Warsaw as one of two Polish cities was granted the War Order of Virtuti Militari (Polish highest military decoration for heroism and courage in the face of the enemy at war) for defense in 1939. Despite being virtually destroyed by the Nazis the city rose from ashes.
Day 1: Welcome to Warsaw!
Common opinion of Warsaw of those who have not visited it yet? – Eastern European post-soviet city full of grey, pre-fabricated housing estates of 70s and 80s. We recommend a 4-hour guided tour in Warsaw to see the city’s highlights and its beautiful face. Visit to Łazienki Royal Garden, a favourite residence of the last king of Poland, Stanisław August Poniatowski. Drive through the centre to see Polish Parliament, embassies, Presidential Palace, Warsaw University, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Stroll along the Old Town of Warsaw. Almost completely destroyed in 1944, reconstructed, since the ‘80s is enlisted by UNESCO. Royal Castle. The symbol of Polish identity, the residence of Polish kings and the seat of the parliament was dynamited during the Second World War by Nazis. Now can be a symbol of the collaboration of society – all money needed for the reconstruction were collected exclusively in a public fund.
Day 2 Palmiry
In a forest nearby Warsaw Nazi Germans between 1939 and 1943 executed Polish and Jewish citizens, among them Polish intellectuals, politicians and athletes. Mass executions were aimed to eliminate Polish intellectuals and the upper classes of the society. On the exhibition the group can see personal objects that belonged to the victims. Former Gestapo HQ. The imposing building which nowadays houses the Ministry of Education during the occupation period served as a headquarter of Gestapo in Warsaw. Between 1939 and 1945 the name of the street (Szucha Avenue) thrilled the citizens of Warsaw. It operated as a brutal interrogation centre. Caught and interrogated at Szucha Avenue were later imprisoned in Pawiak, the largest political prison in hands of Gestapo during the WWII in Warsaw. Over 100,000 prisoners passed through it gates. Dynamited by Germans during their retreat, only an underground level remained. A visitor can learn about the life in occupied Warsaw, a daily routine of the prisoners and listen to some of the correspondence between the prisoners and their relatives. Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Official opening September 2014. The latest museum in Warsaw in a spectacular building. Inside the group will follow a 1000-year history of Jews living in Poland. Two galleries would be especially interesting: “The Street” (life of Polish Jews after 1914) and “Holocaust”. Opposite to the museum stands the Monument to Ghetto Heroes to all those who fought in uprising in the Jewish Ghetto in the Spring of 1943. Umschlagplatz. A place which used to be a site of transshipment during the Second World War turned into the last place for Warsaw Jews, who were transported from there to concentration camps and extermination camps.
Day 3 Remnants of Ghetto Walls
From November 1940 around three square kilometers of area were isolated from the city with high walls and closed gates. Warsaw Ghetto was the biggest one on the area of occupied Poland. According to historians during its existence up to half million people were imprisoned there. An interactive Warsaw Uprising Museum, which commemorates a civil uprising against the Nazis which took place in 1944 and which was one of the most tragic events in the city’s history. Guests will see there the one-to-one scale replica of Liberator, see a high quality animated view of how Warsaw looked like after the Uprising from plane’s window. Powązki Cemetery. Powązki is one of the most famous cemeteries in Poland. It serves as a burial place for prominent public figures – intellectuals, artists and politicians. However it is also here where the biggest number of fighters from the Warsaw Uprising is buried. Fields of similar tombs give an impression of how many people lost their lives during the Uprising. Every year an anniversary of the Uprising starts on the cemetery next to the Gloria Victis Monument. Warsaw Insurgents Cemetery is the biggest war cemetery in Europe. Initially created to bury remains exhumed in the streets of Warsaw. It includes defenders of Warsaw from 1939, inhabitants murdered during the German occupation, and insurgents of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Most of the persons are unknow.
Day 4: Leaving Warsaw Treblinka Museum of Struggle and Martyrdom
Former Nazi extermination camp. It functioned for less than 2 years, estimated number of victims: that more than 800,000 (including the majority of Jews from Warsaw Ghetto). A nearby Treblinka I was a penal labor camp for Poles and Jews. Destroyed. Now one can visit a small museum and walk in the forest to see an interesting landscape architecture.