The Holocaust Remembered | Leger Holidays

With the atrocities of the Holocaust brought firmly back to the forefront of our attention this week, it’s important for us to remember the millions of victims who suffered at the hands of evil during one of the most horrific parts of World War 2.

Our Holocaust Remembered tour follows the moving story of Anne Frank as well as the story of Oskar Schindler. Our specialist guide, Charlotte Czyzyk, who also works at the IWM North, specialises in the Holocaust, and here talks us through some of the most moving and thought provoking aspects of this emotional tour.

The Holocaust Remembered – Charlotte Czyzyk

This tour covers the history of the Holocaust in which 6 million Jewish men, women and children were murdered, as well as countless others because of their race, religion, sexuality, nationality, or disability. We follow the footsteps of those whose lives were affected by persecution, and include testimony from individuals such as Anne Frank to bring our excursions to life. We visit beautiful, vibrant cities where Jewish culture thrived before the war, including Berlin, Krakow and Prague, which reminds us of everything that was lost in the Holocaust.

We see the traces of Nazi architecture in the German capital of Berlin, and visit the villa outside the city where senior Nazis held the Wannsee Conference in January 1942. This secret meeting sealed the fate of European Jews, and it is always striking to think that such a beautiful lakeside location could provide the setting for such cold and calculated decision to murder millions of people. We also visit one of the earliest concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, where barracks have been preserved to gain a sense of the prisoners’ daily life. 

Achsenhausen Concentration Camp
Achsenhausen Concentration Camp

Moving onto Poland we walk through the sites of the former Krakow ghetto and Plaszow concentration camp, which during the war were plagued by overcrowding, violence, hunger and squalor. Later in the tour we also visit the so-called ‘model ghetto’ at Theresienstadt near Prague, which deceived the Red Cross inspectors into thinking that conditions were acceptable for the people held there. 
Krakow Ghetto
Krakow Ghetto

For many passengers, visiting the former concentration and death camp at Auschwitz is a particularly emotional experience. Seeing the huge displays of confiscated belongings – shoes, spectacles, even women’s hair – is overwhelming, and it helps us to begin to come to terms with the human tragedy that unfolded there.  The remains of the vast death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, including the railway lines, prisoner barracks and gas chambers, show how the Nazi machine was geared to destroying people using industrial methods. 
And yet amongst the suffering and loss, there are tales of hope and courage. We look at stories of inspirational individuals such as Oskar Schindler, and visit the museum at his former factory in Krakow where he employed and saved 1,200 Jews. We also move to the Czech Republic to see the church in Prague where the brave assassins of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich met their fate, a building which still bears scars from the fighting that took place there over 70 years ago.
Auschwitz
Auschwitz

The end of the war created new challenges for survivors. We visit the former concentration camp at Bergen Belsen, which was liberated by the British Army in April 1945. At this emotive site we think about the difficulties that soldiers faced in providing the food, clothing, and medical assistance required to save as many people as possible, as well as the psychological support needed to help survivors to make sense of all they had come through and all they had lost. Some people poured their efforts into seeking justice from the perpetrators, and we end the tour by visiting the Nuremberg courtroom where the trials of leading Nazis such as Herman Goering took place. 
Bergen Belsen
Bergen Belsen

This tour follows journeys of many kinds:  journeys of death in trains, in ghettos and in camps; journeys of escape, hiding and survival; and journeys made after liberation to a new life. I hope that you will join this special trip to unforgettable sites, which create evocative memories for all those who travel with us. Click here to view WW2 Battlefield Tours.

Norway? Nor-way Would You Want to Miss This One.

There are a few things that may spring to mind when you think or Norway. Cold? Snow? Northern Lights? You’d be forgiven if so. But, we’re thinking of something a little different.

What we’re proposing might just come as a bit of a surprise… we’re saying summertime, lush scenery and the mighty Fjordland! And, possibly the most incredible summer holiday you’ve ever had.
Norway is host to our brand new summertime tour in 2018, with our Picturebook Norway tour setting off on its maiden voyage.
This fantastic holiday is actually the brain child of our Dream Tour Competition winner, Sue Godwin. But, we agree completely with her sentiments and are proud to call this, not only Sue’s, but our dream tour.

Geirangerfjord

Why? You ask. Well, let us tell you just why a holiday to the Norwegian Fjords is the ideal summertime break.
Firstly, it’s not as cold as you think. The weather is surprisingly good!
In fact, from late June to early August, the weather is at its most stable and it’s not unusual for temperatures to reach 25°C and above. The days are sunny and bright and there’s plenty of daylight – perfect to see the Fjordland, in all of its beauty.
Kjosfossen Waterfall

And, the favourable weather conditions actually give life to some of Norway’s most fruitful areas, producing an array of berries, vegetables and fruits.

Tasty tip: The combination of the water, the steep mountains, deep fjords and the heat from the sun help the Norwegians create some of the tastiest, locally produced juices in the world. The perfect way to quench your thirst on a warm, summer’s day.

In Fjord Norway sunsets and sunrises, dawn and dusk last longer than at more southern latitudes. And, with nice weather and plenty of daylight, you have the perfect ingredients to enjoy a fantastic stretch of sightseeing.

Summertime Dusk in the Fjords

And, what better way to see the stunning fjords than on the Flåm railway? Dubbed the world’s most beautiful train journey, and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Norway, you can enjoy a magical journey from sea level at the Sognefjord to the Myrdal Mountain station – an impressive 867 metres high!
The Flam Railway

But, that’s not all. It’s also one of the steepest rail ways in the world with over 80 percent of the journey at a gradient of 5.5%, and whilst you can imagine that the view just from that would be pretty spectacular, there’s even a sprinkling of stunning waterfalls to make the journey even more special – it’s a real crowd pleaser and a journey you will never forget.
With the help of calmer weather you can find in the summertime, it gives you the perfect opportunity to get out and really get to know the Fjords.
Sognefjord is the longest and deepest Fjord in Norway – and the most famous in Norway. Its popular arm, Nærøyfjord, actually has a UNESCO World Heritage status and, alongside the Geirangerfjord, it has been rated the world’s number one heritage site – and yes, you will see them all on our Picturebook Norway tour, so don’t forget your camera.
Sognefjord

Whilst you may think the above alone seems like a pretty epic trip, there’s even more to see in the Fjordlands. The stunning Vøringfoss waterfall, the Bøyabreen glacier and the Hardanger Nature Museum, to name but a few. If nature is your thing, just think of the joy Norway will bring.
Leaving the Fjords, there’s still a lot more to Norway to keep that smile on your face! Its delightful towns and impressive cities offer plenty, even to the hardest to impress. From Bergen to the mighty Oslo, summertime really shines a light on these pretty spectacular destinations.
Full of history, and beaming with natural beauty, Norway’s second city, Bergen, is a true delight. The colourful facade of Bryggen is by far the most iconic sight you’ll see in the city, and it sure is beautiful.
Bryggen, Bergen

The Hanseatic Wharf is a great stop off point for a meal or a snack in the cafes and restaurants, enjoy a spot of shopping, or even just to enjoy the view.
Hot-footing it into Oslo, you’ll get time to enjoy the delightfully modern and diverse capital city and all the frills that come with it. A shopper’s paradise, a hub for culture and history and nature right at your fingertips.
Head down to the waterfront area where you can enjoy great bars, cosy cafes and fine restaurants, and enjoy the view over the Barcode’s skyscrapers, a delight to anyone with an interest in architecture.
Oslo Waterfront

With a host of interesting restaurants and cafes, and with the strikingly modern opera house sitting on the water’s edge, the enchanting juxtaposition between Oslo’s new and old will be one of the defining memories of your holiday.
In conclusion, one thing is for sure, we could write a book on Norway and still feel like the words would still not do it justice. As they say, seeing is believing, and if you fancy the trip of a lifetime to the beautiful Norwegian Fjordland, find out more about our Picturebook Norway tour, right here.

The Three Best Cities to Visit in Norway

Oslo

With its magnificent mountain scenery, impressive waterfalls, shaded forests, architectural masterpieces and delightful restaurants it’s easy to see why Norway has become such a tourist hotspot over the last few years. Below we highlight three cities not to miss on a visit to Norway.

Oslo
View of the harbour area next to Aker Brygge, Oslo

Oslo

Known as Christiania until 1925, this seafaring city, which is Norway’s capital, showcases the Norwegian appetite for exploration and adventure. The stone medieval Akershus Castle and Fortress, which overlook the harbour, date back to 1299 and have withstood many sieges. Oslo’s Royal Palace elegantly dominates the view west along Karl Johans Gate past the Parliament and has beautiful state rooms. The city is also a shopper’s paradise with impressive department stores, charming boutiques and popular flea markets.

Bergen

Bergen Harbour
The picturesque city of Bergen

Norway’s second largest city has long attracted travellers to its unique harbour setting and ancient medieval streets. Small wooden houses lie higgledy-piggledy, cobblestoned stepways climb steeply and a love of flowers can clearly be seen. It is no surprise that Bergen was named Norway’s cultural capital in 2000 as there are numerous galleries, museums and theatres offering a wealth of opportunities to discover something of Bergen’s rich and refined heritage.

Stavanger

This 900 year old city was named the ‘European Capital of Culture’ for 2008 (along with Liverpool). Stavanger boasts 26 museums and galleries, along with a Gothic cathedral, pristine waters, pretty fisherman’s cottages and a lovely mild climate. Interestingly, before Stavanger became Norway’s oil and gas capital, it was known for its exports of sardines in oil.
If you are considering a holiday in Norway or any part of Scandinavia this year why not check out our full selection of Scandinavian tours on our website.
Images courtesy of Moyan_Brenn and Matthias Ripp