Friday, 12 September 2014

Insightful Guided Tours

There are few guided tours of Europe more poignant than a tour of the major sites of the Holocaust—the extermination of
millions of people in the 1930s and 1940s.  Tours such as this actually exist for the traveler who wants to see a side of
European contemporary history that is rarely available to the average traveler.

Guided tours involving Holocaust sites often begin in Amsterdam as many flights from the US end up there first.  In
Amsterdam, you can visit the historic Anne Frank house that has been turned into a museum of related artifacts. You can
also visit the Corrie Ten Boom House, where a Dutch family hid many refugees from German rule.  Corrie Ten Boom was featured
in the book she wrote, The Hiding Place, which was eventually turned into a movie.

The next logical stop on your tour is the Westerbork Transit Camp and later on, the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp. 
Anne Frank died of typhus there and over 50,000 others died there as well.  Guided tours of this area will show you what
these people went through and will provide you with detailed information about the site’s history.
Many guided tours of Holocaust areas will show you the Wannsee Villa where the decision to exterminate the Jews was made. 
The villa is located in Berlin, which is also the site of the Jewish Museum in Berlin.  Your tour guide will likely take
you to both places in Berlin.

While in Germany, you’ll see the Buchenwald camp in Weimar.  Besides Jewish prisoners, many political prisoners, Communists
and those involved in medicine and the arts were imprisoned there and used for slave labor.  Buchenwald was one of the few
concentration camps that existed on German soil.  It’s a poignant visit but one worth seeing.
Next, many guided tours will take you to Krakow, Poland.  You’ll visit the Treblinka train station, one of the few remnants
left of the death camp.  Treblinka was one of three death camps in which no one actually lived there and all prisoners sent
to the camp were killed.  On a lighter note, you can see the original “Shindler’s Factory” where some laborers were treated
considerably better than their counterparts.

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