Krakow Tours

Planning a visit? Let us help.

Sunday Roast Dinner Arrives In Krakow

Traditional Sundays Dinner are now being served in The Dorsz every Sunday.

Krakow Restaurant

Sunday Roast Dinner in Krakow

Come and taste the Traditionally Roast lamb mint sauce, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. For dessert we serve our famous apple Crumble topped with custard.
Price for Sunday Dinner is 45zł – which includes glass of wine or pint of beer or The Dorsz Ale.
Bookings required, must be made before 9 PM every Friday.

February 2, 2015 Posted by | Recommendations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Giant Stig statue in Poland for BBC promo

Good citizens of Poland, run for the hills: Big Stig is coming!

Top Gear The Stig Krakow

He’s nine metres tall, made of fibreglass and, according to the instruction manual, should only be hand-washed in warm soapy water. We don’t know where he came from, or what his mission upon this mortal coil may be. Frankly we’re worried to ask.

All we know is that he is Big Stig, and that he today departed the hallowed Top Gear test track on the back on a flatbed, bound for the Polish capital Warsaw, via Amsterdam, Berlin and Poznan. If you’re anywhere near those cities over the next few days, keep an eye out. You’re unlikely to miss him.

What’s all this in aid of, you ask? A fair question. It’s all about a new global channel called BBC Brit, which launches in Poland on February 1 and will be the new home of Top Gear in many countries around the world.

More, we hope, shall become clear in the coming days. For now, fair burghers of northern Europe, we ask you not to panic. Big Stig means no harm. If you spot him, simply stay calm, avoid eye contact, back quietly away and, whatever you do, don’t feed him any Wotsits. We don’t need another electrical substation trashed…

UPDATE, 27 January: After departing the UK on Sunday, we have word Big Stig has reached Germany, via the Dutch capital Amsterdam. And, having escaped the throngs of cameraphone-wielding spotters at Kent’s glamorous Clackett Lane service station, it seems Big Stig’s journey across mainland Europe hasn’t been exactly plain sailing.

“We had a brief stand-off with a tram in the narrow streets of Amsterdam,” reports Simon ‘Premium’ Bond, TG’s man on the ground. “And the journey through Germany to Berlin was fairly biblical in terms of weather. Good thing Big Stig’s waterproof…”

Last we heard, Big Stig’s rig was loose on the derestricted autobahn, clocking a fearsome v-max of 56.2mph en route to Poznan, Poland. Let us know if you spot the big lad…

January 28, 2015 Posted by | Events, News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A taste of home at the Dorsz

A taste of home at the Dorsz

The Sunday roast (praise be unto it) has finally arrived in Kraków.

Brought to you by the amiable folks at The Dorsz, their take on the English classic is giving me yet another reason to stay in Poland…

via A taste of home at the Dorsz.

January 19, 2015 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz draws record number of visitors

The former Nazi German concentration camp of Auschwitz attracted 1 million 534 thousand visitors in 2014.

The figure is an all-time record not only for Auschwitz, but for all European sites of remembrance.

The director of the Auschwitz Museum, Piotr Cywinski, has said that Auschwitz-Birkenau has become a symbol of the Holocaust and of the World War Two crime of genocide, a place which for present generations is a key to understanding the realities of today and the challenges facing the contemporary world.

According to Pawel Sawicki of the Auschwitz Museum Press Office, Poles constitute the most numerous national group among the visitors.

Yet, the number of Polish visitors fell from 610, 000 in 2011 to just under 400, 000 last year. The falling trend is attributed to recent changes in the school curriculum and the lack of a government programme of financing youth visits to remembrance sites.

There were 199, 000 visitors from Britain, 92, 000 from the United States, 84, 000 from Italy and 75, 000 from Germany.

Israelis, Spaniards, French, Czechs and South Koreans were next on the list of the most sizeable national groups.

Around 10, 000 people from around the world took part in various educational projects in Auschwitz. The site was also visited by several hundred journalists and 180 film crews from over 30 countries.

On 27 January, ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by the Soviet Army will bring together up to 300 of its former prisoners. The most sizeable group – numbering about 100 persons – will be of Polish inmates of the camp. Roughly the same number of people will come from around the world thanks to financial support from the World Jewish Congress. Former Auschwitz prisoners will also come as members of official state delegations.

And on Wednesday, 7 January, a group of Polish inmates of Auschwitz will take part in an audience with Pope Francis. They will present the Pontiff with the ‘Gift of Remembrance’ Statuette of the International Auschwitz Committee. Members of the Polish group will include the writer Zofia Posmysz, author of the novel The Passenger, which was made into a film and an opera.

The concentration camp of Auschwitz was founded in 1940. Some 1.1 million people, mostly European Jews, but also Poles, Soviet POWs, Roma and Sinti, as well as people of other nationalities perished in the camp. It was liberated by the Soviet Army on 27 January 1945.

January 5, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , , , | Leave a comment

BBC News – David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp

David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp

Prime Minister David Cameron lit a candle at a memorial for Holocaust victims as he visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

In a message in the book of remembrance, he said the concentration camp was “this place where the darkest chapter of human history happened”.

More than a million people died at the camp, in what was Nazi-occupied Poland, during World War Two.

Mr Cameron said the world must “never forget” what had taken place there.

He made the visit on the way back from Turkey, where he held talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

‘Life-changing’

During a 90-minute tour with the director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Mr Cameron was shown train tracks that brought people to the camp and gas chambers where many of them were murdered.

Speaking later, the prime minister said his visit to the camp had filled him with “an overwhelming sense of grief for all those who were killed simply because of their faith, their beliefs or their ethnicity”.

via BBC News – David Cameron visits Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

December 10, 2014 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

David Cameron visits Auschwitz / Birkenau

David Cameron at Birkenau

David Cameron visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau today 10th December 2014

December 10, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Scot who died in Auschwitz

Jane Haining was a quiet farmer’s daughter from the south of Scotland who ended her life as a slave labourer in the most notorious extermination camp the world has ever known.

Krakow Tours - Jane Haining

She is the only Scot to be officially honoured for giving her life for Jews in the Holocaust.

But her life began a long way from the barbed wire fences of Auschwitz – among the rolling hills of rural Dumfriesshire.

Jane Haining was born in Dunscore in 1897. Her mother died when she was just five years old and she took on much of the care of her younger sisters.

After leaving Dumfries Academy, where she was an excellent student who was good at languages, Jane took a secretarial job at the huge JP Coats weaving factory in Paisley.

While there she attended church at Queen’s Park West in the Crosshill area of Glasgow.

It now has stained glass windows in memory of a woman who was driven by a strong Christian faith.

In 1932 she saw an advert for a job as matron to the Scottish Mission to the Jews in Budapest.

Rev Stevens describes Jane’s role as the mother for those who were not living at home any more.

For her pupils Jane Haining embodied the values of fairness, tolerance and equality that drove the whole Scottish mission.

Less than a year after Jane arrived in Budapest, Hitler was elected chancellor of Germany. He was the most powerful force in the turning against Jews which occurred across Europe in the 1930s.

Hungary’s Nationalist government began to concede anti-Semitic laws in a bid to undermine its more demanding fascist sympathisers before then allying itself with Germany.

The authorities started to detain Jews who had lived in Budapest for decades without citizenship.

As more and more territories fell to the Nazis, Hungary’s alliance with Germany kept invasion at bay.

The government continued to protect the lives of its Hungarian Jews. But they did lose jobs, social position, civil rights and respect.

However, the Church of Scotland was increasingly alarmed for the safety of its missionaries and sent repeated letters urging Jane Haining to come home.

She refused and wrote: “If these children needed me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in these days of darkness?”

“She could not grasp the evil in which she was functioning,” says Annette Lantos, former pupil.

“It was not part of her ability to understand what she was confronted with. She lived in a different world. A world that was civilised and reasonable and rational, where people did not kill each other for no reason.”

Then the outlook suddenly darkened further, when Hitler turned his attention to Hungary and its Jews.

On a Sunday afternoon in March 1944 Nazi troops marched into Budapest.

Jane Haining is said to have wept as she sewed on the yellow stars that branded her children as Jews.

Her open sympathy put Jane in grave danger.

It only took one incident to light the touch paper.

Within weeks of the invasion Jane scolded the cook’s son-in-law for eating food intended for the girls. He informed on her. The next morning a Gestapo police car arrived at the school.

She was arrested on suspicion of “espionage on behalf of England”.

She was originally taken to the local prison but soon she was taken to Poland, to Auschwitz, as the industrial slaughter of Jews was reaching its zenith.

About 12,000 Hungarian Jews every day were being packed off to Auschwitz. Most went straight to the gas chambers.

In all, more than a million human beings were killed at Auschwitz.

Jane Haining was a political prisoner so she was taken to the labour camps where inmates were screamed at, beaten and chased with dogs.

She survived just two months. She was just 47.

According to her death certificate, she died of “cachexia following intestinal catarrh”.

Whether Jane died of starvation, illness or disease and died in hospital or whether she was actually gassed like many women who became too ill to work cannot be known for sure.

It took a long-time before Jane Haining’s death was recognised.

In 1997 after an initiative from Queen’s Park church and a 10-year investigation by an Israeli board, Jane was named as Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem’s sacred Yad Vashem.

In 2010 she was awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the British government.

Her death was anonymous and without show but her quiet sacrifice for those Jewish children has now been recognised throughout the world.

December 1, 2014 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

When Music Saved Lives

When people ask me about music during the Holocaust, they are often surprised to learn about the orchestras in Auschwitz. It seems impossible to imagine emaciated prisoners making music in the most notorious of the Nazi concentration camps.

There were actually several ensembles in the Auschwitz complex, including a large orchestra in the main camp, orchestras in the men’s and women’s camps of Birkenau, and several other ensembles in various satellite camps. These orchestras were comprised of amateur and professional musicians who were recruited from the prisoner population and required to perform as part of their forced labor. The Nazis commanded the prisoners to play German marches at the camp gates, to provide a cheerful façade and rhythmic orderliness as the work details marched out of camp every morning and returned every evening. Day in and day out, their schmaltzy tunes formed a macabre counterpoint to the brutal realities of life in Auschwitz.

As a reward for their contributions to camp life, the orchestral musicians sometimes received preferential treatment. This included lighter work details such as copying music and repairing musical instruments. Some of the performers were assigned to work in the kitchen, giving them access to extra food while also allowing them to work inside.

Not surprisingly, some prisoners grew to resent the orchestras. Holocaust memoirist Primo Levi wrote of the disdain he felt for the musicians while convalescing in the Auschwitz III infirmary. The patients could barely hear the camp orchestra — just the monotonous beating of the bass drum and the crashing of cymbals accompanied by the faintest hints of melody. “We all look at each other from our beds, because we all feel that this music is infernal,” he wrote in Survival in Auschwitz. “The tunes are few, a dozen, the same ones every day, morning and evening: marches and popular songs dear to every German. They lie engraven on our minds and will be the last thing in camp that we shall forget.”

But other survivors have credited the orchestras with helping them stay alive. Kazimierz Gwizdka recalled dragging his fatigued body back to Birkenau after long days of tortuous labor. As he and his fellow prisoners stumbled along, they would begin to hear the Birkenau Men’s Camp Orchestra playing from afar. The peppy music would renew their strength and their will to survive. To Gwizdka, the performers seemed to be reassuring their fellow prisoners through the music, “Don’t give up, brothers! Not all of us will perish!”

Membership in an orchestra did not by any means guarantee that a musician’s life would be spared. But it did offer opportunities to live a little longer, if only for one more day. In some cases, the small perks of being assigned to an orchestra offered just enough advantages to allow musicians to outlive the Nazi regime. “Music has kept me alive,” confirmed Henry Meyer, who played violin and cymbals in the Birkenau Men’s Camp Orchestra. “There is no doubt about it.”

Auschwitz was certainly not the only place where music saved lives during the Holocaust. In “Violins of Hope,” I also write about Bronisław Huberman, who in 1936 recruited seventy-five Jewish musicians to form a new orchestra in Palestine (now the world famous Israel Philharmonic Orchestra), providing the performers and their families with the financial and legal means to leave Europe before it was too late. I write about Ernst Glaser, the Jewish concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra who used his musical influence to escape a riot during a concert in Nazi-occupied Bergen in 1941 and then to flee to safety in Sweden. And then there’s the story of Feivel Wininger, an amateur violinist who performed at weddings and parties in the ghettoized Romanian territory of Transnistria in exchange for leftovers that he could bring back to his family. By playing music, Wininger was able to spare himself and sixteen family members and friends from starvation.

The stories of Jewish musicians who were able to leave Nazified Europe and those who were interned in concentration camps and ghettos are very different from each other, but they all have one thing in common: music gave them hope and, in some cases, saved their lives.

August 21, 2014 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Museum to Pope John Paul II re-opens in Wadowice

PM Donald Tusk attended the re-opening of the home of John Paul II, now a museum, in Wadowice, southern Poland, Wednesday, ahead of the Polish Pope’s canonization on 27 April.
  
From
From left: Wadowice mayor Ewa Filipiak, Cardinal Stanisław Dziwisz, PM Tusk i culture minister Bogdan Zdrojewski,cut the ribbon opening the New John Paul II Museum: photo – PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

Also attending the opening ceremony on Wednesday were Father Dariusz Raś, the director of the museum, culture minister Bogdan Zdrojewski and Archbishop of Krakow Stanislaw Dziwisz, a long-time aid to John Paul II until he died on 2 April 2005.

The museum, now with multimedia exhibits, was closed almost four years ago for an extensive refit at a cost of over 6 million euros.

“Pope John Paul II continues to speak to millions of Christians around the world,” Stanislaw Dziwisz said at a special mass at the Basilica of St Mary in Wadowice before the official opening ceremony, adding that the Polish Pope’s “holiness will be confirmed by Pope Francis in 17 days time”.

John Paul II will be made a saint with John XXIII in a double canonization ceremony in the Vatican.

 

President
President Komorowski and First Lady Anna at JP II Museum, Wednesday: photo – PAP

Earlier, President Bronislaw Komowoski and First Lady Anna were taken on a tour of the new permanent exhibition in the building where John Paul II, then Karol Wojtyła was born on 18 May 1920 and where he lived till he went to the Jagiellonian University in Krakow in 1938.

Among the new exhibits at the museum is the pistol used by Turk Mehmet Ali Ağca when he tried to assassinate the pontiff in May 1981.

 

photo
photo – PAP/Jacek Bednarczyk

- See more at: http://thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/167818,John-Paul-II-Museum-reopens-in-Wadowice#sthash.AiSlbx1X.dpuf

April 9, 2014 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Memorial to Ireland’s only Holocaust victim unveiled

A memorial to Ireland’s only Holocaust victim Ettie Steinberg has been unveiled at a secondary school in Malahide, Co Dublin.

Holocasut survivor Tomi Reichental, who was incarcerated in Bergen-Belsen at the age of nine-years, addressed the students of Malahide Community School following the ceremony this afternoon.

“We have people today that would deny the Holocaust,” he said. “After my lecture if somebody should tell you that the Holocaust was Jewish propaganda you can say: ‘No, we met someone who was there.’”

Mr Reichental then went on to speak about his childhood in Slovakia and his experience in Bergen-Belsen.

“This is a special day,” said Lynne Jackson, chair of Holocaust Education Trust Ireland, adding that it was Mr Reichental’s third visit to the school since he started speaking publicly nine years ago about his time in the concentration camp.

She said the stone memorial to Ettie Steinberg was a way for the school to create a permanent Holocaust memorial.

Steinberg’s family were from Czechoslovakia and came to Dublin from London in 1926. In 1937 she married a Belgian man and later moved to Belgium and then Paris, where she had a son. In 1942 she and her little boy were transported to Auschwitz and killed.

via Memorial to Ireland’s only Holocaust victim unveiled – Education News | Primary, Secondary & Third Level | The Irish Time – Tue, Mar 25, 2014.

March 25, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz | Leave a comment

An emotional return to Nazi camp where my grandma was born

VISITING the site of Auschwitz is a powerful experience for anyone who goes there.

But the trip had special significance for one 16-year-old girl from Yorkshire whose grandmother was born in the concentration camp and lived there for the first two years of her life.

Celine Bickerdike took part in a visit as part of a Lessons from Auschwitz Trip organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

The project is now in its sixteenth year based on the premise that “hearing is not like seeing”.

Thousands of pupils have been taken to where the camps were to get a sense of the horrors of the Holocaust but few have been on the journey which Celine took.

via An emotional return to Nazi camp where my grandma was born – Yorkshire Post.

March 22, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , | Leave a comment

Oskar Schindler: The Untold Story

David M. Crowe’s book Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities and the True Story Behind The List should be considered a classic in investigative and historical research. Based on interviews with dozens of Holocaust survivors saved by Oskar Schindler and with access to documents unavailable to Schindler’s List author Thomas Keneally, Crowe sheds light on one of the most dramatic and important stories to come out of World War II.

via Oskar Schindler: The Untold Story.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Dignity at Auschwitz

Care to spare a dime to save Auschwitz?

That was the question posed to us last week when the government-appointed leader of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland visited our offices. For the last six years, museum director Piotr M.A. Cywinski and his team have been on a mission to raise $165 million to preserve the cursed concentration camp, where nearly 1.1 million Jews were exterminated.

Turns out, the Nazi penchant for fine art did not extend to architecture. Auschwitz was actually shabbily built, bricks-and-mortar style, designed to be a temporary slaughterhouse and then disappear. It wasn’t built to last — or matter.

It should surprise no one that the Nazis were better at destroying than building, but in fact, it is alarming that in the decades since World War II, the site that proves Hitler’s horrors existed has been slowly crumbling away.

via Dignity at Auschwitz | Hollywood Jew | Jewish Journal.

March 20, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz | , | Leave a comment

Germany arrests 3 Auschwitz guard suspects

German police on Thursday raided the homes of nine elderly men suspected of serving as SS guards at the Auschwitz death camp and arrested three of them on allegations of accessory to murder.

The arrests came five months after federal authorities announced they would investigate former guards at Auschwitz and other Nazi-era death camps.

Their effort was inspired by the precedent-setting trial of former Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk, who died in 2012 in a Bavarian nursing home while appealing his conviction on charges he served at the Sobibor camp.

“This is a major step,” said Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, when told of the arrests. “Given the advanced age of the defendants, every effort should be made to expedite their prosecution.

“Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk was the first person convicted in Germany solely on the basis of serving as a camp guard, with no evidence of involvement in any specific killing.Munich prosecutors successfully argued that anyone who was involved in operating a death camp was an accessory to murder. Demjanjuk maintained he had been mistaken for someone else and never served as a guard.

Following the Munich precedent, Germany’s special federal prosecutors’ office responsible for investigating Nazi war crimes announced in September it was recommending charges against about 30 suspected former Auschwitz guards. State prosecutors since have worked to build cases.

The three men arrested, aged 88, 92 and 94, all live in state of Baden Wuerttemberg in southwest Germany. They were taken to a prison hospital, Stuttgart prosecutors’ spokeswoman Claudia Krauth said.

Krauth said officials had yet to uncover enough evidence to merit the arrests of three other suspects aged 94, 91 and 90.

She said authorities seized “diverse papers and documents from the Nazi era” from the suspects’ homes. She declined to provide details.

Five men made no statements, while the 88-year-old admitted being a guard at Auschwitz but denied committing any crimes, Krauth said.

Prosecutors in Frankfurt said more documents and photographs were seized during raids on the homes of two men aged 89 and 92 in the neighboring state of Hesse. A spokeswoman, Doris Mueller-Scheu, said neither suspect was arrested nor made statements.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, state police said they raided the apartment of a 92-year-old man who admitted being an Auschwitz guard but denied participating in any crimes. They found no incriminating material during the search.

The Nazis built six main death camps, all in occupied Poland: Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka.

About 1.5 million people, primarily Jews, were killed at Auschwitz from 1940 to 1945. Overall, about 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust.

Since handing off the Auschwitz cases to state prosecutors, federal authorities say they are focusing on identifying guards from other camps, starting with Majdanek. Results of that investigation are expected in a few months.

via Germany arrests 3 Auschwitz guard suspects.

February 20, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz | , , , | Leave a comment

Eric Clapton to play Oświęcim (Auschwitz) Life Festival

Legendary British guitarist Eric Clapton will headline the fifth edition of a festival promoting peace and tolerance near the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz.

Eric CLAPTON

This June, Clapton will follow in the footsteps of artists such as Sting and Peter Gabriel, who have both performed at the event in previous years.

Launched in 2010 by radio journalist Darek Maciborek, the festival was designed to “break the spell” that surrounded the founders home town of Oswiecim, which was renamed Auschwitz during the Nazi occupation.

The network of death camps created in the vicinity of Oswiecim witnessed the deaths of over 1 million inmates, 90 percent of whom were Jewish. Other victims included Poles, Russians and members of Europes Roma community.

The 5th Oswiecim Life Festival runs from 25-28 June, and Cream and Yardbirds veteran Eric Clapton will play the MOSiR sports stadium in Oswiecim on 28 June.Other acts due to play include US outfit Soundgarden and eclectic New York combo Balkan Beat Box.

January 8, 2014 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, News, Recommendations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: