Become immersed in the cultural legacies and poignant history of the Jewish communities of Warsaw, Budapest, Vienna and Prague on this special Jewish heritage tour. Emotionally stirring, historic sites are inextricably linked to their Jewish heritage, offering a chance to learn, in depth, reflect and remember the sacrifices that were made there.
Sites include the Ghetto Memorial, the Jewish Historical Institute, Nozyk Synagogue and the Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN) in Warsaw; Kazimierz (the former Jewish Quarter) and Plaszów concentration camp in Kraków, with a stop at Oskar Schindler's factory; and the poignant museum and memorial in Auschwitz-Birkenau. In Budapest, visit Dohány and Kazinczy synagogues in the Jewish Quarter; the Holocaust Memorial; and enjoy private access, prayer and a Q&A with the Rabbi at the Frankel Synagogue. A walking tour of Old Town Bratislava offers insights on the Jewish Holocaust in Slovakia. Explore Leopoldstadt, the Judenplatz, the synagogue and the Jewish Museum in Vienna; and Terezin concentration camp, the Czech Republic's Memorial of National Martyrdom, the Museum of the Ghetto and Josefov, Prague's historic Jewish Quarter, during a stay in Prague.
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, the Hotel Bristol, Warsaw. A transfer is included from Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport to your historic hotel on Warsaw's fashionable "Royal Route." Meet your travel companions and your Tauck Director at tonight's welcome reception and dinner with a regional flair in the hotel, a Warsaw landmark for over a century.
The Warsaw Ghetto Memorial, Polin Museum & Chopin
As the first full day of your Jewish Heritage tour begins, join our local guide for a Warsaw city sightseeing tour to sites that honor and commemorate the Jews who were deported or killed during World War II. Visit the Nozyk Synagogue, the only synagogue that survived the war, out of 400 in the city. Learn about what life is like today for the city’s Jewish community at the Taube Center for the Renewal of Jewish Life in Poland. After lunch and free time on your own, drive to the POLIN Museum (Museum of the Polish Jews) with stops at the Ghetto Heroes Monument and Umschlagplatz, the site where Jews were gathered and deported to Treblinka in freight cars; take a guided tour of the museum, where interactive exhibits tell a narrative history of Jews in Poland, once the largest Jewish community in the world. This evening, Chopin’s music comes to life at a private piano recital at the Polish Music Library or the Porczynski Gallery, followed by a dinner featuring typical Polish cuisine and folkloric entertainment at a local restaurant.
Kraków, Plaszów concentration camp & more
Start the day with a rail journey from Warsaw – aboard a car in second-class, exclusively for Tauck guests – across the Polish countryside to ancient Kraków, the country's medieval capital and considered one of the finest medieval cities in Europe, for a two-night stay; its historic center (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, head to the Podgórze district and make a photo stop at the factory of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved the lives of over a thousand Jewish workers in his employ, as portrayed in the film, Schindler’s List. Stop at the Plaszów camp for a guided visit en route to your hotel; also depicted in the film, this infamous concentration / slave labor camp held more than 150,000 civilians prisoner during the war, thousands of whom perished here. Settle into your hotel, where you'll have dinner at your leisure this evening.
Visit Kazimierz in Kraków & poignant Auschwitz-Birkenau
In Kraków this morning, drive through Kazimierz, the city’s former Jewish Quarter (holidays permitting); once a separate town that dated back to the 14th century but was nearly destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, this historic district is currently undergoing a renaissance as its synagogues and churches are restored and new cafés, bars and bistros pop up. Schedule permitting, a look inside the somber 15th-century Old Synagogue Museum reveals a wide-ranging treatment of the history of Kraków’s Jews. This afternoon, journey to the poignant memorial and museum at Auschwitz, 40 miles southwest of the city, for a guided tour of the site where so many perished, including Blocks 4, 5, 7 and 11; board a coach for a visit to the Birkenau camp. Tonight's dinner in Kraków’s Jewish Quarter includes traditional Klezmer music.
Through the Tatra Mountains, bound for Hungary & Budapest
Travel from Poland through the scenic Tatra Mountains, stopping for lunch in Slovakia en route to Hungary. Arrive in Budapest, where you'll have dinner tonight – with wine included – aboard Tauck's private dinner cruise on the Danube River for a unique view of the Hungarian capital's historic architecture, illuminated at night. Spend the next three nights in the heart of this remarkable city.
Synagogues & the Jewish Quarter in Budapest
The Danube River divides Budapest into two distinct areas, Buda and Pest. Today, Tauck’s locally guided sightseeing shows you the best of Pest, sprawling along the eastern banks of the Danube. View the city’s historic embassy district; City Park; and adjacent Andrassy Avenue, one of Budapest’s main shopping boulevards, lined with elegant 19th-century mansions and townhouses and itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join us for a walking tour of the Jewish Quarter, Erzsébetváros (Elizabethtown), with an inside visit to the synagogues at Dohány and Kazinczy (holidays permitting); and a stop at Csanyi 5, a permanent exhibition of local Jewish history representing reconstructions of residential and working spaces of the Jewish community between the end of the 19th century and 1945.. Spend the afternoon at leisure exploring as you wish, then attend prayer and a Q&A with a Rabbi during exclusive, private access in the Frankel Synagogue. Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening.
Parliament, Buda & the Holocaust Memorial
Today includes a guided tour of Hungary’s neo-Gothic Parliament building in Pest, an icon of Budapest’s skyline. Crossing over to Buda, you can practically feel the history that’s been made inside the Gothic Matthias Church, among the city’s most notable sites, where the last two Hungarian kings were crowned. Check out the imposing Fisherman’s Bastion looming over the Danube, and stroll the quaint lanes and cobblestone streets of Castle Hill, perched above the river’s western bank. Sample local Hungarian cuisine at a restaurant in Buda, then join us for a guided tour of the Holocaust Memorial Center, formerly a synagogue, now a memorial and museum dedicated to the more than 500,000 victims of the Hungarian Holocaust.
A walking tour of Bratislava, Slovakia's ancient capital, en route to Vienna
Travel today on Tauck's Jewish Heritage tour from Hungary through Slovakia en route to Austria, stopping in Slovakia’s ancient capital city, Bratislava. Discover 17 centuries worth of history along the cobblestoned, vehicle-free streets of the city’s Old Town on a walking tour with our local guide who provides in-depth commentary about the Jewish Holocaust in Slovakia. Following lunch, you will have time to explore the sights on your own. Your journey continues to Vienna, Austria, for a three-night stay; enjoy dinner à la carte tonight in your landmark hotel in the heart of the city, the Hotel Bristol, Vienna.
Exploring Jewish history, life & culture in Vienna
Discover a Jewish perspective of life in Vienna that goes back over 800 years on a comprehensive city tour today. Once one of the most prominent centers of Jewish culture in Europe and gradually recovering since 1945, the city’s Jewish population was almost entirely deported and murdered in the Holocaust. Start your exploration in Leopoldstadt, an ancient center of Jewish life in Vienna and currently a modern-day hub; see Hundertwasserhaus, a colorful landmark named for the spirited half-Jewish artist who designed it. Later, enjoy a guided tour of the Belvedere, a museum in Belvedere Castle, and an exhibit of works by Gustav Klimt. The remainder of the day is free to explore Vienna as you wish.
Vienna's Judenplatz & a private palace concert
Today's guided Jewish heritage tour of Vienna includes visits to the Stadttempel (the only synagogue in the city that survived World War II), the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, and the Jewish Museum in Judenplatz, the historic Jewish Quarter. Following lunch, take a self-guided tour of the Jewish Museum at Palais Eskeles, whose collections showcase Austrian Jewish life. This evening, enjoy dinner at the renowned Café Landtmann – the quintessential Viennese coffee house since 1873 – then attend a private classical music concert in a historic Viennese palace.
From Vienna to Prague
Depart Vienna and cross the border into the Czech Republic en route to Prague, the ancient capital of today's modern Czech Republic. Upon arrival, have lunch including a Q&A with a concentration camp survivor; then set off on a tour of Prague's medieval Old Town and the iconic Charles Bridge. Spend the next three nights at Four Seasons Hotel Prague, overlooking the Vltava, Prague Castle and Charles Bridge in the heart of one of Europe's best-preserved historic cities.
Terezin concentration camp outside Prague
During World War II, German propaganda led the world to believe that Terezin (Theresienstadt) – located about 38 miles northwest of Prague – was a model village built to protect the Jews, safekeeping them from the war. The ruse worked to the detriment of nearly 200,000 men, women and children who passed through its gates on their way to concentration camps or probable death inside. Your guided visit here includes the Memorial of National Martyrdom, the Small Fortress, a former Gestapo prison, and the Museum of the Ghetto. Have lunch in a nearby restaurant and return to Prague for a private cruise on the Vltava River, followed by an evening spent as you wish.
The Strahov Libraries, Josefov (Jewish Quarter) & a farewell evening
Begin the day with an exclusive-to-Tauck, privately guided tour of the opulent Baroque libraries of Strahov Monastery in the heart of Prague, restored to their 17th- and 18th-century glory. Then meet up with your local guide to explore the Josefov District, Prague’s historic Jewish Quarter. See the Jewish Cemetery, dating back to medieval days; the Old-New Synagogue, founded in the 13th century; and Pinkus and Maisel synagogues (holidays permitting). Spend a free afternoon discovering sights that interest you most in the well-preserved city of Prague. This evening, join us for our Tauck Exclusive farewell reception and dinner at a local venue in Prague.
Tour ends: Prague, Czech Republic. A transfer is included from Four Seasons Hotel Prague to Prague's Václav Havel International Airport. Please allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.