Since the collapse of Communism, tourism in Poland has shot up, and nowhere more so than in Krakow, where 14 million visitors explore the city each year. Much of this tourism is devoted to learning about Krakow’s Jewish history and to visiting nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau. In recent years, the city’s Jewish heritage tourism has neared a breaking point: the Jewish Quarter’s streets are clogged with tour groups and buses, and golf carts crisscross the city blaring pre-recorded audio tours. While some tours are of course very informative, there is such a glut of offerings that the cultural wires of the city have become crossed: competing billboards advertize 2-for-1 trips to Auschwitz and the Wieliczka Salt Mines; every day, hordes of visitors stop by courtyards and buildings that appeared in Schindler’s List; golf carts broadcast tours that are often misleading or downright inaccurate. ALT Tours is FestivALT’s response to this phenomenon, a way of breaking through the noise and inviting you in to an ongoing conversation about the city’s cultural complications and mixed representations of Jewishness. From the streets of the former Jewish Quarter, to the site of the Krakow Ghetto, a local concentration camp, and culinary pitstops throughout Poland, these tours blend storytelling and history, personal experience and cultural research. For the first time ever, we are offering these tours online. Our virtual tours combine live narration and discussion with pre-recorded footage and archival images, documents, and video. While everyone is stuck at home, we bring the tours straight to you. Hope to see you there!
An Alternative tour of Krakow’s former jewish quarter
At first glance, Krakow’s district of Kazimierz feels like a hipster paradise: trendy bars, quaint cafés, and popular restaurants sit among the ruins of Kazimierz’s Jewish past. But there’s an invisible Kazimierz as well, full of magnificent and tragic history, and a present complicated by gentrification, mass tourism, and questionable representations of Jewish culture. FestivALT co-directors Michael Rubenfeld and Adam Schorin take you on a live, virtual, critical tour that will open the door to some of Kazimierz’s hidden narratives and encourage you to see beyond the visible exterior.
Written and performed by Michael Rubenfeld and Adam Schorin.
Music and sound by Alex Roth.
Videography by Patryk Dróżdż.
Tour length: 45 minutes + discussion
Dates & times (Polish time):
August 2, 2020 – 7:00 pm
August 5, 2020 – 8:00 pm
August 9, 2020 – 12:00 pm
The tour will be performed in English.
ALT Tours are free but with obligatory registration.
The project was co-financed by the Dutch Jewish Humanitarian Fund, JDC Polska and Asylum Arts.
A public project co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland through the competition “Public Diplomacy 2020—A New Dimension.” The performance reflects only the views of its creators and holds no bearing on the official position of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In cooperation with FoJam.