Archives for posts with tag: Krakow

FROM CONCENTRATION CAMPS TO TRENDY KRAKÓW

Part 1 was The Razing and Rebuilding of Warsaw

I grew up with the horror stories of the Holocaust, from family whispers to the stacks of books I devoured. (I can’t count how many versions of The Diary of Anne Frank I have read or seen acted.) Just knowing our Odysseys Unlimited tour included a visit to Auschwitz (known in German as Oswiecim) and its nearby sub-camp, Birkenau, made me edgy. We were travelling to Kraków, but the visit to the camps were scheduled for the earlier part of the day. Could I handle seeing the reality which has heretofore only been personal stories or movies?

Trainloads of prisoners would arrive here at Birkenau

I propelled myself forward and listened attentively to the statistics of how many were killed, how many survived, and why it has been a Polish government project to preserve the camps and their wretched history. I shuddered when we passed by a gas chamber, held my breath when we entered barracks that still echoes the misery of their cramped, emaciated inhabitants, and Read the rest of this entry »

Spinach strudel, boiled potatoes, sausages and more at Café Museum in Vienna, Austria

Strudel, Schnitzel and Strauss weren’t all that grabbed our attention about Eastern Europe, but they were certainly components of the rich cultural influences food, wine, music, arts, and architecture played during our recent Odysseys Unlimited Discovering Eastern Europe tour. The trip evoked memories of our ancestry.

Yiddish was the language my grandparents, aunts and uncles spoke when they didn’t want me to understand the conversation. English was the rule otherwise. How often did I hear them say, “We are now Americans. We speak English.”

My parents were first-born Americans from parents who fled Poland, Romania and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the early 1900s. Even as the eldest of my parent’s three children, I didn’t know to ask why they fled their native countries or how Read the rest of this entry »

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