Visitor services

Jewish Heritage tours outside Kraków

Shtetls and towns and villages in southeastern Poland where Jews have constituted a large part of the population before the WWII.

Jewish heritage in Poland is not only to be found in Krakow, Warsaw or other big cities. Important traces of many centuries of prsence of the Jewish communities can be found also - or, perhaps particularly - in other places: small towns and villages. To get to know the full and real image of Jewish life and its scale and complexity, it is worth going there - to see the synagogues and prayer houses, visit the cemetries, walk along narrow streets of old tenement houses, take a look inside courtyards and find traces of mezuzot on door frames.

"Walking through the main streets of Tarnów, or through the realtively rich neighbouhoods, one could have thought that all Jews of this town are rich merchants, lawyers and house owners, because this was the image you could see. However, who made an effort to enter humid flats in basements, the attics full of dust (...) only then one could see the poverty, the hunger, the neediness... On one side - Hasidim and relation with religion. On the other - the nation, simple people. This is where the Jewish cart drivers, the metal grinders, laundry ironers, workers who produced soap,and the porters lived..."
Quote from Adam Bartosz "Tarnowskie Judaica" [in:] "Tarnów. Egzystencja i zagłada żydowskiego miasta" ["Tarnów. The Existence and the Death of a Jewish Town"] (Tel Aviv 1954)

The following routes are merely suggestions. They can be easily modified and adjusted to your individual needs and interests. Each trip is supervised by an experienced guide. Each trip includes a special meeting with an expert in local history of one of the towns and/or an activist working to protect local Jewish heritage.

We also organize trips tracing family stories, which are completed by genealogical search.

List of routes

Bochnia, Tarnów, Dąbrowa Tarnowska

  • Bochnia: Jewish cemetery, memorial route, former synagogue building with memorial plaque
  • Tarnów: ruins of the synagogue, the market square, ul. Żydowska, former mikveh building, memorial commemorating the first transport to Auschwitz, Jewish cemetery
  • Dąbrowa Tarnowska: visit the Centre for the Meeting of Cultures (synagogue), Jewish cemetery
  • Meeting with an expert: Ms Iwona Zawidzka from the Bochnia Museum

Bochnia, Nowy Sącz, Bobowa

  • Bochnia: Jewish cemetery, memorial route, former synagogue building with memorial plaque
  • Bobowa: cemetery, synagogue
  • Nowy Sącz: synagogue, Jewish cemetery, prayer house
  • Meeting with an expert: staff of the Sądecki Sztetl Organisation in Nowy Sącz

Wadowice, Oświęcim, Chrzanów

  • Wadowice: site of the synagogue – memorial plaque, former mikveh, cemetery with the pre-burial house, area of the former ghetto and market square
  • Oświęcim: Chevrah Lomdei Mishnayot synagogue and the Jewish centre, ul. Berka Joselewicza, area of the former ghetto and market square
  • Chrzanów: former synagogue building cemetery, site of the former mikveh
  • Meeting with an expert: Staff from the Auschwitz Jewish Centre

Działoszyce, Pińczów, Chmielnik 

  • Działoszyce: synagogue, Holocaust memorial
  • Pińczów: synagogue
  • Chmielnik: visit to the Świętokrzyski Sztetl Museum and Education Centre in the Chmielnik synagogue, mikveh, tour of Chmielnik with Mr Piotr Krawczyk
  • Meeting with an expert: Piotr Krawczyk from the Świętokrzyski Sztetl Museum and Education Centre

Bytom, Zabrze, Gliwice

  • Bytom: active cemetery in Bytom, TSKŻ, one of the prayer houses
  • Zabrze: city tour following the footsteps of highly assimilated Jews such as Oskar Troplowitz, the creator of the Nivea cream and brand
  • Gliwice: House of Remembrance for the Jews of Upper Silesia, old Jewish cemetery
  • Experts: Karolina Jakoweńko of the House of Remembrance for the Jews of Upper Silesia and Mr Dariusz Walerjański of Zabrze