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Celebrate Easter – Krakow style

KRAKOW TOURS: Unlike in some parts of the world, where the mutant chocolate offspring of a chicken and a bunny is considered the most appropriate way to celebrate Christianity’s greatest feast, a Polish Easter combines tradition and fun with a great deal of colour and respect.

Holy Week starts on Palm Sunday, and due to a natural shortage of tropical foliage in Southern Poland, other more indigenous plants are bent into service to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem seated on a donkey. Typically made from dried flowers and branches in villages throughout Poland, these ‘palms’ can be bought in the Main Market Square, blessed in one of Krakow’s many churches and used as colourful home decorations during Holy Week. Throughout this week the Main Square hosts an Easter Fair where traditional gifts and seasonal food can also be bought. The ‘Misteria Paschalia’ early and sacred music festival runs concurrently, and enjoys an international reputation. Easter is also when the events season really begins to get under way.

via Celebrate Easter – Krakow style! – My Destination Krakow.

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March 29, 2013 Posted by | Events, This Day In History | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Amon Goeth

KRAKOW TOURS: Revelations about the execution of a notorious Nazi war criminal, immortalised in Schindler’s List, have raised questions about how the mass murderer died and whether he was even hanged at all.

For decades Amon Goeth, who was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Jews and Poles during World War Two, was believed to have been filmed being executed in 1946.

A black and white video shows executioners twice botching a hanging before he was eventually killed.

But historians claim in a new National Geographic documentary called Bloody Tales that the video was from 1947 and shows Dr Ludwig Fischer being hanged.

Worryingly, there is almost no detail about the sadistic mass murderer’s death in official records and no one knows what happened to his body.

Historian Dr Suzannah Lipscomb and presenter Joe Crowley do not believe he escaped Europe like other high profile Nazis such as Adolf Eichmann and Joseph Mengele, and say he was killed.

However the revelations surrounding Goeth, who was known to carry out his own killings rather than order them, mean his death is now a complete mystery with records containing just two words: ‘He died.’

via Amon Goeth: Did ‘executed’ Nazi murderer in Schindler’s List escape justice? | Mail Online.

March 22, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy to Reopen

KRAKOW TOURS: Drawers full of surprises, voices on an old phone, and new rooms that will transport visitors back in time – the famed Pharmacy Under the Eagle will reopen after a major refit in March, on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto.

The Pharmacy Under the Eagle (Apteka Pod Orłem) was the only gentile business that the Nazis allowed to continue operating in the Jewish ghetto. Its owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, helped save many lives and is recognised as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. His staff also risked their lives to help those trapped in the ghetto.

Situated on Plac Bohaterów Getta (formerly Plac Zgody), the Pharmacy Under the Eagle kept people alive by distributing medications for free, as well as providing tranquilisers to help keep hidden children quiet during Gestapo raids and hair dye to aid escapes.

via Krakow Ghetto Pharmacy to Reopen After Major Refit » Krakow Post.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News, This Day In History | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz Survivor Searches for His Twin on Facebook

KRAKOW TOURS: Menachem Bodner last saw his twin brother at age 4, when he was liberated from the infamous Auschwitz laboratory of Dr. Josef Mengele. Now, armed with proof that his brother also survived, he’s watching his search go viral online.

It’s most likely that Menachem Bodner last saw his identical twin in 1945, in Dr. Josef Mengele’s gruesome Auschwitz laboratory. He was 4 then and doesn’t remember his time in the notorious death camp. But in the 68 years that have followed, Bodner says he’s “always” been certain he was one of a pair. He just didn’t have any proof until this past year. Now, he’s searching for Jeno, a man who probably looks just like him, and who has a distinctive “A-7734” tattoo on his forearm. And 1 million Facebook users are helping him look.

The arrival of a train containing Jews deported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Inset: Menachem Bodner at age 5. (Universal History Archive/Getty)

Mengele, known among prisoners as “the Angel of Death,” was deeply fascinated with twins and used them for research experiments in his macabre Auschwitz lab. Thankfully, Bodner, now 72, has no recollection of the cruelty he most certainly endured while undergoing experiments, though he can remember a sense of paralyzing fear. Unfortunately he also has few impressions of his family’s prewar life in a small town east of Munkacs, Hungary, which is now in the Ukraine. But despite the lack of memories from a war-marred childhood, Bodner says that throughout his life he’s felt a deep connection with his twin—and is positive he’s still alive and out there. But where?

via An Auschwitz Survivor Searches for His Twin on Facebook – The Daily Beast.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz | Leave a comment

Irish Mbassy – St Patrick’s Weekend

Bringing Ireland to Krakow.

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Events, News, Sport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust

Exactly 70 years ago, Hollywood’s top stars got together to expose the Holocaust.

It was early 1943, and Hitler’s armies were finally in retreat from North Africa and the Soviet Union. D-Day was more than a year away, and the Nazis had murdered almost three million Jews.

Since the start of the war, eyewitness accounts of mass shootings and death camps had made their way to governments around the world. “Rescue through victory” remained the official Allied strategy, and the killings receiving little attention.

As the genocide reached its apex, Hollywood decided to take action.

A seasoned journalist and screenwriter, Ben Hecht was the first celebrity to publicize the Holocaust. Hecht’s February 1943 essay, “The Extermination of the Jews,” rang warning bells even as the US State Department buried reports of genocide.

“Of these 6,000,000 Jews of Europe, almost a third have already been massacred by Germans, Romanians, and Hungarians,” Hecht wrote in Reader’s Digest. “The most conservative of scorekeepers estimate that before the war ends at least another third will have been done to death.”

Not content with writing op-eds, Hecht decided to do what he did best — put on a sweeping drama. An Oscar-winning screenwriter who contributed to “Gone With the Wind” and scripted “Scarface,” Hecht knew how to stir emotions and frame an epic story.

via The first time Hollywood exposed the Holocaust | The Times of Israel.

March 10, 2013 Posted by | Auschwitz, This Day In History | , , | Leave a comment

Schindlers List: The Girl in the Red Coat

A little girl in a red coat becomes the catalyst which saves the lives of more than 1,000 Jews destined for the concentration camps in Steven Spielberg’s celebrated film Schindlers List.

But for the now 24-year-old woman who played the role in 1993, the iconic appearance left her traumatised for years.Oliwia Dabrowska was three years old when she starred as the girl in the red coat – the only flash of colour in the otherwise black-and-white film.

via Schindlers List: Trauma of girl in the red coat who became holocaust icon | Mail Online.

A Girl From Schindlers List by Stella Muller-Madej

 

March 5, 2013 Posted by | This Day In History | , , , , | Leave a comment

Wieliczka Salt Mine, Krakow

KRAKOW TOURS: Deep underground in Poland lies something remarkable but little known outside Eastern Europe. For centuries, miners have extracted salt there, but left behind things quite startling and unique. Take a look at the most unusual salt mine in the world.

From the outside, Wieliczka Salt Mine doesn’t look extraordinary. It looks extremely well kept for a place that hasn’t minded any salt for over ten years but apart from that it looks ordinary. However, over two hundred meters below ground it holds an astonishing secret. This is the salt mine that became an art gallery, cathedral and underground lake.

Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.

via Wieliczka Salt Mine – An Astounding Subterranean Salt Cathedral ~ Kuriositas.

March 1, 2013 Posted by | Tour Information | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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