Krakow Tours

Planning a visit? Let us help.

Oswiecim (Auschwitz) to separate from its’ twin.

KRAKOW TOURS – The mayor of Ballan-Mire, central France, has announced that he does not want to renew a twinning agreement with the southern Polish town of Oswiecim, citing concerns that the local authorities there are distancing themselves from the former Nazi concentration camp situated there.

According to reports from Agence France Presse (AFP), Laurent Baumel, the socialist mayor of Ballan-Mire, near Tours, has criticised the twinning agreement, signed in 2002 by his predecessor, by stating that the contract does not refer in any way to the Nazis’ activity at the site of Auschwitz, where an estimated 3 million people died during World War II.

“There is no talk of the Holocaust, Shoah or the camp,” Baumel told AFP, underlining that the twinning agreement is “a typical ‘twinning’ between a French and Polish town geared towards cultural and touristic exchange.”

According to Mayor Baumel, since 2008 Oswiecim authorities want to forget about the Nazi concentration camp as part of the twinning agreement. “The Polish local authorities are standing by the separation of the town from the death camp, in effect leading to the trivialisation of the town itself,” Baumel stated.

“In fact, their approach is based as if they were to say ‘stop identifying our quaint town with a death camp; Oswiecim is not Auschwitz’,” Baumel complains.

“By no means do I want to support a strategy based on separating the name of Auschwitz from everything it means in common history,” the mayor has said, with reports in La Nouvelle Republique (FR) that Baumel has already taken the decision not to renew the agreement.

Meanwhile, head of Oswiecim’s town council, Piotr Kucka is surprised by the French mayor’s decision.

“We have always repeatedly stated that it is not allowed to link the town with the camp. After all, that is also the policy of the Polish state as a whole,” Kucka told the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

“As soon as there is talk of an ‘Oswiecim camp’ instead of ‘Auschwitz’, a line is crossed as to the falsification of ‘Polish concentration camps’,” Kucka maintains.

Oswiecim is a town over 800 years old, reminds Piotr Kucka, yet Auschwitz was the result of a five-year period of Nazi occupation, when most Polish and Jewish residents were resettled to make way for a model German town.

Originally, Auschwitz camp was used for the interment of Poles. Town councillor Piotr Kucka told PAP that current residents of Oswiecim make sure that visiting Germans refer to the town in its proper Polish form, and the German name.

Co-operation between Ballan-Mire and Oswiecim has been ongoing for around ten years, starting with youth exchanges, and ultimately leading to a Polish-French Friendship Association based in the southern Polish town.

The mayor of Ballan-Mire last visited Oswiecim in the Spring of this year. His opposite number is Oswiecim, Janusz Marszalek, has not been informed of the decision.

LINKED STORY.  Oswiecim…Under the shadow of Auschwitz

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Auschwitz and Birkenau slide show

A great slide show of photographs taken by a recent guest of KRAKOW TOURS, at Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Thank you for allowing me to post on my blog.

October 25, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Holocaust denier David Irving watched closely at Auschwitz.

Controversial British historian David Irving wants to lead a tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp site but the museum says he will not be allowed to do so.

Imprisoned by Austria in 2006 for Holocaust denial, the historian started a tour around Poland this week with a group of people from the US and Australia and wants to present his, revisionist, interpretation of World War II history.

Irving, the author of several books which question elements of established Holocaust history, has claimed that much of what visitors to Auschwitz see today is a “reconstruction” and a Polish “money making machine”.

Though his original itinerary did not include the most infamous site of the Holocaust, the 72 year-old Irving has confirmed that he intends to  lead his tour party around the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

Irving will probably arrive at Auschwitz on 30 September but has not informed the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum about the visit. The museum says it will not be allowing him to lead a tour as he is not a bona fide qualified guide, however.

“David Irving cannot lead a tour group at Auschwitz because he is not licensed,” said director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Bartosz Bartyzel.

“He can visit the museum, like anyone else, but we will watch him closely and if he starts telling lies about the Holocaust, we will take action,” Bartyzel assured.

The director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum admitted, however, that it will be difficult to establish if a person who heads a group serves as a guide, or is just a group member.

“If I’m refused the right to enter a concentration camp or if I’m forced out, it will be methods such as the Nazi used,” David Irving told Italian daily Corriere della Sera after officials at the former Treblinka death camp announced that they will not let the British historian enter.

Irving’s tour has angered Poland’s small Jewish community. “Mr Irving is not a historian but a charlatan and a vicious liar,” said Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.

Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) says that it is following Irving’s steps in Poland to make sure he does not commit another “Holocaust related crime”. “We know where he is, what he’s doing and what he’s saying,” assured Marcin Golebiewicz from IPN.

Denying facts about the Holocaust is punishable by up to three years in prison in Poland.

September 23, 2010 Posted by | News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Holocaust denier to lead tours to Auschwitz and Treblinka

NOT KRAKOW TOURS – The Nigdy Więcej (Never Again) anti-racist organisation have called for ‘Holocaust denier’ British historian David Irving to be banned from entering Poland later this month.

Starting September 27, Irving is leading a tour party, with tickets costing around 1,500 euros each, taking in sites including the Treblinka death camp, Warsaw Ghetto and Hitler’s Bunker in the Masurian lake district.

Never Again, in a joint statement with the UK based Searchlight magazine, have called for Irving and his tour party – which he claims is sold out – not to be let into Poland.

“We urge Polish and British authorities to react strongly and not allow this shameful visit which offends the memory of victims of the war and the Holocaust,” says the Never Again statement.

“The group will mainly consist of Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis from the UK and other Western Europe countries and the United States,” the statement adds.

Protest

No protests against the visit have yet come to the notice of the police. “We have not yet received any information about demonstrations and assembly connected with Irving’s visit,” said Warsaw police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski .

“We have also not receive any information from Mr Irving that he felt threatened,” Sokolowski told the PAP news agency, noting that police have no responsibility for the security of private visits.

Irving has dismissed protests against his visit. He told the Daily Mail that his tour party was for “real history buffs”, and that it was the Polish authorities who had turned the Auschwitz Nazi death camp site into a “Disney-style” tourist trap and a “money making machine”. Irving went on to accuse Polish authorities of neglecting other less “marketable,” more authentic death camps, which “don’t have a Holiday Inn down the road,” in favor of Auschwitz.

He also accused Poland of erecting watch towers in Auschwitz that were not there during WW II, to make the place feel more authentic. “I have been a historian for 40 years. I know a fake when I see one. When you look at old photos of Auschwitz, those towers aren’t in the photographs,” he said.

Irving was arrested and imprisoned in 2006 when he visited Austria, where Holocaust denial is a crime.

Andrzej Arseniuk, spokesman for Poland’s National Remembrance Institute  – which investigates and prosecutes Nazi and communist-era crimes – said that they would take appropriate action if Irving publicly denies Nazi crimes. If incidents come to the attention of the law then “the prosecutor has the authority to deal with it,” Arseniuk said.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Krakow Travel Advice, News, Tour Information | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fire at former Nazi Death Camp

KRAKOW TOURS – Majdanek, a former Nazi concentration camp located near Lublin in eastern Poland, caught fire Monday night, destroying many of the wooden structures and as many as 10,000 pairs of shoes belong to victims who died at the camp, officials said Tuesday.

The fire started in one of the L-shaped barracks and was noticed by a security guard when he saw smoke coming from the structure as he was making his rounds. The fire department was called promptly but the wooden camp did not have much of a chance. Sixteen fire brigades came to the rescue, numbering 48 firefighters, but it took seven hours to contain the fire, which spread quickly and furiously over the camp.

The source of the fire, which brought an estimated one million złoty in damages, is yet unknown and, although speculations of faulty wiring and premeditated arson have not yet been completely eliminated, they seem unlikely to have been the cause.

August 12, 2010 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

%d bloggers like this: