From the Holocaust to Revival of Jewish Life in Poland

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In this program, you will learn about Jewish life in Poland, tracing events from before the terror of the Holocaust to contemporary efforts to revive Jewish life and culture. People of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to participate in this journey.

Your program begins and ends in Krakow, Poland, the intellectual and cultural heart of Poland. Krakow was spared the destruction that befell many European cities during World War II, so you will walk cobblestone streets nestled between Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic buildings. In Krakow, you will be introduced to Jewish life and culture in the Polish context.

Then, you will travel by a short bus ride to Oswiecim, Poland and the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. More than 1 million visitors each year cross the threshold of this World Heritage Site. You will have an insider's view of history through special guided tours, visits with museum staff, and a talk with a survivor, when available.

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9.6 Rating
based on 5 reviews
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  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.8
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
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Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful learning experience! Anna was a 10+!

This program is simply a must for people who want an intimate learning experience about wartime Poland, and the history of the culture there pre/post WWII. Our site coordinator, Anna, made the experience seamless; everything ran smoothly under her watch. This project is heavier on the learning versus hands on volunteering, but I understood that going into it. The lodging was as I anticipated it to be, and meals were uniformly better than expected. I am thrilled we participated in this, and I feel like the program exceeded my expectations.

What would you improve about this program?
Well done!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Auschwitz Service Work

A once in a lifetime experience that everyone should take advantage of.

Amizade organized an exceptional trip centered around holocaust history and the memory of European Jewish life.
There were no issues with the trip and the itinerary was packed with meaningful learning opportunities.
The guides were experienced and helpful.
The accommodations were excellent.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

My trip to Poland was an absolutely amazing learning experience. You may think you know about the Holocaust, but actually being where it took place and talking to local members of the community really gives you a brand new perspective and understanding on the atrocities that took place.

Completing service work for the Auschwitz museum included cleaning cauldrons that will later go into a kitchen exhibit, and retagging the baskets the Jews brought with them during deportation later to be confiscated upon arrival to the camp. It was a surreal experience handling such artifacts, and working in the camp is a once in a lifetime experience.

You wont regret this trip!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change is more service work. Only one half day was spent doing actual work, while the rest of out service was learning about the community and the history.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Opportunity

As someone who had never even been on an airplane, much less travelled abroad, I cannot say enough great things about my experience. I wish we would have had more time for service projects at the Auschwitz museum (we were replacing tags on baskets and creating storage bags for umbrellas), but I understand our group had time restraints. Sara from Amizade was very helpful, and I enjoyed my interactions with her. Our site coordinator, Dr. Matthias Hass, was an incredible resource, and I feel the success of my experience is due largely in part to his participation. However, I felt my interactions with our other site coordinator, Ana were not even close to positive. I felt she was completely uninterested in interacting with the group, or helping us to have a great learning opportunity in Poland. I recognize that this was her first time working with Amizade, but I was thoroughly unimpressed by her lack of preparedness and participation. Blowing off our service activity to go peruse the parts of the museum she wanted to see, or telling us to look up information on the historic sites ourselves when she actually had no idea what she was talking about is unacceptable to me, and seriously hampered my enjoyment of the last leg of our trip. I feel if Amizade is to continue employing her as a site coordinator, she should shadow someone like Matthias, and be supervised by someone like Sara. However, even with Ana as a tour guide, I still had a great experience, as Sara was present for our time in Krakow. On a positive note, I loved interacting with the locals, especially during our tours. Our guide at the Auschwitz museum was Aggie, and she was a remarkable guide. I feel my experience at Auschwitz would not have been the same without her. Our other tour guide in Krakow was also very good. All of the staff at the Auschwitz museum were very friendly and helpful, and I was glad to meet them and spend the time we did helping them in the Artifacts department. I liked having the free time we were allowed to explore and visit the Christmas markets, and felt very safe going off in pairs and small groups. The only accommodation I didn't enjoy as much was the Hotel 4 Youth in Berlin, as my room was pretty destroyed, but it was certainly livable for the amount of time we were there. I loved the meals, and was very excited to try all of the new foods we were given. Overall, I loved my trip to Poland, and cannot thank Amizade enough for providing me with this fantastic opportunity.

What would you improve about this program?
Our tour guide in Krakow, who was unprepared and seemingly uninterested in assisting the group in having a positive experience.
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Yes, I recommend this program

If you care about history and reconciliation in a broken world, do this trip!

Amizade does a phenomenal job of mixing service and the serious nature of the work with the social and cultural aspects of southern Poland and the medieval gem of Krakow. No matter how much you think you know about the history of a place, I discovered that true understanding is lacking until you serve the community whose history you are studying. Our group had the incredible opportunity to work with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum on preservation efforts. Yet we weren't just given menial tasks; we were entrusted to clean and preserve the invaluable shoes of Holocaust victims. Simply put, wow.