Poland Trip Description


Oskar Schindler's former factory

Albion College's Holocaust Studies Program Service-Learning Project in Poland takes place every other year in May. Our next trip will be May 2017. Students, faculty, and staff members spend time in Poland working, learning, and visiting sites related to the Holocaust and Polish Jewry.

The group first goes to Wrocław, mostly doing hard physical work restoring a Jewish cemetery. In the evening, the group meets to discuss readings and their experiences.

They then travel to Kraków, where they explore Kazimierz, the city's historic Jewish quarter. The group visits Oskar Schindler's former factory at 4 Lipowa Street, where in 2001 Albion College students dedicated a large historical plaque which adorns the building. They visit other historically and culturally important Jewish sites in Kraków, as well.

Finally, the group makes an excursion to nearby Auschwitz-Birkenau.

During the spring semester, students going on the trip meet for a mandatory one-half-unit proseminar that covers the history of Poland, the Holocaust, Jews in Poland both before and after World War II, and the transformation of Poland since the fall of communism.

Reflections and photos from previous trips can be found on our blog. The site for our most recent trip in 2015 can be found at http://campus.albion.edu/poland15/.

Auschwitz_2011 Train_Tracks_Birkenau

Holocaust Studies

Students carry away debris in the cemetery.

Students carry away debris in the cemetery.

The 2011 group in front of the Schindler factory in Krakow.

Outside the Schindler factory in Krakow.

Albion College's 2011 Holocaust Studies group pauses alongside the train tracks at Auschwitz.

Alongside the train tracks at Auschwitz.

Jewish Cemetery Entrance 2011

Entrance to the New Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw.

Poland Trip Participants 2011

Participants in the 2011 Poland trip.

  • Students carry away debris in the cemetery.
  • The 2011 group in front of the Schindler factory in Krakow.
  • Albion College's 2011 Holocaust Studies group pauses alongside the train tracks at Auschwitz.
  • Jewish Cemetery Entrance 2011
  • Poland Trip Participants 2011

Holocaust Studies Service-Learning Project in Poland

Our most recent trip: May 2015 |  Read the blog

The aim of this project is to help the Jewish community of Wrocław to tell its story.

At its peak, this community numbered in the thousands; today only a handful remain. The restoration of a large Jewish cemetery connects us with people who have preceded us in time, and engages us in recognizing their place in the "community of memory." This project honors the place of a people who have mostly vanished from Wrocław and Poland in the wake of the Holocaust, and helps the remaining community to reclaim an important cultural and historical artifact. As an act of historical recovery, this project stands as an active rebuke of ethnic violence anywhere in the world.

Next trip: May 2017

Interested in learning more? Email  to get your name on an interest list and receive notification of an upcoming information session.

The next HSSLP trip to Poland will be in May 2017 (estimated dates: May 6 - 18). We will leave for the airport immediately after commencement. The trip includes five days of service in a Jewish cemetery in Wrocław, followed by exploration of Kraków and a day trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau. For this next trip, we plan to add a couple days to go to Warsaw and visit the new Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Full cost per student is currently estimated at $2,700. Please note that we will be able to issue scholarships (some need-based) that will significantly bring down this amount. We encourage students to also take initiative to fundraise. In the past, some students have received funding from churches and synagogues in exchange for giving a presentation after the trip.

Participation in the trip includes a 0.5 unit class during Spring Semester 2017.

Other Recent Trips

Read the 2013 Poland Trip Blog

Read the 2011 Poland Trip Blog

Check out the interview! Gordon Evans of WMUK radio in Kalamazoo interviewed trip participants Megan Connolly and Jocelyn McWhirter about their experience. The piece aired on May 19, 2011. Listen to the interview and read the article!

Read the 2009 Poland Trip Blog

Trip Application Form

Work_at_Jewish_Cemetary_01-2011The next Holocaust Studies trip will be in May of 2017. Selected students will accompany faculty and staff to help restore the New Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław and study at Holocaust sites in Kraków and Oświęcim (Auschwitz/Auschwitz-Birkenau).

pdfHolocaust Studies Trip Application

Application Deadline

All Albion College students in good standing with the college are invited to apply. Application forms are due Friday, October 14, 2016. Accepted students will automatically be enrolled in the coordinating 0.5-credit spring course. The trip can accommodate approximately 20 students and applications will contribute toward the committee's selection of trip participants.


Each participant will take a half-unit seminar (IDY 198 Holocaust Studies) during the spring semester. This seminar will meet on six evenings in February, March, and April; a substantial paper and travel journal are required, and two additional readings will be the subject of evening discussions during the trip to Poland in May.

Students who have already participated in the HSSLP are also invited to apply. These students will register for a half-unit independent study to be completed during the spring semester. The independent study will focus on a Holocaust-related topic to be negotiated with the instructor. Attendance at the seminar meetings and full participation in the Poland trip (including the travel journal) will also be required. In general, qualified students who have not already participated in the HSSLP, as well as those who have taken LA 101 Holocaust, will be given priority into the program, but all interested students should apply.



The cost per person at present is estimated around $2,700, including all travel, lodging, and some meals. A deposit of $300 is due December 2, 2016, and the balance of fees is due February 17, 2017. Limited scholarships will be available.

More Information

Please contact us online or visit a member of the 2017 Holocaust Studies Services-Learning Project Staff:

  • Carrie Booth-Walling, Political Science Department
  • Drew Dunham, Registrar
  • Frank Kelemen, Counseling Services
  • Patrick McLean, Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service
  • Jocelyn McWhirter, Religious Studies Department

Video: Holocaust Studies 2001 Poland Trip

The video "Constructing a Community of Memory: Holocaust Studies at Albion College," featuring footage of the 2001 service-learning trip to Poland, explores the College's Holocaust Studies Program through interviews with students and faculty.


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