A recent post asked about travel recommendations
regarding Warsaw for a non Polish speaking person. I
have been to Poland twice, in 1992 and 2000. It is
not difficult for a non Polish speaker to have a great
visit. In general travel to Poland has become much
easier and Warsaw is approaching the standards of a
Western European city. I would suggest some pre
1. Learn about Polish Jewish History. There are
excellent books of fiction and nonfiction.
2. Buy a good guide book and read it before you go. I
would suggest getting a general book about Poland and
a specific book about Warsaw. There are also a number
of specific guides to Jewish oriented travel. You can
save money by checking out a bunch >from the library
and the purchasing the ones you like best.
3. Use the guidebooks to locate a hotel within your
budget and needs. There are several worthwhile hotels
near the central rail station. They are also walking
distance to some of the major Jewish sites.
4. There is a Jewish travel center with English
speaking staff at the Jewish community center adjacent
to the Nozyck Synagogue. You can make arrangements
for a wide variety of city and Jewish tours as well as
excursions to Lublin, Krakow, Auschwitz and other
5. Archival research might be difficult during the
summer. Do as much as possible here. Use your time
in Poland to see sites. If you really want to spend
time at the archives, write a head.
6. Bring addresses of ancestral homes and businesses,
but be aware that not only was much destroyed during
the war, but in some cases the street lay outs were
completely changes and streets that remained have had
in some cases multiple name changes. Bring copies of
7. Don't be afraid to venture on your own. My father
and I took a trip to Lublin with only a couple of
guidebooks. One of Jewish oriented self guided
walking tours and the other was a general guidebook.
we had a fascinating day.
8. Learn to recognize the Polish alphabet and learn a
few simple phrases, greetings, pleasantries,
directions, etc. even being pointed in the right
direction will help!
9. Talk to the oldest people you can. They know the
most, especially in the smaller communities.
10. Prepare, prepare, prepare!