Day One in Krakow

My name is Colleen Huston and I am a double major in History and International Studies and my emphasis of study is in European conflict. I have always had a deep desire to learn about and eradicate human rights abuses, and in moving towards graduation this fall I hope to be able to apply that passion to my professional life. I was excited to take this trip because I knew that by being on the ground and seeing the environments that created and appropriated horrible acts of murder, I could better understand what steps lead the international community to the Holocaust and its aftermath.

Today, straight off of the plane, we focused on the aftermath of the Holocaust by looking at the Soviet history of Poland. We walked through the Socialist Realist community of Nowa Huta here in Krakow. It is the northernmost district in Krakow and houses many different sights to see including the PRL Museum which examines Poland under communist rule and looks extensively at the culture of nuclear sensitivities in the region. The expansive route of nuclear fallout shelters was really interesting to me and many other people on the trip, but after that museum we kept walking to see the parks all around the water and ended the first part of our day.

After a well deserved break, we were given the opportunity to go out on our own and eat lunch in small groups. After lunch we saw a tour of the old town of Krakow and got to see important buildings that have been there since the buildings were first erected, and it gave us a clearer understanding of what past as lead to Poland’s future and present day. I am excited for the rest of the trip and what it will entail as I have only been here for a day and have already learned so much!

– Colleen Huston, UW-Oshkosh