Trip 1: June 11- June 22
Trip 2: July 30-August 10
The 11-day study tour will incorporate four major themes, which will be introduced in Warsaw, and threaded throughout the site visits to Bieszczady, Krakow and environs:
Transforming the Polish Past into a Living Identity: Since the fall of Communism 25 years ago, Polish society has developed a vibrant civic and cultural life, which draws sustenance from reclaiming the past. Understanding and reconstructing Polish history, which the Communist system had obscured or falsified, has fostered new notions of citizenship and national identity.
25 Years of Polish Democracy: Challenges and Accomplishments: Poland led the Soviet Bloc into freedom in 1989 and was a leading force in bringing itself and its neighbors into NATO and the European Union. Who are the people and what are the forces that account for Poland’s successful democracy and market economy?
Living in the Shadows of World War II and Communism: What are the experiences of various generations who lived through or grew up in close proximity to World War II, the Holocaust and Communism?
They Were Our Age: The activists who fought for Poland’s freedom against Nazism in WWII and against Communism in the Cold War era were young men and women in their late teens and twenties, the same ages as the student participants on our tour program. What enabled them to resist oppression?
Monday, June 11 arrival in Warsaw
Monday, June 11-Sunday, June 15
The four-day visit in Warsaw will introduce the themes through visits to the: Rising Museum, Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Lazenki Park, the University Library, Nozyk Synagogue and Swieta Jacka Church, and walking workshops exploring Warsaw’s past and present: Warsaw’s Old Town, the Praga District, and Muranow; panel discussion and session at the Warsaw University; a meeting with the creators Hyperion Martian Rover, business leaders and social entrepreneurs, and informal evening with Polish peers active in Warsaw’s cutting art and cultural life.
Sunday, June 15
Travel by coach from Warsaw to Bieszczady via Sandomierz
Lunch and a brief walking tour of Sandomierz, a medieval city located on the former trade route at the junction of the Vistula and Ran.
Late arrival Polanczyk (Bieszczady)
Sunday, June 15-Tuesday, June 17
The two-day visit in the Bieszczady Mountains will provide encounters with Poland’s multicultural heritage, including an evening with Lemko minority community activists and the opportunity to enjoy one of Poland’s most beautiful national parks.
Tuesday, June 17
Travel to Krakow via the world-famous Wieliczka Salt Mines
Evening arrival in Krakow
Wednesday, June 18-Sunday, June 22
The four day visit day visit in Krakow, listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, includes walking workshops through Krakow’s Old Town, including the Main Market Square and Cloth Hall, St. Mary’s Church, the Barbican, the Planty, Bunker of Art (Bunker Sztuki) and the National Museum’s Kamienca Szolasykich, Podgorze, Krakow’s revitalized Jewish district, Kazimierz, the Galicia Jewish Museum and the Cheder Cafe.
AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU and OSWIECIM and KRAKOW
Friday, June 20
Guided visit to Auschwitz Birkenau with Dr. Anna Sommer, followed by a session at the Center for Dialogue and Prayer introducing Poland’s religious communities.
Shabbat dinner at the JCC
INTO THE COUNTRYSIDE/KRAKOW
Saturday, June 21
A day in the Polish countryside will include visits in Wisniowa, Lanckorona, with its preserved wooden buildings, and Wadowice, birthplace of John Paul II and a former Jewish sztetl.
Concluding Session and Farewell Dinner
Sunday, June 22 — Departure