From action-packed BMW World to fairytale Castle Neuschwanstein, Uniworld’s new Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich itinerary presents a Bavarian journey through the centuries—while still making time for pints at a local brewery and hikes through vineyards.
But what really sets this itinerary apart is the sobering ways in which it plumbs the depths of Germany’s Jewish heritage. It confronts the darkness of World War II as well as vibrant medieval and modern Jewish culture. The Jewish experience in Europe comes to life through a fascinating range of onboard lectures and port excursions. There are even local experts onboard to personalize your journey.
The cruise begins in Munich, where the featured excursions are admittedly chilling. The Eagle’s Nest is the alpine getaway where Hitler, Himmler, and Eva Braun lived their twisted version of high life. And you may opt to bear witness to the era’s horrors at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial. Munich also offers a peek into the world of Nobel prize–winning author Lion Feuchtwanger, the Weimar-era intellectual who founded the culture journal Der Spiegel, wrote about the coming Holocaust, and narrowly escaped by emigrating to the U.S.
Frankfurt offers yet another perspective on German Jewry. The legacy of the Rothschilds (one of the world’s wealthiest and most prominent banking families) is on display at the family’s former palace, which now houses the city’s Jewish Museum. Designed and built in the 1820s by Paris-trained architect Johann Friedrich Christian Hess, the neoclassical structure features ornate gilt-edged interiors; exhibitions trace Jewish history from the nineteenth century to the present.
Nearby, the medieval town of Wertheim brings you back into the darkness of the twentieth century, with commemorative reminders of the Holocaust’s victims in the form of engraved stones embedded in the sidewalks.
As the itinerary winds down, Cologne’s Jewish quarter reveals the oldest synagogue north of the Alps along with stories of the population’s persecution during the war. By the time you pack your bags to disembark, you’ll have gained a deeper knowledge of Jewish heritage and its German Jewish history through the centuries. It’s an immersive journey you’ll be talking about long after you return home, and just one of the specialty themed cruises created by Uniworld.
© 2016 AFAR Media