Lviv Jewish Heritage Walking Tour
- Golden Rose Synagogue: Parts of two walls are all that remain from the once spectacular Renaissance-style synagogue, first built in 1582 and blown up by the Nazis in 1943.
- Ghetto Victims Monument: See where one of the Nazis' largest Jewish ghettos once stood – among the first to institute the mass transport of residents to death camps.
- Jewish History and Culture Museum: Lose yourself in the old photos and artifacts of this small but moving museum documenting centuries of Jewish life in Lviv, including the horrors of the Nazi occupation.
About this Lviv Tour
At the Victims Monument what was once the Lviv Ghetto, a marble path called the "Road to Death" leads to a statue of a grieving old man. The figure raises both hands toward the sky, one clenched in a defiant fist, the other with the palm upward, as if in hopeful prayer.
This memorial honors the 136,800 Jews from the Lviv Ghetto who died of starvation, disease, forced labor, or were killed at death camps. It also honors the vast numbers from other ghettos who were murdered at the nearby Janowska death labor camp between 1941 and 1943. Most of the Lviv Ghetto victims were sent to either Janowska, or to Belzec, one of three death camps used under the Nazi's Operation Reinhardt (along with Sobibor and Treblinka II) for the extermination of Jewish people.
When World War II began, the Jewish population of Lviv was 110,000 – one-third of the total. During the war, tens of thousands of refugees swelled those numbers immensely. It's estimated that some 420,000 Jews were murdered in and around Lviv and surrounding area. When the war ended; only a couple hundred had survived the ordeal.
But in an ironic twist, on of the survivors from the Lviv Ghetto was a man who would haunt them and hunt them for decades: Simon Wiesenthal, who survived Janowska and two other camps, dedicated his life to bringing war criminals to justice. He was instrumental in the arrest of the commandant of Treblinka, the officers who created and liquidated the Lviv Ghetto, and dozens of other war criminals, including his biggest catch: Adolf Eichmann, tried and hanged in Israel in 1962 for organizing the mass transport of millions to death camps.
The defiance and faith of one Lviv Ghetto survivor had obtained a measure of justice for those who had perished.
Holy writing on the wall
Restoration of Lviv's Golden Rose Synagogue has been under discussion for years. The remaining Jewish community is too small to bear the cost alone, while the financially strapped Ukrainian government is offering only limited help. And the structure is fragile – even inspections have caused damage. But in one case, something wonderful was revealed. Workers who accidentally knocked off a chunk of wall plaster found prayers inscribed underneath – a custom within the congregation that allowed those without prayer books to read them.
Pick-up is included from select hotels. Please specify your hotel name and location during check-out.
Dress in layers as the weather can be changeable. Leave the high heels behind and choose to wear your flat shoes. Your feet will appreciate it. Bring some local currency for any souvenir purchases. Your guide can make some recommendations.
Travelers must walk approximately 1 mile over cobblestones and other varying terrain. Tour is not wheelchair accessible. If your mobility is limited, you may not see all the sites fully. Participate with the group at your discretion.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Shopping
Vehicle sizes vary, depending on the size of the group.
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
Participants must be in good health, disclose their physical fitness and advise any conditions that might impact their participation in the tour.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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