This is the final instalment of the World War 2 History tour which I participated in from Saturday September 17 to Wednesday September 28th, 2011.
This is not meant to be a comprehensive look at WW2 and really only covers a small part of it, but it does include many significant events of the war.
I found this tour to be well planned and organised by Procom Tours who delivered on every promise, and their guides were outstanding. On the “Beyond Band of Brothers Tour”, our guide was Nikki Koves (seen in Part 4, image 7), and on the “Holocaust Tour”, our guide was Steven Graning, (seen in Part 26, image 248).
Walking the actual grounds of battlefields, war cemeteries and monuments has brought a completely new dimension of the war to me. As I mentioned previously, the experience is not necessarily depressing but meditative. And time was also available for sightseeing of many other attractions, a welcome interlude at times.
This is meant to be a permanent account of what I learned on my trip which I consider an important event in my life.
Reference material in the writing of the separate parts includes notes from the tour and personal photographs, publications from the many bookshops visited, and internet sources (including actual WW2 photographs). I will get great satisfaction knowing that I have informed my readers with my accounts which in itself will justify this trip. The focus has been more factual rather than a presentation of my thoughts and feelings. I would encourage anyone with interest in this subject to experience for themselves a tour such as this one. Watching documentaries thereafter will be a whole new experience!
As the writing of instalments was a work in progress, it was not possible to include an index at the beginning.
Thus, the index of the various parts is included here and is as follows :
BEYOND BAND OF BROTHERS TOUR
Littlecote House, England
The Atlantic Wall
Normandy War Cemeteries
Normandy War Museums, Monuments & Memorials
Operation Market Garden
The Battle of the Bulge, Belgium
Mardasson American Memorial + German War Cemetery, both near Bastogne
Luxembourg American Cemetery
National Military History Museum Diekirch, Luxembourg
Dokumentation Obersalzberg and Nazi Bunkers + Eagles Nest
Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany
SS Shooting Range, Hebetshausen + Typhus Epidemic
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague Jewish Quarter + Prague Jewish Cemetery
Terezin, Czech Republic – Main Fortress/Ghetto + Small Fortress
Wieliczka Salt Mines, Poland
Auschwitz 1, Poland – The Hub of the Holocaust
Auschwitz 2 – Birkenau, Poland
Jewish Monument on Danube, Budapest
Jewish Synagogue on Dohany Street, Budapest + Budapest Ghetto
Memento Park, Budapest
The House of Terror, Budapest
Image 307 – The number of participants on this tour varies from time to time. On this occasion we set off with only 5 tourists and 1 full-time guide (local guides were also brought in at various places). Accordingly it was appropriate to use this hire van as our bus which seats 8 people comfortably. It’s a Renault and it went really well. We also had portable DVD screens installed to keep us amused whilst travelling from place to place. We saw episodes of the TV hit series “Band of Brothers” and various other WW2 related movies. Our guide also kept up the supplies of snacks and drinks as required.
Image 308 – All of our luggage was stowed in the rear of the Renault. We quickly learnt the most efficient way to fit everything in. That’s David “Woody” Wood making sure all bags are accounted for.