Profound Sites & Stories Explored Along the Danube in 2019
Of the many cultures and legacies that shape the fabric of Europe, the Jewish culture is undoubtedly one of the most proud and fascinating. With a presence that dates back centuries and continues to thrive in present-day Austria, Germany, Hungary and beyond, the Jewish culture is brimming with profound stories of triumph, tragedy, innovation and fortitude. This year, four Crystal Mozart voyages along the Danube River celebrate this history with special themed programming and shoreside experiences that explore the events and heroes of Jewish past and present in the region.
Several inclusive “Crystal Collection” excursions offer moments of reflection, flavor and creativity in some of the most beautiful cities along this mighty water way. Among them:
A visit to the hometown of Oskar Schindler in Regensburg (from Passau), where the World War II hero saved the lives of more than 1,200 Jews. The full-day experience also highlights some of the modern landmarks of the city’s Jewish community, which is strongly represented in Regensburg’s vibrant and eclectic lifestyle. The city is known to have the oldest Jewish heritage in Bavaria, dating to 981, and archaeologists have discovered evidence of a Jewish ghetto and synagogue beneath the German Square of Neupfarrplatz, which is also a high point of this excursion.
A private visit to the home and gallery of Viennese artist Arik Brauer, also an accomplished poet and singer who was born in Vienna in 1929. Guided by either his daughter or granddaughter, guests will learn about his upbringing here in the times of the Third Reich and what inspired his creative genius. They’ll also explore Vienna’s Jewish Square and Holocaust Memorial and can choose to peruse the Jewish Museum at Judenplatz, which highlights the medieval Jewish history in the city.
A visit to Budapest’s Dohány Street Synagogue, the largest functioning synagogue in Europe, which formed the boundary of the Jewish ghetto during World War II. Guests will see the synagogue’s “Memorial Tree” to Hungarian Jewish martyrs, featuring leaves with inscriptions of the at least 400,000 names of Hungarians lost in the Holocaust. The old Jewish District provides a poignant look at the modern history of the Jews here, as does the opportunity to visit the “Shoes on the Danube Bank.”
Hands-on cooking lessons in sweet and savory Jewish cuisine (in Budapest), including Matzah dumpling soup, hummus, Shakshuka or Cholent (meat, potato, beans and barley stew), topped off with Flódni (apple, walnut and poppy seed pastry). Participants will work in teams on their dishes, them come together to feast.
A tour of the grounds of Mauthausen Concentration Camp, which operated for the entirety of the Second World War, had become one of the largest labor camp complexes in the Nazi-controlled part of Europe, and was the last camp to be liberated by the Allies. Guests will have an enlightening guided tour as well as time to reflect at their leisure.
Each of these experiences, as well as the others featured on Crystal Mozart’s 2019 Jewish Heritage cruises, are featured on voyages sailing April 30 and May 30 (10 nights, round-trip from Vienna) and August 10 and October 28 (7 nights, Budapest to Vienna).