After climbing the Sudeten Mountains we reive in
Dresden for a short visit, here at the beautiful royal Baroque garden
and orangerie. Leisurely lunch, and then...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday May 28 and Tuesday May 29

Two more full days in Prague. This picture was taken yesterday morning
on Charles bridge. I think that it will remain as one of the
highlights of our trip. I certainly will frame the picture and keep it
on my desk.

In short: yesterday morning, visit of Prague's old town. Yesterday
afternoon visit of Terezin. This morning, visit of the Jewish quarter.
This afternoon, free time. I keep in touch with our travelers through
SMS. Technology rules!

The weather is beautiful in the mornings. In the afternoons, the rain
is playing hide and go seek with short drizzles, then the sun comes
out again.

Tomorrow we shall read Horsy Bienek's description of the bombing of
Dresden. I'll try to take a few more pics.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Goodbye Krakow! Day 8

This picture was shot at the edge of the marketsquare in Kazimierz,
the old Jewish quarter of Krakow. Today was clothes shoes and crafts
day. They were not selling food or flowers. We saw quite a lot of the
Jewish quarter but to our disappointment were not given admission to
the Remuh Synagogue and adjacent cemetery. We visited Schindler's
factory and museum and the camp of Plaszow. Just as we are leaving for
Prague, rain fell -- a brief shower. We will be in Prague later tonight.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Another view of our tables at the Balaton

Our personal orchestra at the Balaton

Happy Mother's Day to all our travelers' Moms

Today is Mother's Day in Europe. On behalf of all our travelers we do
send a bouquet of red and white carnations and our congratulations for
raising such a fine group of young people! Our travelers are exemplary!

Today we visited the 700 years old mine of Wieliczka and were 135
meters (400 feet) underground! I did not take pictures for my iPhone
was not strong enough. Then we visited the Royal Castle and there
pictures were not permitted. Free afternoon on the square, Wedel
chocolates, and St. Mary's basilica with the world famous Wit Stwosz

As I write this, we are being serenaded by a Hungarian orchestra at
the "Balaton" restaurant. All of us are eating together tonight. My
pictures are not very good because I am being serenaded by the
violinist, but you will no doubt see lots of pics on FB. This is
another " First" for our group.

Today the Holocaust was present in our activities, although in a less
obvious fashion. In the salt mine we were told that the Germans kept
prisoners whom they later sent to Auschwitz. And then Jews hid in the
300 kilometers of the mine and the Germans could never find them. We
were only on the third level of the mine and there were nine of them.
We saw 1% of the total mine and we walked and climbed down for two
hours. . .

Then in the private apartments of the royal palace we came across the
residence of one oh the last Presidents of the Polish Second Republic
in the 1930 s and we were told that Hans Frank who was Governor of
occupied Poland and Hitler's right hand, lived there with his family
during the war. The Nazis even built a wing of the castle -- a strange
thing since the castle was first built in the Middle Ages and much
embellished during the Renaissance by an Italian royal spouse.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday May 25

Today was our visit of Camps 1 and 2. We had a wonderful guide Ms.
Dorota. She engaged our travelers on thinking about the difficult
situations people faced when arriving at the camps. Went back to the
Center for lunch in between visits. At 3:45pm our group split. Part
walked back from Auschwitz2 to Auschwitz1 and another group visited
the town of Oswiecim -- the cathedral, synagogue, and castle. Back to
the center for our meeting with Father Manfred, the Center's director.
Then dinner and back on the bus for our ride to Krakow. On the way we
drove past Auschwitz3, the site if the former IGFatben factory called
Monowice. That completed our day. Silence and listening to the earth's
voice, as Father Manfred said. We are safely in Krakow tonight.

Thursday May 24

We started the day at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. I caught Dr. Haynes
resting in the garden before we boarded our bus. We have a wonderful
bus driver, his name is Czeslaw. He drove us to the town of
Czestochowa -- I want y'all to try to pronounce these Polish names! --
We saw the Black Madonna, an icon painted in the Balkans in the 14th
century and brought to Poland. She is credited with countless miracles
including saving Poland in it's troubled times. That was a very
interesting visit. We had not planned it since I was unaware that we
would be traveling that way. That was very kind of our driver to stop.
Then we arrived safely in Oswiecim at the Center for Dialogue and
Prayer where we had a wonderful dinner all together. Our travelers
have taken a liking to Polish soups. Then it was off to bed.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Warsaw Ghetto visit

This morning we went to the Warsaw Ghetto. In the picture below we are
in the courtyard of a prewar Jewish apartment complex. These were and
still are in much need of repair. We got a real taste of prewar life
in Warsaw.

This afternoon we visited Treblinka and what an experience it was. On
our way we saw horses and pastures, wetlands and storks, log cabins
and pine forests. The forest is such a peaceful pristine place and yet
such atrocities took place there. 800.000 to 1.1million Jews were
killed there. We saw the labor camp, the mass grave site (of the
forced labor prisoners who were shot, appr. 10.000 to 20.000 of them).
We finished our visit at the Memorial of the extermination camp, not
before we had met, quite serendipitously, the child of a concentration
camp survivor who was retracing his roots and had brought his young
daughter with him.

The day was complete when we connected with Dr Haynes who arrived
today. As I write this, we are all scattered in groups eating on
various parts of the Old Town.

Tomorrow we leave for Auschwitz.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 2

We are inside the park of this "castle on the water." by this time I
could only catch a few travelers at a time. Our next stop ws the
University of Warsaw library which is one of a kind in Europe for it's
architecture, rooftop gardens, and underground bowling alley.

Our third stop was at the Palace of Culture where we took an elevator
to the 30th floor terrace for a fantastic view of the city. But I did
not take pictures there either because everyone was scattered. Then we
broke into small groups for our free afternoon.

Tomorrow we have our first day comletely dedicated to the Holocaust;
we will tour the ghetto in the morning and visit the extermination
camp of Treblinka in the afternoon.

Tuesday May 22 - Day 2

I accidentally sent a picture of our dinner groupbefore sending this
one. I do aologize.

Today with perfect weather we set off for a half day visit of Warsaw.
First the beautiful royal residence of Lazienki at the entrance of
which I took this group picture in front of the Chopin monument.

Greetings from Warsaw, Day 2

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dinner picture 3

I think with this picture I was able to capture everybody. We had a
great time and the food was incredible. There was a crowd of about 30
waiting to be seated when we left at 9pm. . .

Well good night everybody.

Welcome dinner

Another shot at our lively group.

First meal

Our welcome dinner at The Podwale restaurant by the Old Town. A four
course dinner. Yum!

Day 1 -- First visit

We took a rest in the shade of Polans's Supreme Court building which
is an architectural phenom. We talked and walked the sites of the
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 and the Warsaw Urising of 1944. Both
shocked the world into realizing the murderous, destructive nature of
war. It was 90 degrees in Warsaw today. You can see several young
ladies dressed quite appropriately for this summery weather.

In the plane

We are in the air from Detroit to Amsterdam. The plane lfet late so we
scrambled to make the connection and got to our Warsaw connecting
flight with five minutes to spare. Phew! Eric was already in the plane
sweating it out. No luggage was lost and we liaised with our guide.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Welcome Travelers, Parents, Spouses, and Friends

Welcome to our 2012 Holocaust Travel Study blog. We will be posting trip news daily. All trip participants are able to contribute to this blog. We hope that travelers, their families, and their friends, will enjoy these pages.