Eastern Europe

We had such a great time traveling through Eastern Europe last month. It will take me some time to sort through my notes and digest it all. Even though it’s the beginning of August, and there is still a few weeks of summer left, I’m starting to think about all I have to do to get the kids settled for back-to-school. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some photos from our trip. (I also added a few I didn’t take because they were much better than my photos.) I hope you enjoy!

WARSAW

A lovely shot of my daughter and The Old City in Warsaw. 80% of Warsaw was bombed by the Germans. The Old City was rebuilt in replica of the original.

A lovely shot of my daughter and The Old City in Warsaw. 80% of Warsaw was bombed by the Germans. The Old City was rebuilt in replica of the original.

Nożyk Synagogue is the only surviving prewar synagogue in Warsaw. It was built from 1898-1902 and was restored after the war.

Nożyk Synagogue is the only surviving prewar synagogue in Warsaw. It was built from 1898-1902 and was restored after the war.

Interior of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The museum is located on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto and and traces the 1000 year history of Polish Jews beginning in the middle ages to the present. An amazing museum! Photo by Adrian Grycuk

Interior of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The museum is located on the site of the former Warsaw Ghetto and and traces the 1000 year history of Polish Jews beginning in the middle ages to the present. A must-see museum! Photo by Adrian Grycuk

A replica of the ceiling of the Gwoździec Synagogue featured at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. The synagogue was was built about 1640,, damaged during the Pogroms during the First World War and then burnt down after 1941 by the Germans. Photo by Adrian Grycuk

A replica of the ceiling of the Gwoździec Synagogue featured at the museum. The synagogue was was built about 1640, damaged during the Pogroms during the First World War and then burnt down after 1941 by the Germans. Photo by Adrian Grycuk

The Ghetto Heroes Monument commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.. It is located at the spot where the first armed clash of the uprising took place.

The Ghetto Heroes Monument commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943. It’s located at the spot where the first armed clash of the uprising took place and faces the museum.

Modeled after New York's Soho neighborhood, Warsaw's Soho Factory consists of converted post-industrial buildings that now house galleries, lofts, shops and restaurants.

Modeled after New York’s Soho neighborhood, Warsaw’s Soho Factory consists of converted post-industrial buildings that now house galleries, lofts, shops and restaurants.

Monument commemorating the site where Jews were gathered for deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto to the concentration camps. 400 of the most popular Jewish-Polish first names in alphabetical order are engraved on the wall. Each name represents 1000 murdered Jews.

Monument commemorating the site where Jews were gathered for deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto to the concentration camps. 400 of the most popular Jewish-Polish first names in alphabetical order are engraved on the wall. Each name represents 1000 murdered Jews.

The Warsaw Ghetto

Remains of an old tenement building in the Warsaw Ghetto

We stumbled upon a delicious vegan burger place called Krowarzywa. Love the logo.

We stumbled upon a delicious vegan burger place called Krowarzywa. Love the logo.


KRAKOW

Israeli dancing in Kazimierz, the Jewish district of Krakow. How lucky our stay coincided with the Jewish Cultural Festival - an annual event consisting of concerts, workshops, lectures and tours that brings together artists from all over the world and draws huge crowds.

Israeli dancing in Kazimierz, the Jewish district. How lucky our stay coincided with the Jewish Cultural Festival – an annual event consisting of concerts, workshops, lectures and tours that brings together artists from all over the world and draws huge crowds.

eastern europe trip5-8

More dancing!

Painting of Israeli group Broken Fingaz on a building in Kazimierz, Krakow. They performed at the Jewish Cultural Festival some years back.

Painting of Israeli group Broken Fingaz on a building in Kazimierz. They performed at the Jewish Cultural Festival some years back.

The kids at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Tough day...

The kids at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Tough day…

Shoes from those murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Shoes from those murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Recovered gravestones form the wall of the cemetery of the Remuh Synagogue dating back to the 16th century.

Recovered gravestones form the wall of the cemetery of the Remuh Synagogue dating back to the 16th century.

Recovered gravestones form the wall of the cemetery of the Remuh Synagogue dating back to the 16th century.

More recovered gravestones

A beautiful and yummy candy shop located just outside Kazimierz.

A beautiful and yummy candy shop located just outside Kazimierz.

A beautiful and yummy candy shop located just outside Kazimierz, Krakow

Too many choices.

Food trucks, Krakow style

Food trucks, Krakow style

We discovered Chimney Cakes - A delicious sweet dough that's rolled in cinnamon and sugar and then filled with Nutella.

We discovered Chimney Cakes – A delicious sweet dough that’s rolled in cinnamon and sugar and filled with Nutella.

PRAGUE

Our favorite cafe in Prague.

Our favorite cafe in Prague.

The walls of the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague are covered with 77,292 hand painted names of the Czech Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

The walls of the Pinkas Synagogue are covered with 77,292 hand painted names of the Czech Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

The walls of the Pinkas Synagogue are covered with 77,292 hand painted names of the Czech Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust.

Close-up of the names…

The Old Jewish Cemetery was established in the first half of the fifteenth century and used for burials until 1787. Today it contains 12,000 tombstones. A number of prominent Jews are buried here.

The Old Jewish Cemetery was established in the first half of the fifteenth century and used for burials until 1787. Today it contains 12,000 tombstones. A number of prominent Jews are buried here.

Ceiling of the beautiful Spanish Synagogue in Prague. Built in 1868 it survived the war because the Germans used the building as a storage place for al the goods they stole from the Jews.

Ceiling of the beautiful Spanish Synagogue. Built in 1868 it survived the war because the Germans used the building as a storage place for al the goods they stole from the Jews.

 Locks couples padlock to the pedestrian bridge in the Mala Strana district as a token of love.

eastern europe trip5-35 Locks couples padlock to the pedestrian bridge in the Mala Strana district as a token of love.

The John Lennon Wall, Prague

The John Lennon Wall

BERLIN

Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum in Berlin is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe. Amazing architecture, amazing museum!

Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin is one of the largest Jewish museums in Europe. Amazing architecture, amazing museum!

The Garden of Exile at The Jewish Museum in Berlin represents the experience of the Jews driven from their homes. Forty-nine concrete columns rise out of the square plot. The whole garden is on a 12° gradient and disorients visitors, giving them a sense of the total instability and lack of orientation experienced by those driven out of Germany.

The Garden of Exile at The Jewish Museum represents the experience of the Jews driven from their homes. Forty-nine concrete columns rise out of the square plot. The whole garden is on a 12° gradient and disorients visitors, giving them a sense of the total instability and lack of orientation experienced by those driven out of Germany.

Russian willow oak grows on top of the pillars of the Garden of Exile in Berlin symbolizing hope.

Russian willow oak grows on top of the pillars symbolizing hope.

Ceiling shot of The Jewish Museum in Berlin.

Ceiling shot of The Jewish Museum

Shakshucka from Mogg and Melzer- a trendy Jewish deli in the old Jewish neighborhood Mitte. The restaurant is located in a former Jewish Day School.

Shakshuka from Mogg and Melzer- a trendy Jewish deli in the old Jewish neighborhood Mitte. The restaurant is located in a former Jewish Day School.

Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) are memorials commemorating the individual victims of the Holocaust. They mark where each person lived, the date they were born and the date they were deported and then murdered.

Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks) are memorials commemorating the individual victims of the Holocaust. They mark where each person lived, the date they were born and the date they were deported and then murdered.

Memorial by the Polish artist Karol Broniatowskiof near the site where the Jews were deported from the Grunewald Station to the concentration camps.

Memorial by the Polish artist Karol Broniatowskiof near the site where the Jews were deported from the Grunewald Station to the concentration camps.

The Grunewald railway station in West Berlin where Jews were deported to the camps.

The Grunewald railway station where Jews were deported to the camps.

The names of concentration camp destinations are listed on the tracks along with dates and numbers of passengers.

The names of concentration camp destinations are listed on the tracks along with dates and numbers of passengers.

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin designed by architect Peter Eisenman

The Holocaust Memorial designed by architect Peter Eisenman

"My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love," is a graffiti painting on the Berlin wall by Dmitri Vrubel, one of the best known of the Berlin wall graffiti paintings. Created in 1990, the painting depicts Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in a fraternal embrace, reproducing a photograph that captured the moment in 1979 during the 30th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic.

“My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love,” is a graffiti painting on the Berlin wall by Dmitri Vrubel, one of the best known of the Berlin wall graffiti paintings. Created in 1990, the painting depicts Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in a fraternal embrace, reproducing a photograph that captured the moment in 1979 during the 30th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic.

Love the old alongside the new in Berlin.

Love the old alongside the new.

The Mitte neighborhood in Berlin which was the old Jewish neighborhood is now filled with trendy shops and cafes.

eastern europe trip3-31eastern europe trip3-32 The Mitte neighborhood is filled with trendy shops and cafes.

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11 Comments on Eastern Europe

  1. Michael
    August 9, 2015 at 9:57 pm (2 years ago)

    WOW! I don’t even know where to start and I know my comments won’t do this amazing blog justice but here it goes…1) I think this is your best piece to date! 2) thank thank thank you for sharing this experience because now I get to share it with my kids and tell them about this painful, but yet as you have so eloquently and beautifully shown, remarkable story of death, remembrance and renewal. 3) you’re an amazing mom for exposing your kids to this and I am blown away how you so eloquently told this story using beautiful photography and simple but meaningful captions 4) brilliant how you exposed your kids to this while also ensuring they have fun on other parts of the trip…what a great balance and 5) did I say thank you for sharing:) Again, really inspiring Julie, keep up the great, meaningful work you are doing. People like me and many, many others appreciate it!

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      August 9, 2015 at 11:12 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!!!!! XXOO

      Reply
      • Kathi Barnhard
        August 9, 2015 at 11:32 pm (2 years ago)

        Couldn’t agree more with the comment made above. I recently started following your blog and am so impressed each and every time I read it. This one in particular struck a deep chord.

        Reply
        • Julie Levine
          August 14, 2015 at 2:14 pm (2 years ago)

          I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and are enjoying following the blog. XO

          Reply
  2. Lillie
    August 10, 2015 at 11:32 am (2 years ago)

    Beautiful photos, I’m looking forward to the follow up posts. What an amazing trip!

    Reply
  3. Beth
    August 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm (2 years ago)

    Looks like a fabulous trip. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      August 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Beth. Glad you liked!

      Reply
  4. Marci
    August 10, 2015 at 2:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Julie,
    You captured this so beautifully and meaningfully. Looks like it was a very powerful trip. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      August 14, 2015 at 2:13 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Marci!

      Reply
  5. Denise Garone
    August 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm (2 years ago)

    I was just looking over your photos from Eastern Europe again. The pictures and their titles bring me such varied emotions
    from a tingling sadness at the sight of all the shoes of people murdered piled together to joy at the thriving neighborhoods, candy, locks and Sophie’s fun skirt and shoes at the John Lennon wall.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Julie Levine
      August 24, 2015 at 5:16 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Denise. It’s always difficult to convey so much in so few photos. I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      Reply

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