Krakow Tours

Planning a visit? Let us help.

Pope Francis expected to visit Auschwitz/Birkenau

Although no date has been set, church leaders in Poland hope Pope Francis will visit the former Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz during a July 2016 visit to Poland for World Youth Day.

Pope to visit Auschwitz

“We hope Pope Francis will come to Auschwitz and deliver a warning to the world by again demonstrating the horrors of war and the camps, so they’ll never recur,” Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow told the Polish Catholic news agency KAI.

An administration official at the Auschwitz Museum, Jolanta Kozuch, told Catholic News Service May 28 a date had not yet been agreed upon for a stopover by Pope Francis at the camp, 20 miles west of Krakow, where 1.2 million mostly Jewish prisoners died at German hands in 1940-45.

Retired Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek, a former bishops’ conference general secretary who now lives in Krakow, told CNS he hoped more details would be available shortly.

“Any visit by the head of the Catholic Church to Auschwitz, in the footsteps of John Paul II in 1979 and Benedict XVI in 2006, would always have huge significance,” Bishop Pieronek told CNS May 28. “This is a place of great importance for the whole of humanity, so it would be received very well if the pope came here to pray and commemorate.”

Cardinal Dziwisz spoke to KAI about preparations for July 26-31, 2016, World Youth Day in his diocese. He said bishops and youth groups from abroad were arriving in Krakow daily to check on preparations.

He will also certainly visit a hospital or home for the poor, in addition to other points in his program. But many other groups, such as the students of Europe, are also getting in touch and hoping to have a moment for themselves with him,” he said.

During his visit for World Youth Day, Pope Francis is scheduled to lead a Way of the Cross procession from the Krakow’s Divine Mercy Sanctuary, a prayer vigil on youth issues near the Wieliczka Salt Mine and a final Mass in the city’s Blonia Park.

The cardinal said the program had been largely based on the success of World Youth Day at Poland’s Jasna Gora national sanctuary in 1991, but had also taken account of Pope Francis’ personal devotion to the Divine Mercy cult centered in Krakow’s Lagiewniki suburb.

He also said he had asked Poland’s foreign minister to reduce visa charges for the 300,000 youngsters expected from Russia, Ukraine and other countries to the east.

In a May 27 report, KAI said World Youth Day organizers were seeking 20,000 volunteers from Poland and abroad to help with the event, which was expected to attract up to 2.5 million people, including 35,000 from the United States.

The agency added that the pope had been asked to visit other locations in Poland to mark the 1050th anniversary of the country’s Christian conversion, including Jasna Gora and the capital, Warsaw, and its oldest Catholic see at Gniezno.

In a Jan. 27 Twitter message to mark the 70th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, the pope said Auschwitz “cries out with the pain of immense suffering and pleads for a future of respect, peace and encounter among peoples.”

May 29, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Polish Aviation Museum gains unique WWII plane

KRAKOW TOURS – A unique WWII plane went on display at the Polish Aviation Museum in Kraków on Friday, 70 years after victory was declared in Europe.

 

Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone

Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone

The Caudron-Renault CR.714 Cyclone, which was used by Poles in the defence of France, is the only fully intact example of its kind.

Owing to technical faults, the French military prohibited the use of the planes.

Nevertheless, in June 1940, during Nazi Germany’s attack on France, Polish pilots used the planes to shoot down at least 12 enemy aircraft.

The surviving plane is in Kraków on a long-term deposit thanks to the Finnish Army.

The museum, which counts over 200 aircraft in its collection, was named as one of the top ten aviation museums in the world by CNN

via Polish Aviation Museum gains unique WWII plane – Thenews.pl :: News from Poland.

May 10, 2015 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News | , , | Leave a comment

Europe’s forgotten city back in premier league

KRAKOW TOURS – Tomorrow, southern Poland’s most glorious city joins the premier league of destinations served from Heathrow Terminal 5 by British Airways. BA uses its precious slots only on routes that it believes will be attractive to business travellers so the new link, which offers connections from around the globe, testifies to the rising business profile of Krakow, (too) often described as the “new Prague”.

Krakow - Main Square

Neil Taylor, who pioneered tourism to Poland and other Eastern Bloc nations, says: “This could be part of a BA resurgence to prove that some towns can justify a higher level of service than that offered on budget airlines. Citybreak operators will certainly be pleased that another serious destination for them has become available and conference organisers will be equally pleased as neither work happily with budget airlines.”

Krakow has a long, distinguished history as one of the great cities of Europe. Stand in its magnificent medieval Market Square, where coronations took place when it was Poland’s capital, and on every side you can see architectural master- pieces from centuries past. Most dominant is the Gothic basilica of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary or Kosciol Mariacki, with its celebrated tower from where the hejnal or bugle call is performed on the hour, every hour – breaking off sharply in mid note in memory of the fatal Tatar arrow that pierced the throat of the bugler, who was raising the alarm with his call in 1241 as Mongols besieged the city.

One reason the centre of Krakow has been so beautifully preserved is the four lost decades following the Second World War. Until 1989, Poland was effectively under the stifling control of Moscow: the Warsaw Pact, embracing nations from East Germany to Bulgaria, was a union of unwilling participants who were prevented from access to the free market of the West. That, at least, was the idea – though Poles proved more adept than most at gaining access to the West, and the trading skills of some was the stuff of legends.

Today, the notion that ambitious young Polish people tend to seek their fortunes elsewhere in Europe has been overturned. The city is styling itself as Poland’s Silicon Valley, and is attracting highly skilled IT and R&D professionals – with other businesses locking into the city’s growth strategy.

UBS set up an office in Krakow in 2007. “We have attracted many talented individuals who have contributed to the success of our firm,” says Michal Stepien, the general manager. “Our operation is constantly expanding.”

Just as tourists find prices in Krakow gratifyingly low, the city is an inexpensive place to do business. Thanks partly to the wealth of hotels, Krakow is becoming a noted trade fair and convention city. The EXPO Krakow complex, a short distance east of the city centre, this year hosts Infrasnow, dealing with equipment for winter-sports resorts, in September; Krakow’s International Book Fair in the following month; and Horeca, for hotel, retail and catering establishments, in November.

The city’s harmonious jumble of architectural styles – CORBIS Off-duty, the attractions are endless. Lining the Market Square are palaces, cafes and restaurants built in a harmonious jumble of Mannerist, Rococo, Baroque, Renaissance and even Neo-classical styles. Since Krakow served as European capital of culture in the Millennium year, 2000, it has lured avant-garde artists seeking freedom and inspiration.

A leading gallery, ICC (mck.krakow. pl), is currently exhibiting until June an artistic dialogue between Brazilian photographer Cristiano Mascaro and Polish artist Slawomir Rumiak, and culture abounds on all sides. And even beneath you lies just one of a plethora of museums which opened in 2010. Spread over 4,000 square metres underneath the Market Square, this multi media museum (mhk.pl) displays treasures which relate the turbulent history of Krakow.

Back at the airport – which is named after the city’s most celebrated son, Pope John-Paul II – the trajectory of Krakow is clear from the latest figures. It is the biggest regional airport in Poland, and last year saw its best ever year. This was helped by a 7 per cent increase in traffic to and from its biggest market: London, with a record-breaking 402,000 passengers on the route. The new British Airways link means 2015 stands to be even more successful.

via Europe’s forgotten city back in premier league – Business – News – The Independent.

May 1, 2015 Posted by | Events, Krakow Travel Advice, News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz ‘may turn away people’ amid record visits

Over 250,000 people visited the former Nazi concentration camp in January-March this year

Birkenau Watch Tower

The former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz is attracting so many visitors people may have to be turned away, staff there have warned.

The Polish site, now a museum and memorial, saw a 40 per cent increase in visits in the first three months of 2015, compared with the previous year.

Staff advise people wishing to visit to book in advance online.

More than a million people, mostly Jews, died at Auschwitz during World War Two.

“We already see that on particular hours, long waiting may be necessary in order to enter the former camp,” said Andrzej Kacorzyk, the museum’s deputy director.

“If the attendance continues to grow in such a dynamic way in the months to follow, it may result in the fact that not all persons willing to enter the former camp and learn about the history of Auschwitz in its authentic space will be able to do it.”

This year the death camp marked 70 years since its liberation by Soviet soldiers, a possible explanation for the surge in visitors.

But attendances had already been growing, with a record 1.5m people visiting in 2014.

The news came as a former Nazi SS guard at the camp began the second day of his trial on charges of being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews.

Oskar Groening, 93, has admitted he was “morally” guilty but said it was up to the court to decide whether he was guilty under criminal law.

via Auschwitz ‘may turn away people’ amid record visits – BBC News.

April 24, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, Krakow Travel Advice, News | Leave a comment

‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ trial begins in Germany – BBC News

A 93-year-old former Nazi SS guard, known as the “Bookkeeper of Auschwitz”, has admitted he is “morally guilty”.

Oskar Groening

Oskar Groening spoke at the beginning of his trial for being an accessory to the murder of at least 300,000 Jews at the concentration camp.

He described his role of counting money confiscated from new arrivals and said he witnessed mass killings, but denied any direct role in the genocide.

If found guilty he could face three to 15 years in prison.

via ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ trial begins in Germany – BBC News.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Owns Schindler’s List?

A preliminary hearing starts Wednesday in Jerusalem in a legal case that pits the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre against the estate of Oskar Schindler’s widow to decide who owns the legacy of the man who saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazis.

Schindlers List

Who owns Schindler’s list? That is the question to be decided by a Jerusalem court, which holds a preliminary hearing on the case on April 15. A document from almost exactly 70 years ago lies at the heart of the legal battle – dated April 18, 1945, it lists the names of 801 Jewish workers who German industrialist Oskar Schindler saved from extermination by asking the Nazi authorities to allow them to work at his factories.

The rights to this document and others are being claimed by both Israel’s Yad Vashem memorial centre and Erika Rosenberg, who is both a beneficiary and the executor of the estate of Emilie Schindler, Oskar’s wife.

Yad Vashem, which describes itself as the Jewish people’s “living memorial to the Holocaust”, is dedicated to safeguarding the remembrance of the tragedy for future generations. In 1999 the Jerusalem-based centre received a suitcase sent from Germany containing thousands of documents, including two of the four remaining copies of Schindler’s list, of which there were originally seven copies typed on onionskin paper.

The suitcase – of incalculable historical and financial value – was in the possession of Anne-Marie Staehr, who was once Oskar Schindler’s mistress. Schindler left for Argentina with his wife after the war, returning alone to Germany in 1957, where he died in anonymity in October 1974.

The suitcase and the list found its way to the press in Germany, where it made headlines, and was eventually sent to Yad Vashem by German journalist Ulrich Sahm, a Jerusalem resident and a former correspondent for the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” newspaper.

On these events, both warring parties agree. But the two sides differ on who held the rightful claim to the documents prior to their arrival in Israel.

Rosenberg alleges that Staehr absconded with the documents from Schindler’s home in Frankfurt after his death and kept them in the suitcase until her own death in 1984. Forgotten in the attic of her house in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, they were found 15 years later by Staehr’s son.

Emilie Schindler, who still lives in Argentina, learned of the existence of the documents through the media. She asked Rosenberg, then her friend and biographer, to retrieve them and bring them to her in Buenos Aires. But when Rosenberg confronted the “Stuttgarter Zeitung” to demand it hand over the documents, she was told the suitcase had already been sent to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

The Israeli news daily “Haaretz” cites Rosenberg as saying that Emilie fell ill over the affair, and that she called it “a huge injustice”. “I saved Jews, together with my husband, and now the Jews have taken the suitcase away from me. You must demand it, even after my death,” she allegedly said.

In 2001 Emilie returned to Germany, where she died without leaving any descendents. Like her husband, she was posthumously bestowed with the title of “Righteous Among the Nations”, the highest civilian honour that Israel grants to Gentiles who saved Jews during World War II.

As the designated executor of Emilie Schindler’s estate, Rosenberg sought in vain to fulfill her wishes by retrieving the documents. In 2013 she filed a legal suit against Yad Vashem, which she accused of theft.

Rosenberg’s lawyer, Naor Yair Maman, makes a distinction between the legal case and its historical ramifications.

“Even if you believe that, from the historical-academic perspective, it would be preferable that the documents remain in Yad Vashem, you have no right whatsoever to claim title to someone else’s property,” he told AFP.

Yad Vashem says it obtained the documents legally and has always acted with transparency. The memorial centre contends that Oskar Schindler gave the suitcase in question to Staehr voluntarily – and that it had, therefore, never belonged to Emilie.

“Yad Vashem holds the documents lawfully and has acted the whole time openly and publicly,” it said in a statement to AFP, adding that it was opposed to “trading in Holocaust-era documents”. Citing their historical value, the centre said the documents must remain in the public domain.

Yad Vashem requested a dismissal of the charges in February, a request that was denied by the Jerusalem District Court.

“We will hold our debate with Rosenberg in court to ensure these documents do not reach the private hands of those who are not their legal owners and whose interests are unclear,” Yad Vashem subsequently vowed.

Rosenberg has always defended her intentions, saying she only wants to “preserve, protect and restore the historical data”.

In July 2013, another copy of Schindler’s list – which notably inspired the eponymous film by American director Steven Spielberg – was sold on eBay for $3 million.

April 15, 2015 Posted by | Auschwitz, News, This Day In History | , , , | 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

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

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

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

Krakow’s Rynek (Main Square) is the worlds best

Lonely Planet travel guides have rated Krakows Main Market Square as the most beautiful in the world.

Krakows historic Rynek Glowny managed to beat off competition from Venices celebrated Piazza San Marco 2nd place and the Jamaa el Fna in Marrakesh 3rd in the top ten ranking.

The French wing of Lonely Planet noted that the Krakow site had “miraculously” survived the ravages of the Second World War, and that street performers and flower-sellers all do their bit in creating the magic of the square.

Lonely Planet enthused that among the most captivating times to visit the square is during the annual Nativity Scene Contest, which takes place on the first Thursday of every December. On that day, contestants line up their distinctive Christmas Cribs on the ledges of the Adam Mickiewicz monument.

Krakows Old Town was rebuilt from scratch after being burnt to the ground by Mongol invaders in the mid 13th Century, hence the citys grid layout. During the Nazi German occupation of the Second World War, the square was renamed Adolf Hitler Platz. However, on the architectural level, the city managed to escape the destruction experienced by many other Polish towns and cities.

Other squares picked in Lonely Planets top ten include the Old Town Square in Prague, Isfahans Imam Square and Moscows Red Square.

via Lonely Planet declares Krakow square worlds finest – National.

December 18, 2013 Posted by | News, Recommendations | , | 1 Comment

%d bloggers like this: