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.
Bochnia, Tarnów, Dąbrowa Tarnowska
Bochnia, Nowy Sącz, Bobowa
Wadowice, Oświęcim, Chrzanów
Działoszyce, Pińczów, Chmielnik
Bytom, Zabrze, Gliwice