megastructures

Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich

Featuring Best-selling Author & Historian Alexandra Richie, DPhil
July 11 - 22, 2021

Tour Overview

This 12-day tour is named Megastructures after many of the large complexes built under the Third Reich like Peenemünde, the Politz Synthetic Oil Factory, and numerous gun batteries and bunkers. As we tour, we will pause to learn of the prisoners at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp near Hamburg who, at first, manufactured construction materials, then transitioned into the main force that cleared the city’s rubble and bodies after the devastating bombing raids of 1943. In Prora, explore the Nazi’s “Strength through Joy” initiative while visiting the three-mile-long resort that was never completed. Near the city of Walcz, Polish and Soviet forces waged a furious battle against the Germans along some of the largest fortifications in Europe, known as the Pomeranian Wall. End in Warsaw and experience an all-new itinerary with visits to Pawiak Prison, the Katyn Museum, and Treblinka.

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Tour Inclusions

  • Unique and exclusive itinerary designed by The National WWII Museum and Dr. Alexandra Richie
  • Special access to sites not offered on other tours, including a special farewell dinner at a historic, private home
  • Full-time logistical Tour Manager
  • Expert local guides
  • Roundtrip Airport Transfers (when arriving and departing on scheduled group tour dates)
  • Luxury five-star and deluxe four-star accommodations throughout the journey
  • Private, first-class, air conditioned motor coach transportation
  • Personal listening devices on all included touring
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters and servers
  • 11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 5 Dinners, and 3 Receptions
  • Beer, house wine, and soft drinks with included lunches and dinner
  • Personalized luggage tags and customized name badge
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Download the Brochure

Download the official Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich brochure for a full listing of inclusions, accommodations, and other useful information.

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Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich

Tour Itinerary

Extension - Optional Two-Night Pre-Tour

Arrival

July 9, 2021 - Day 1

Arrive into Hamburg Airport (HAM) and transfer to Hotel Atlantic Kempinski where the balance of the afternoon is free to explore this charming city along the Elbe. This evening, meet your fellow tour mates at a welcome reception.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (R)

 

Jewish Quarter

July 10, 2021 - Day 2

Before World War II, approximately 20,000 Jews lived in Hamburg. The rise of the Nazi regime saw the synagogues destroyed and a 1937 proclamation that Hamburg would become one of five “Führer cities.” As a “Führer city,” Hamburg underwent a transformation into Germany’s model shipping center. Systematic persecution of Hamburg’s Jewish population increased, leading to the mass deportations in1941. Today, your local expert will escort you through the Jewish Quarter and to a viewing of the Curio-Haus, the location where the British military oversaw trials of officials from the Neuengamme and Ravensbruck concentration camps. Continue to the Jewish Cemetery in the Ohlsdorf district.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (B, L)

 

Hamburg’s Emigration Halls

July 11, 2021 - Day 3

From 1850-1934, Hamburg served as the main port of emigration for those departing Eastern Europe for the United States. After a long and arduous land journey, emigrants would stay for several days in the halls near the docks while awaiting their embarkation to America. In 1901, four Swiss-chalet style halls increased the comfort of the accommodations. The Nazis destroyed these halls in 1934. Rebuilt in the early 2000s, the halls are now part of the Ballinstadt Museum, which details the emigration process and the conditions of the passage to the United States. Join the main tour group this evening for a Welcome Dinner.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski (B, R, D)

July 11, 2021 - Day 1

ARRIVE HAMBURG

Arrive in Hamburg (HAM) and transfer to the Hotel Atlantic Kempinski. Enjoy free time this afternoon before this evening’s welcome dinner and tour preview with Dr. Alexandra Richie.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg (R, D)

July 12, 2021 - Day 2

OPERATION GOMORRAH

During the last week of July 1943, a combined bomber offensive over Hamburg left approximately 40,000 people dead and destroyed much of the city. On the ground, the experience was a nightmare. Civilians sought shelter underground, but the resulting firestorm sucked the oxygen from the air and made the underground tunnels as dangerous as the surface.

Visit St. Nicholas Church, which has been preserved in a state of destruction with the tower still standing as the second-tallest structure in Hamburg. An observation platform in the tower gives a panoramic view of the city. Continue on a tour of other remains of the bombing of Hamburg including the flak towers and an underground bunker. The day concludes at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery, one of the largest cemeteries in the world. Ohlsdorf holds a mass grave of bombing victims and a peace memorial. The evening is free to explore Hamburg independently.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg (B, L)

July 13, 2021 - Day 3

NEUENGAMME

In December 1938, the Nazis established a prison camp at a former brick factory in the suburb of Neuengamme. They brought in the first prisoners with the goal of establishing a work camp to produce the bricks needed for military construction. The camp expanded rapidly. From 1938 - 1945, approximately 100,000 people passed through the gates of Neuengamme. More than half of them did not survive the war. Tuberculosis experiments conducted on Jewish children at Neuengamme ended in tragedy with 20 children between the ages of 5 and 12 hanged at the Bullenhuser Damm School in Hamburg. Today, pay tribute to the victims at Neuengamme and Bullenhuser Damm with visits to both memorial sites.

Hotel Atlantic Kempinski Hamburg (B, L)

July 14, 2021 - Day 4

NAVAL WARFARE

Depart Hamburg today and travel north to the outskirts of Kiel where the Nazis inaugurated a naval memorial that was planned during the Weimar Republic. At its dedication ceremony in 1934, Nazi officials used the memorial to remind visitors that Germany was not defeated on its own soil during World War I. The event served both to commemorate past German navies and to inaugurate a new German naval force in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles. Visit a museum on German naval history that discusses several German commanders from World War II and their fates. A viewing platform at the memorial’s tower gives a glimpse of the next stop, a German U-Boat. U-995 patrolled the waters of the Baltic and the North Sea. Today it is a science museum allowing visitors to experience the inside of a WWII submarine. Depart Kiel for Binz, Germany, after lunch.

Travel Charme Kurhaus Binz (B, L)

July 15, 2021 - Day 5

PEENEMÜNDE

At the research facility located in Peenemünde, Wernher von Braun oversaw the development of the Nazis V-1 and V-2 rockets and the V-3 cannon. Over 60,000 forced laborers built the site while the Nazis tested their terror weapons. Despite von Braun’s membership in the Nazi Party and rank of lieutenant in the SS, he received an invitation to come to the United States in 1945 as part of Operation Paperclip. Von Braun contributed to the US space program with the US Army and transferred to NASA in1958 where he was the first director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. A tour of the facility includes the science and technical museum located in the former power plant and a coach tour viewing the remains of the larger facility, which was mostly destroyed after the war. Return to Binz this evening and visit the remnants of the Nazi recreation facility at Prora. This nearly three-mile-long complex was a centerpiece of the Nazi “Strength through Joy” leisure program. Construction ceased in 1939 as the war redirected most of the materials away from Prora. Enjoy dinner with the group this evening in Binz.

Travel Charme Kurhaus Binz (B)

July 16, 2021 - Day 6

SZCZECIN

Known as Stettin when the city was part of Germany, Szczecin was home to 135 forced labor camps during World War II. One of the most significant facilities in the area was the Politz Synthetic Oil refinery to the north of Szczecin. During the height of its production, the refinery produced 15% of Germany’s oil. The refinery was the target of numerous bombing raids from 1944-45, including a 1,000 bomber raid on the night of February 8–9, 1945. The Soviets overran and dismantled much of the site at the end of the war, leaving the skeletons of the buildings visible. In Szczecin, visit the city’s underground, where bomb shelters enabled the German citizens to escape from the raids. End the day at theSzczecin National Museum Dialogue Center, which features exhibits on World War II and the Cold War.

Grand Park Hotel Szczecin (B, L, R, D)

July 17, 2021 - Day 7

COASTAL ARTILLERY

Today’s excursion heads north toward Swinoujscie. A V-3 site explains the long-range cannon filled with multiple explosive charges that, in theory, would allow projectiles to hit the UK from continental Europe. The V-3 was used in combat against the Allies in Luxembourg during the Battle of the Bulge. After lunch, continue to Battery Goeben. Take a two kilometer hike through the forests east of Swinoujscie, and discover trenches that lead to several gun positions and a large observation tower. Constructed in 1938, the cannons at Battery Goeben never fired. In 1940, the Germans moved the cannons to Norway leaving the casemates at Goeben vacant.

Alternatively, remain in Szczecin today and tour the historic city center independently.

Grand Park Hotel Szczecin (B, L)

July 18, 2021 - Day 8

THE POMERANIAN WALL

The eastern counterpart to the Siegfried Line or Westwall, the Pomeranian Wall runs near the German/Polish border as it was prior to September 1, 1939.The tour visits the bunkers near the town of Walcz, including an open air museum featuring military vehicles. As the Red Army approached in January 1945, battles raged all along the Pomeranian Wall. The Polish-Soviet Cemetery at Walcz contains the remains of 6,045 Soviet and Polish soldiers, most of whom lost their lives in the fighting near this section of the Pomeranian Wall.

Hotel Słoneczny Młyn (B, L, D)

July 19, 2021 - Day 9

ŁÓDŹ

Departing Bydgoszcz this morning, visit the monument to Oflag 64 in Szubin. Oflag 64 served as a prison camp for American officers from1943-1945. Continue to Łódź, a town nearly annihilated by the Nazis. The tragic story of Łódź underscores much of what has been experienced on the tour thus far. The site of a large Jewish ghetto during World War II, the labor of the prisoners here was of great value to the Nazis. Starting in 1942, Jews departed to the death camps from Radegast Station, which is now home to a memorial. The ghetto was the last to be liquidated in August 1944. Only 10,000 of the city’s prewar Jewish population of 230,000 survived the war. Continue into Warsaw this evening.

Hotel Bristol Warsaw (B, L, D)

July 20, 2021 - Day 10

TREBLINKA

Treblinka accentuates the brutal nature of the Nazis and their “Final Solution.” The regime promoted their ideal of the “Aryan Race,” while subjugating those whom they felt were inferior. Millions died under brutal conditions as slave laborers, were murdered in the streets, or fell victim to industrialized death camps like Treblinka. Between 800,000 and 900,000 people were murdered at Treblinka, making it the deadliest camp behind Auschwitz. While visiting Treblinka, what is now often referred to as one of the “forgotten camps,” you’ll be able to walk in the forest that once hid the second most lethal camp of the Holocaust. Begin with a visit to the small museum that houses relics and artifacts discovered over the years, and end with a walk through the area that once held the multiple gas chambers and a train depot that led to imminent death. Today, a memorial of stones represents the hundreds of thousands of victims who perished between July 1942 and July 1944 at Treblinka Extermination Camp.

Hotel Bristol Warsaw(B, L)

July 21, 2021 - Day 11

WARSAW

Warsaw’s rebirth is one of the most dramatic turnarounds of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Almost razed to the ground through Nazi brutality, two uprisings, and the battle between the Germans and Soviets, Warsaw is now a vibrant city with a youthful energy. As the city has expanded, it has kept the reminders of its tumultuous past. Visit several sites of remembrance including Pawiak Prison, the Katyn Museum, and the former Gestapo headquarters. Dr. Alexandra Richie will uncover even more of the history of the city before a final dinner at her countryside home, which also holds a rich historical significance.

Hotel Bristol Warsaw (B, R, D)

July 22, 2021 - Day 12

DEPARTURES

Bid farewell to Poland this morning and transfer to Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW) for individual flights back to the United States.

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Destination Map

tour map
Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich

Accommodations

HAMBURG

HOTEL ATLANTIC KEMPINSKI

Located directly on Lake Alster, the five-star Hotel Atlantic Kempinskihas served as a calm oasis since its opening in1909. Centrally located, it is easy to explore Hamburg independently. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi, and iPod docks, Nespresso machine, minibar and indoor pool. The Atlantic Restaurant offers a combination of modern German fare with regional and maritime cuisine.

BINZ

TRAVEL CHARME KURHAUS BINZ

Kurhaus Binz is noted for its excellent hospitality on the Baltic Sea island  of Rügen, with more than 100 years of history. Today its fresh, modern design adds a special elegance to the rooms and restaurants. With a spectacular location on the beach and pier, the Kurhaus Binz offers unique style along with magnificent panoramic views of the Baltic Sea. Complimentary Wi-Fi is included.

SZCZECIN

GRAND PARK HOTEL SZCZECIN

Grand Park Hotel in Szczecin boasts a unique combination of modern design with the soothing tranquility of the surrounding Kasprowicza Park. It is the ideal place for those who appreciate a high standard of customer service, luxury and tranquility. This boutique hotel has only 26 unique rooms and amenities such as smart TV, mini fridge, and tea and coffee making facilities.

BYDGOSZCZ

HOTEL SLONECZNY MLYN

The Słoneczny Młyn is the first 4-star hotel in the city located near the Brda River in Bydgoszcz. The building was renovated from the 19th-century Kentzer Mill. During World War II, the mill operated under the management of Gustaw Harmel of Germany until1945. After the war, the mill became a private enterprise for a short time. In 1948, the mill was nationalized, and fell into disrepair. In 2008, the facility became the four-star “Słoneczny Młyn” Hotel. Complimentary Wi-Fi is included.

WARSAW, GERMANY

HOTEL BRISTOL WARSAW

This distinctive hotel is located just steps from the Presidential Palace, the Royal Castle, Old Town Square, Praga, and many other attractions in the capital. With art-deco inspired interiors, guests enjoy two onsite restaurants and bars, Bristol Spa and Fitness, and impeccable service.

Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich

Tour Pricing

Program Pricing

Price per person based on Double Occupancy

$7,495 $6,995

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Price per person based on Single Occupancy

$9,595 $9,095

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$239 per person taxes and fees will be included on final invoice


Pre-Tour Extension Options

"Hamburg & America"
Price per person based on Double Occupancy

Optional two-night pre-tour extension program
$1,495

Book Now


"Hamburg & America"
Price per person based on Single Occupancy

Optional two-night pre-tour extension program
$1,895

Book Now


$129 per person taxes and fees are included in the prices listed above

Megastructures: Forced Labor and Massive Works in the Third Reich

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