Places of Interest in Poland


Symbolic Cemetery at Treblinka


Treblinka is the name of a remote village in northeastern Poland. It is also the name of a Nazi death camp to which the Jews from Poland and other countries were sent after the Nazis began to implement their plan to systematically exterminate European Jewry. It is now the site of a monument surrounded by 17,000 stones which simulate a graveyard. This is a spot that is truly off the beaten path and a place that the Poles say was "forgotten by God". [More]


Old house in village of Tykocin


Tykocin is a village near the town of Bialystok in northeastern Poland, not far from the extermination camp at Treblinka. Tykocin is an example of one of the many former Jewish shtetls or villages in the days before Polish Jewry and this way of life were completely obliterated by the Nazis. A Baroque Synagogue, which was built there in 1642 and is considered one of the finest in Poland, has been preserved and is open to visitors, along with a museum with displays of Jewish artifacts. The town square boasts a Baroque Catholic church which dates back to the 18th century. The town of Tykocin is like an Ethnographic Museum with many charming houses from a vanishing past. [More]

Birthplace of Marie Curie in Warsaw 


The largest city in Poland and the capital of the country, Warsaw has become a modern city which doesn't look much different from any big city in America, but still retains historic buildings and monuments from a bygone era. The city was 80% destroyed by the Germans during World War II, but the Old Town has been lovingly restored and is now an authentic replica of the past. Before World War II, Warsaw was the home of 375,000 Jews, one third of the population of the city. It once had the largest Jewish population of any city in Europe. One of Poland's most famous citizens was Marie Skladovska, who was born Nov. 7, 1867 in Warsaw and became Madame Curie when she married. She discovered radium and was twice awarded the Nobel prize. [More]

Monument at site of Mila 18

 The Warsaw Ghetto

The former Ghetto in which all the Jews of Warsaw were imprisoned in November 1940 behind high brick walls is now only a memory. The Ghetto buildings were 100% leveled by the Germans and the area has now been rebuilt with modern buildings. Today there are only monuments, and a short section of the original wall, which are painful reminders of what happened there. The spot where the Jews were assembled for deportation, and the site of Mila 18 where on April 19, 1943 a handful of Jewish rebels fought the German SS troops are now commemorated by memorials. [More]

Cemetery on Walecznych St. in Lublin


Located in southeastern Poland, Lublin is now a modern city with a tragic past. Before World War II, a famous Yeshiva was located there and the city was known as the "Jewish Oxford." Lublin was once a main population center for Hasidic Jews, but during World War II, the Jewish community was completely destroyed. The Jewish New Cemetery in Lublin has been reconstructed with a symbolic wall and a stunning memorial building called the Chamber of Memory. During World War II, Lublin was the headquarters for the Operation Reinhard extermination camps on the eastern border of German-occupied Poland. [More]


Monument at Entrance to Majdanek Camp


Majdanek is the Polish name for Maidanek, a former Nazi Prisoner of War camp and forced labor camp, which was built in what was then a suburb of Lublin. After 1942, it also had the dual purpose of being an extermination camp for the Jews. It was the first Nazi concentration camp to be liberated in the final days of World War II, and had the only completely intact workable gas chambers to be found by the Allies. The camp was liberated by Russian and Ukrainian soldiers on Sunday, July 23, 1944 and Lublin immediately became the capital of the new Communist regime in Poland. [More]


Electrified fence and guard tower at Birkenau


Birkenau was a huge Nazi concentration camp, located 3 kilometers from the Auschwitz main camp. It was here that Jews were sent from all over Europe and over a million of them died. When it was liberated by Soviet soldiers on January 27,1945, the Germans had abandoned the camp after blowing up the three remaining gas chambers, leaving behind 5,800 prisoners, including 611 children. The camp has been left just as it was in 1945, a vast ghost town of empty barracks and a forest of brick chimneys that are all that is left of the buildings that were burned when the camp was abandoned. [More]

Courtyard in Kazimierz


If you've seen Schindler's List, you've seen Kazimierz, which is portrayed in the movie as the Jewish walled ghetto set up by the Nazis in nearby Podgorze. Kazimierz was named after the Polish king who founded the town just outside Krakow in 1335 and who, coincidentally, invited the Jews to settle in Poland after they were expelled from Germany around the same time. Today Kazimierz is recognized as the best preserved old Jewish quarter in Europe. The oldest surviving Synagogue in Poland is located there. [More]


Monument at Plaszow


Plaszow was one of the numerous Nazi concentration camps in Poland and was of no particular importance until it became famous as a result of the movie Schindler's List, based on a novel about the Jews of the Podgorze ghetto in Krakow and the Plaszow camp. Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German from the Sudetenland in what is now the Czech Republic, saved 1098 of these Jews from the sadism of camp commandant Amon Goeth by setting up a sub-camp at his factory in the Zablocie district of Krakow. When the Plaszow camp was closed, Schindler made up a List of 1,100 Jews and bribed Nazi officials to send them to a new factory which he opened near his home town in what is now the Czech Republic. His factory became a sub-camp of the Gross Rosen concentration camp. [More]

Gas Chamber at Auschwitz I


Auschwitz was the first concentration camp in what is now Poland; it opened in June 1940 at a former military garrison. The name Auschwitz has become symbolic of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Jews. It was at the Auschwitz main camp that Zyklon B, an insecticide, was first tested in June 1941 and then used for the first mass killing of humans in a gas chamber on Sept. 3, 1941. Visitors can walk into the gas chamber which was reconstructed in 1947. [More]


Catholic Crosses erected in front of Block 11

 1998 War of the Crosses

Outside the walls of the former Auschwitz main camp, and in front of Block 11 where Father Kolbe, a Catholic saint, was imprisoned, Christian crosses were erected in September 1998 in a former gravel pit where 152 Polish Catholic resistance fighters were executed by the Nazis. Jewish leaders demanded that the crosses be removed because Auschwitz is the place where the first Jews were gassed when the Nazis carried out Hitler's Final Solution. [More]


Old log house in Poland

 Polish houses & Little Chapels

The road from Krakow to Auschwitz passes through many villages with picturesque wooden houses dating back to the 18th century; some of them are constructed of logs like the houses in the American pioneer days. There are many charming houses with a cottage garden in the front. At every crossing or dangerous place in the road stands a "little chapel" or Catholic statue of the Virgin Mary to guard over travelers. [More]


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