A Traveler’s Personal Story of Her Return to the North Caucasus

A Traveler’s Personal Story of Her Return to the North Caucasus

When MIR traveler Susanna Markiewicz McNeil signed up for MIR’s Return to the North Caucasus small group tour, she was – literally – returning. Susanna was born in a village in Dagestan, an out-of-the-way region her Polish parents fled to during the atrocities of WWII. Prior to her departure, Susanna shared with MIR that her family had once lived in Dagestan, and that she was actually born there. MIR worked diligently with our Tour Manager and local MIR guide to find a way for her to visit her birthplace and reconnect with her roots. We used our destination expertise and on-the-ground connections to make it happen. We are grateful to have Susanna share her story of her very personal return to the North Caucasus, and to the small town where she was born and lived the first few years of her life. Read More


A Story of Hope for Our Times: Traveler’s Holocaust Book Published

A Story of Hope for Our Times: Traveler’s Holocaust Book Published

In My Soul is Filled With Joy: A Holocaust Story, author (and MIR traveler) Karen Treiger relates the saga of her in-laws, who met in a Polish forest outside the Treblinka death camp. It was August 1943, and Sam had just escaped in a prisoner uprising in which fewer than a hundred survived. Esther was already in hiding, helped by a Polish family who agreed to shelter Sam as well. We are honored to have played a small part in helping Treiger research her book. Here we share details, as well as opportunities to hear her speak at one of her upcoming book readings and presentations. Read More


On Location at the Home of The Zookeeper’s Wife in Warsaw, Poland

On Location at the Home of The Zookeeper’s Wife in Warsaw, Poland

The Warsaw Zoo was opened in 1928, just 11 years before the Nazis invaded Poland. During the occupation, the Nazis closed the zoo, and sent the “best” animals to Germany, killing those they deemed less worthy. The zookeeper and his wife stayed on and risked their lives to help some 300 Jews escape the Warsaw ghetto, and continue to safety through the nearly 100-acre zoo grounds. This is the true story of The Zookeeper’s Wife, a film based on the book by Diane Ackerman, itself based on the memoirs of Antonina Zabinska, the zookeeper's wife. It’s a story about the hazardous choices that ordinary Poles had to make during the Nazi occupation. Read More


Hidden in Poland: A Jewish Family Story

Hidden in Poland: A Jewish Family Story

Karen Treiger, a Jewish traveler from Seattle, is standing with her family at the edge of a hand-dug pit in the forests of Poland, looking down at the place where her husband’s parents hid from the Nazis. With the help of a family of Poles who risked their lives to feed and protect them, her father-in-law, Sam, and mother-in-law, Esther, survived the Holocaust. Read More


Super Poland: 7 Reasons to Visit Poland Now

Super Poland: 7 Reasons to Visit Poland Now

For years Poland has been one of the top 20 most visited countries in the world, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. Few countries lay claim to such a wealth of architectural treasure and natural beauty as Poland. Lonely Planet designated it #7 in the Top Ten Countries to Visit in 2016, writing, “If any country in Europe can boast superpowers, it’s Poland.” Here are seven of its super charms. Read More


South Caucasus Travel: Jewish Heritage in Azerbaijan

South Caucasus Travel: Jewish Heritage in Azerbaijan

Jewish heritage is not always easy to trace in an Islamic country; it may have been covered up, forgotten, or forcibly erased. The South Caucasus country of Azerbaijan is different. Though nominally a Shi’a Islamic country, Azerbaijan has had a historic tolerance for its Jewish communities beginning in the 5th and 6th centuries. That’s when people now called “Mountain Jews” began arriving from Persia. Read More


Jewish Heritage in Russia: Travel to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Birobidzhan

Jewish Heritage in Russia: Travel to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Birobidzhan

Russia has changed a great deal since the fall of the Soviet Union. A new generation of Russians is reconnecting with Jewish heritage and welcoming those who want to explore their ancestry. MIR is an expert at hand-crafting itineraries for travelers searching for their roots, or their relatives, in Russia. For those interested in traveling to Russia to explore Jewish heritage, here are some places you could include on your trip… Read More


Return from Auschwitz: MIR Travelers and Holocaust Artifacts

Return from Auschwitz: MIR Travelers and Holocaust Artifacts

In July 2015, MIR organized and operated a custom tour to Jewish heritage sites for Seattle's Holocaust Center for Humanity. The tour, led by MIR's Joanna Millick, took travelers to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, where earlier this year, 14 artifacts on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum were carefully packed and shipped to Seattle to take their places among the exhibits at Seattle’s new Holocaust Museum, which opened in October 2015. The list of everyday objects includes... Read More


Holocaust Center for Humanity Museum: Objects from Auschwitz

Holocaust Center for Humanity Museum: Objects from Auschwitz

Five artifacts will be arriving in Seattle from Auschwitz, transported by travelers on a journey sponsored by the Holocaust Center for Humanity, and partially operated by Seattle’s MIR Corporation. They will find a home in Seattle's new Holocaust Museum. Read More