Chairs Memorial in Krakow and Mikel Our Guide
It was an emotional day for us as we hitched a ride with Mikel to the Jewish Community and Ghetto from World War 2. Our plan for the day had been to head in the opposite direction from the Castle just to look around. As we approached the Old Town Square, Mikel approached us about a city tour. He was extremely polite and his English was quite good. I originally put him off saying we would be back in an hour, but relented and took the 1 hour plus tour. The tour is by golf cart and we rode in the middle of Krakow traffic, twice directly behind a garbage truck. The cost was 200 Zolties or about $65 and worth every penny of it.
Before World War 2 there were over 200 synagogues in Krakow. After, only 6. The brunt of the Nazi terror was against Polish Jews with almost 3 million exterminated of the 6 million missing. We stopped for ice cream and enjoyed the experience in a local shop where I was really out of my element. Absolutely no English was spoken and I ended up with only one of the three cones ordered correctly.
We visited sites used in the movie Schindler’s List and his actual factory used to make ammunition. The factory is now a museum. The most moving location was the holding area in the Ghetto where the Jews were divided between the healthy and sickly, and families divided forever. The chairs in photo represent those still missing. The small one story office of the Nazis is still there as is the railroad station (nothing more than an iron awning) where the Jews were shipped off to Auschwitz.
Mikel asked lots of questions about America and I gave him several US Mint Coins which he seemed to appreciate. He pulled out his US dollar bill proudly that he had in his pocket. The questions were about what it cost to get to the US, the cost of cigarettes, how much a soldier made in the US Army etc. We really enjoyed the time we spent with Mikel and hope when you visit Krakow you will look him up at the City Tours location.