LUBLIN - MAJDANEK TOUR

BACKGROUND:

This city was to become one of the most recognised Jewish places in the Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth. Its importance grew in the middle of the XVI century when the Council of the Four Lands was established at the famous Szeroka (Wide) Street in the vicinity of the castle. Lublin was chosen as a place for many conventions and ultimately performed many crucial functions in the Council enclosing the post of the Speaker. Here, in 1567, according to king’s privilege, sages of the Lublin yeshiwa obtained the title of rector and rights equal those of other universities in Poland. This tremendous achievement caused a further developing of the cultural, educational, and social elements of Lublin’s Jewry. However, Jews also experienced periods of complete devastation of their culture, for instance, during the invasion of Ukrainian wild hordes – Cossacks. In the second half of the XVIII century, Lublin became a Hasidic centre and Podzamcze (bailey) – the Jewish district was in full swing, approximately 3,500 Jews lived there and in nearby places like Wieniawa.  After the period of partitions, it was estimated by census made in 1921 that the population in Lublin was 94,412 inhabitants, including 37,337 Jews (39,5%).

TOUR INFORMATION:

Duration – 11 hours

Language: English

Distance from Warsaw: 169 km

Additional materials: maps, images, photos of old places, statistics, books, tabels with the structure of Jewish institutions between 1939-1943, a list of insurgents from the Uprising of 1943.

I deliver highly professional and specialized guide.

I deal with individual customers as well as organized groups. I work for: traveling organizations, foundations, universities, corporations, embassies, business customers, private customers.

Each customer is served individually and the program is customized to particular needs.

I take you on trips in luxurious cars, mini vans, buses.

PRICE BRACKET:

Up to 5 persons – 275 $

6 – 8 person – 305 $

More than 8 persons – price is negotiated individually.

TOUR DESCRIPTION:

The Second World War brought total destruction and almost the entirety of materials connected with the previous centuries, the long presence of Jews, were destroyed. However, using photos and visualizations on which the street layout of Jewish districts is visible gives us a chance to imagine this impressive local world, full of crumbling houses inhabited by the poorest people, as well as the main cobblestone street – Szeroka, with numbers of significant and distinctive roomers or marketplaces where handcrafters traded, while nearby stood the synagogue of Maharszala, of which they were deeply proud.

Nevertheless, some traces of this past are preserved from the war and narrate – even if so insensibly – this history of vital Jewish life. We stroll among the Old City, where we see Grodzka Gate, a Jewish orphanage, Kraków Gate, and other tenements. The old and the new Jewish cemetery, Yeshivat Chachmei Lublin (The Yeshiva – a real landmark of the city, now a luxury 4-star hotel), a former Jewish hospital, prayer house, synagogue, all reveal the real heritage. During the war in this city, Odilo Globocnik – the man responsible for mass destruction of Polish Jews under the Reinhard Operation – set up his quarters. We can find here the places where they installed offices to perpetrate the final solution and where they accumulated looted Jewish belongings. Still, it’s so difficult to touch the heart of the Jewish district –  also the place where the ghetto existed – they blew it off the face of the city.

MAJDANEK EXTERMINATION CAMP:

Majdanek extermination camp, established on the outskirts of the city, became a truly unimaginable place of human suffering and systematic killing, a place of atrocities and slave labour, pursued by Hitler’s henchmen from October 1941 until July 1944. The total number of victims amounted to approx. 80,000 people, of which approx. 60,000 were Jews. The most notorious executions occurred on November 3, 1943, when 18,400 Jews were killed on a single day in a frame of operations coded Harvest Festival.

The Camp survived the war almost intact, however, some barracks and buildings were dismantled, some others rebuilt. Nowadays, crossing the five fields – zones surrounded by double barbed wire fences once connected to a high voltage electricity grid, and protected by wooden sentry towers, we can see barracks built from timber, and the place bears witness to a horrific reality.

All the process of destruction of human beings, those who were unloaded 2 kilometres away at the rail ramp, looking at the huge camp area, is possible to reconstruct.

WHAT WAS THE  NATURE OF MAJDANEK ?

The main gate – now commemorated with a memorial, served as the entrance to hell, and people saw it. Hundreds of plates with skull and crossbones on, spread around the area, informed newcomers about the grim nature of this place, and as survivors testified, they were shuffling around among the mud or slop, if they came in autumn, thinking that there was no exit from there.

Selection in a field cynically named – rose field, bathing, delousing, disinfection, allocations for labour work or – if not – the last moment in their life, when they, especially those underage, infirm, Jews, turned behind the bath in the direction of the chambers. Several dozen barracks remind us of the structure of the camps and expositions fitted inside depict step by step what happened. Also, the large crematorium installed at the top of the camp with its furnaces, show us the process.

An impressive monument sends only one message for new generations – it’s a warning for you.