DELUXE TOUR OF GERMANY AND POLAND FEATURING HISTORIAN ALEXANDRA RICHIE
Featuring noted historian Dr. Alexandra Richie, The National WWII Museum's exclusive 12-day trip explores Germany and Poland through the lens of the rise and fall of the Third Reich. Led by Dr. Richie—one of the world's foremost experts on World War II in Europe—the tour will visit Berlin's Olympic Stadium and Reichstag; sites of the Third Reich's exploits and atrocities across Europe at Auschwitz, Wannsee, and Warsaw; as well as stunning cathedrals and Teutonic castles. With full-time guides and historians to add depth and context to every stop and special guests with firsthand recollections of the war years, travelers will have access to a uniquely immersive historical view of Germany and Poland as they travel in comfort to some of Europe's most extraordinary sites.
- Exclusive itinerary designed by The National WWII Museum and Dr. Alexandra Richie
- Full-time access to Richie, who will personally guide guests through many of the locations visited
- Full-time logistical tour manager
- Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
- Luxury five-star and deluxe four-star hotel accommodations
- Several meals designed as social gatherings with WWII veterans and civilians throughout the program
- Welcome and farewell receptions
- Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and historic attractions in itinerary
- VIP access to sites not offered on other tours
- 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 5 dinners
- Free-flow beer, wine, and soft drinks included with lunches and dinners
- Video oral-history presentations from the Museum collection
- Personal listening devices on all included touring
- Included gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and servers
- Document wallet, personalized luggage tags, and customized name badge
- Personal journal and pen to document your journey
- Additional pre and/or post-hotel nights
- Travel insurance
- Flight assistance
- Private transfers
We’re pleased to assist you with additional services you may require, ensuring you a worry-free journey with The National WWII Museum.
September 15, 2018 - Day 1
ARRIVAL IN BERLIN
Guests arrive in Berlin and transfer to the Regent Berlin Hotel. Historian Alexandra Richie will be on hand to greet the tour, and guests enjoy free time this afternoon before this evening’s welcome dinner and tour preview with Dr. Richie.
Regent Berlin (D)
September 16, 2018 - Day 2
After breakfast, a tour of Berlin begins at the reimagined and refurbished Reichstag building, historic home of the Bundestag (the national parliament) from 1894 to 1933. The massive 19th century building was used during the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and now in a united, democratic Germany. Guests visit the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse, where the only preserved section of the notorious wall can be seen, and walk the “no man’s land” along the remaining segment. The Topography of Terror Museum has housed a permanent exhibition since 1987, when the cellar of a Gestapo headquarters was discovered and excavated. An open-air memorial was erected in memory of those who were imprisoned, tortured, and killed by the Nazis, and the site developed into a prize-winning documentation center. The tour continues on to the Olympic Stadium on the outskirts of Berlin after lunch. Built to host the 11th Olympic Summer games in 1936, the stadium was a prime example of Nazi architecture and design, and could hold 110,000 spectators. This evening is free for dinner and independent exploration of Berlin.
Regent Berlin (B, L)
September 17, 2018 - Day 3
The day starts at the House of the Wannsee Conference, a lakeside mansion used by the Nazi Party in 1942 as they formulated the “Final Solution” of the planned extermination of European Jewry. Guests stop for lunch at Restaurant Fischerhütte Schlachtensee, overlooking a scenic lake on the way to Potsdam, the capital of the Brandenburg state, which is only 15 miles from Berlin. Next is a visit to Cecilienhof Palace, the location of the Potsdam Conference of 1945, where Stalin, Churchill, and Truman met to discuss how to establish a postwar order. The group returns to Berlin for a guided tour of the Allied Museum located in the American sector of postwar Berlin. The remainder of the evening is free for exploration and an independent dinner.
Regent Berlin (B, L)
September 18, 2018 - Day 4
ARRIVAL IN ŻAGAŃ TO WROCLAW
After an early farewell to Berlin, the group heads to Żagań, a small city in Poland near the German border. During World War II, Żagań was the site of POW camp Stalag Luft III. It was from this camp that one of the most daring prisoner escapes took place, providing the inspiration for the 1963 film The Great Escape. Around 80 prisoners escaped through tunnels underneath the complex. All but three were recaptured, and 50 were executed. A museum at the site of the former camp is dedicated to the martyrdom of Allied prisoners of war. After lunch in Żagań, continue to Wroclaw for the evening.
Hotel Monopol Wroclaw (B, L, D)
September 19, 2018 - Day 5
WROCLAW TO KRAKÓW
The day begins with a tour of Wroclaw, which was part of Germany until 1945 and was known by its German name, Breslau. Out of range of Allied bombers for most of the war, Breslau remained intact until the closing months. In August 1944, Hitler declared the city a fortress to be defended at all costs. The siege by the Red Army began on February 13, 1945. Soviet artillery and German defenses reduced the city to rubble. The Germans fought to hold the city for 82 days, but surrendered to the Red Army on May 6, 1945, making Breslau the last major German city to surrender. The city is now majority Polish and was a 2016 European Capital of Culture. In the afternoon, the group continues to Kraków after lunch.
Radisson Blu Kraków (B, L, D)
September 20, 2018 - Day 6
The day starts with a visit to Oskar Schindler’s factory near “Ghetto Heroes Square”—the site from which Schindler was able to save over 1,000 Jews from the Plaszow forced labor camp, and ultimately from death, as portrayed in the film Schindler’s List. Opened in 2010, the museum housed in the factory’s administrative building includes Schindler’s preserved office, photographs, displays about prewar Kraków, and the story of the five years of Nazi occupation. A 30-mile drive west of Kraków is the Polish town of Oswiecim, known to history by its German name, Auschwitz. The German occupiers took over this former army barracks in 1940 and populated it with Polish political prisoners. As the war continued, the Nazis expanded the camp, imprisoning Jews from all over Europe or sending them on to their deaths. The Martyrdom Museum at Auschwitz is a ghastly reminder of the inhumanity which humans are capable. An independent evening allows reflection on the day.
Radisson Blu Kraków (B, L)
September 21, 2018 - Day 7
Explore Kraków, which was included on UNESCO’s first World Heritage list in 1978. Since the Tatar raids in the 13th century, the Old Town has remained mostly intact, making it the only large Polish city to escape the destruction of World War II. The tour day begins at St. Mary’s Basilica before breaking for an independent lunch in the Old Town Square. Rynek Glowny in Polish, the square is known for its quaint cafés and excellent shopping. The afternoon includes a visit to the Wawel Castle, the seat of Polish kings, and the Gothic Wawel Cathedral, where Polish kings were crowned and buried for centuries. During the war Hans Frank, Governor General of the occupied Polish territories, installed himself in the Wawel Castle. Calling himself the “King of Poland,” he surrounded himself with stolen art, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine, and wielded his terrifying power over the population. Guests continue on a walking tour to Jagiellonian University, founded in 1364 by Casimir III the Great. Over the centuries, the university has educated some of Europe’s most respected figures, including Nicolaus Copernicus, Pope John Paul II, and Nobel Prize–winning poet Wisława Szymborska. The group takes a stroll through the university’s lovely botanical garden, which is more than 200 years old. Next is a return to Old Town to visit Cloth Hall, which historically functioned as the main marketplace of the town. Guests board a short flight for Gdańsk this evening.
Sofitel Grand Sopot (B, L)
September 22, 2018 - Day 8
Poland’s maritime city on the Baltic Sea, Danzig, now called Gdańsk, was first mentioned in historical documents in 997. In its thousands of years of existence, this venerable port city has changed hands six times—the prize in a long-running game of tug-of-war between Germany and Poland. This morning, a tour of the city begins at the Museum of the Second World War. Guests enjoy a private lunch and lecture before embarking on an exclusive guided tour of the museum. A short trip to Westerplatte, the place where the Germans fired the first shots of what became World War II, ends the day’s touring. It was here on September 1, 1939, where a German battleship paying a “courtesy call” on Danzig began firing shells at the Polish garrison here. The evening is free to explore Gdańsk and enjoy dinner independently.
Sofitel Grand Sopot (B, L)
September 23, 2018 - Day 9
WOLF'S LAIR & MIKOLAJKI
Today, drive onward to Wolf’s Lair, the English name for Hitler’s secret, fortified Eastern Front command post Wolfsschanze. The failed 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler, portrayed in the 2008 movie Valkyrie (starring Tom Cruise) took place within the concrete complex. After lunch, visit the German command-and-control center at Mamerki. Virtually untouched since the war, this huge bunker complex is where many of the major decisions affecting the conduct of the war on the Eastern Front were made. Spend the evening in the resort town of Mikolajki.
Hotel Mikolajki Conference Center (B, L, D)
September 24, 2018 - Day 10
Depart Mikolajki, bound for Poland’s capital city of Warsaw. Upon arrival, enjoy time for exploration and an independent lunch in Old Town Square. Set out on a walking tour this afternoon, beginning at the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Monument. Unveiled in 1989, the monument commemorates the valiant and tragic attempt of the Polish Resistance to take back the city of Warsaw from Nazi troops before the Soviet Army entered the city. Visit the Mausoleum of Struggle and Martyrdom, located in a former Gestapo headquarters. Gather this evening for a reception at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Opened in 2004 on the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Uprising, this museum includes a collection of almost 1,000 photographs taken by photographer and Olympian athlete Eugeniusz Lokajski, who documented the uprising before he was killed in an artillery attack. While at the museum, Dr. Richie lectures on the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the Polish Resistance.
Hotel Bristol (B, R)
September 25, 2018 - Day 11
Spend the day exploring Warsaw, starting at the Genscher Cemetery, Warsaw’s largest Jewish cemetery with over 250,000 people buried on site. Many prominent leaders of Warsaw’s Jewish community are buried here, including Marek Edelman, a leader of the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto. Continue on to the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews for a guided tour of the exhibits. The afternoon is free for lunch and individual pursuits. Drive a short distance outside of Warsaw this evening to Radzymin, the site of one of the last great tank battles of World War II, in August 1944. Explore the terrain with Dr. Richie, who will explain the events of the battle and their consequences for both the Germans and the Soviets. The tour concludes at the private residence of Dr. Richie, which was used as the headquarters for German General Herbert Otto Gille, commander of the 5th SS Panzergrenadier Division Wiking during the battle. Here, Dr. Richie hosts the group to a farewell reception and dinner.
Hotel Bristol (B, R, D)
September 26, 2018 - Day 12
DEPART WARSAW AND RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES
The tour bids farewell to Poland this morning and transfers to Warsaw Chopin Airport for individual flights back to the United States.
Alexandra Richie is an historian of Germany and Central and Eastern Europe, with a specialization in defense and security issues. She completed her B.A. (Hons) in Political Science at the University of Victoria and went on to study at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, where she wrote her doctoral thesis, The Political Manipulation of History in East and West Germany.
Richie is also the author of Faust’s Metropolis: A History of Berlin, which was named one of the top ten books of the year by American Publisher’s Weekly, and Warsaw 1944, which won the Newsweek Teresa Torańska Prize for best non-fiction book of 2014 and the Kazimierz Moczarski Prize for Best History Book 2015.
She has contributed to many articles, documentaries, radio, and television programs, and is the Convener of the Presidential Counselors at The National WWII Museum. She is also a member of the Senate at the Collegium Civitas University in Warsaw, Poland, and the Władysław Bartoszewski co-chair of History and International Studies at the Collegium Civitas.
Located just a short distance from the Brandenburg Gate, Regent Berlin features elegant rooms with Biedermeier furnishings and marble bathrooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, antique desks, and armchairs.
A five-star hotel in the heart of Wroclaw, Hotel Monopol features modern interior design that blends in with the old architecture of the city. Each room was individually designed with attention to every detail and the modern renovation complements the antique exterior façade.
RADISSON BLU KRAKÓW
Ideally located in Kraków’s city center, Radisson Blu offers five-star amenities such as flat-screen TVs and complimentary access to modern fitness and beauty facilities.
SOFITEL GRAND SOPOT
Overlooking the Baltic Sea and its own private beach, this luxury hotel subtly combines magnificent art nouveau architecture with the French l’art de recevoir.
HOTEL MIKOLAJKI CONFERENCE CENTER
Set on Mikołajskie Lake and surrounded by water, this modern hotel features balconies on each upscale room, as well as free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs, mini-refrigerators, and coffeemakers.
Situated in the center of Warsaw, Hotel Bristol is surrounded by the Old Town and Royal Castle, adjacent to the Presidential Palace. Set in a grand, circa-1901 building, this elegant, art deco-style hotel features chic, contemporary rooms that feature flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi.