Tales and Facts


Something easy and nice to read about Poland. The theme is Amber! Our Polish, Baltic jewel. The moste known jewel in Poland. We visit Amber galleries during our city tour with local guide in Krakow. And shops there are the mose precious jewels in Krakow. These work shops hide in narrow streets of Krakow sometimes ;). Kraków guide needs to know everythink! Good shoping too ;) Well. Lets talk about RED AMBER - which is the most valuable in Poland. "Cherry Amber" is the oldest and moset rare variety of amber. It has a deep red color, and is very translucent with few inclusions. It originated from pine trees and redwood trees, which produce red colored sap. These varieties of trees dominated  the forests of the Baltic Regions 70 millions years ago, and thus a layer of cherry amber was deposited deep within the Earth. These deposits are very thin, rarely measuring over 1/4 inch thick. This adds to the difficulty of mining this stone. Finding stones large enough for designer jewelry is a rarity, therefore cherry amber is a gem that is very desirable in fashion today. 

Great attention and care must be taken in the production of jewelry using cherry amber stones. It is the most chellenging of amber colors to produce jewelry with. It is hard to find matching stones for earings and strands of beads, etc. Sets are very rare and exclusive. 

6 June 1897 | Jane Haining was born.

Jane Haining was a missionary of the Church of Scotland (Protestant). During the Second World War she ran a school for girls that the Church of Scotland set up and operated in Budapest. She was accused of supporting the Allied Forces and Jewish people, especially the Jewish students of the school. She was arrested by Germans and transported to Auschwitz concentration camp on 14 May 1944 (number 79467). 

She was detained in Birkenau, from where she sent her only preserved camp letter to a colleague in Budapest. Her last message to friends was a postcard asking for food. She ended her letter with the words: “There is not much to report here on the way to heaven.” Jane Haining perished in Birkenau on 17 July 1944, and after the war was awarded the medal of Righteous among the Nations, presented to people who aided Jews during the Second World War.

May 2019

We invite tourists to visit the "SUPERHEROES" art exhibition.

For the first time in Poland, an amazing Superheroes art collection previously exhibited in New York. Our one-of-a-kind full Superheroes Collection features over 160 paintings of cats and dogs in Superhero appearance, cats and dogs in Travel Series, classic Superheroes Series. Welcome to see our unique art exhibit! ul.Długa 22, Kraków (750 m from Rynek Główny) Work hours: 10:00-20:00 we invite you to visit our location at Dluga 22.

December 2018 - January 2019

Kraków in 15 minutes

The 3D-mapped movie’s text is authored by Leszek Mazan, a local historian and journalist. Over the course of 15 minutes, we tell the history of Kraków, giving you the most important facts intertwined with anecdotes. We have chosen around 15 events which took place in Kraków. Visitors can digest over 1000 years of Kraków’s history, how the city has changed, how it burned, how the course of the Vistula River has changed over the centuries. The most important facts are accompanied by interesting details which add to the story. Visitors can find out which buildings survived the Tatar invasion in the 13th century, where the world’s most wealthy woman of the 20th century, which Polish king fought against tobacco. Over the course of 15 minutes you’ll hear a lot of information, fascinating curiosities which make the presentation well worth a visit.

Kraków in 15 minutes is a 3D-mapping movie displayed on a model of the city measuring 4x5 metres.

The museum can house up to 45 people at a time. The movie is given in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish.

Emotional family tribute to Kirk missionary at Auschwitz

Published on 2 May, 2018


The niece of a Scot who gave her life to help protect Jewish schoolgirls during the Holocaust has paid an emotional visit to the Nazi extermination camp where she died.

Deirdre MacDowell said it was “overwhelming” to lead a memorial service to Jane Haining outside the block at Auschwitz-Birkenau where her aunt is said to have spent her final hours.

Deirdre MacDowell

Deirdre MacDowell paid an emotional tribute to her aunt, Jane Haining, at the Nazi extermination camp where she died for protecting Jewish schoolgirls during the Holocaust.

It is possible that this is the place where Miss Haining wrote her last letter to Margit Prem, headteacher of the Scottish Mission School in Budapest.

Written in German and in pencil on a letter-form headed Konzenstrationslager Auschwitz, it is dated July 15, 1944 – two days before Miss Haining is said to have died at the age of 47.

The missive read: "There is not much to report from here.

"Even here on the way to Heaven are mountains, but further away than ours. I send appropriate greetings to the whole family and kiss and embrace you. Your loving Jean."

Days of darkness

Mrs MacDowell, who was born in Dunscore near Dumfries – Miss Haining’s home village, visited the camp near Kracow in Poland with her husband George and representatives of the Unison trade union’s Renfrewshire branch on April 25.

Activists were on a study tour to raise awareness of the atrocities of the Holocaust and to honour Miss Haining, who worked as a secretary at threadmaker company J&P Coates Ltd in Paisley for 10 years before she moved to Hungary in 1932.

She worked as a matron in the Church of Scotland’s Mission School for girls in Budapest, which had a mix of Christian and Jewish pupils.

The service at the camp included the reading of Psalm 121, the poem “In Days of Darkness” written for Miss Haining and concluded with laying of wreaths.

Jane Haining

Jane Haining

Mrs MacDowell of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, whose mother Agnes O'Brien was Jane Haining's half-sister, said: "It was truly a memorable occasion and will stay with me for a long time.

"I realise there were millions of people who suffered and died during the Holocaust.

“Numbers so big. it is hard to take it in.

“But it only takes one to make a difference.

"There were many stories to tug at the heartstrings but for us it was about Jane, connected through family.

"We like to remember her compassion her bravery, her trust as her last words to her children at the Church of Scotland school were 'I’ll be back’.

"Jane knew she was on the way to heaven when she reached Birkenau Camp."

Warning from history

The trip was led by Mark Ferguson, branch secretary of Unison Renfrewshire and a member of Unison’s international committee.

“Observing first-hand the atrocities which took place instils a responsibility on us all to ensure future generations do not repeat these murderous acts,” he said.

“We were very honoured to have been joined by Jane Haining’s relatives, Deirdre and George McDowell during the visit and in particular the memorial service.

“It was a very emotional experience for the delegates who visited various blocks used for housing those held in the camp including women and children.

“We also stood at the selection ramp, visited all four crematoria, Soviet prisoners of war graves, other open graves and the Canada area where the belongings of those arriving were sorted.

“We also visited the Sauna Building which was used for shaving the heads of those arriving, tattooing and disinfecting.”

Mr Ferguson said delegates now planned to produce education materials for use in their local communities to highlight the atrocities of the Holocaust and campaign against racism, fascism and all forms of discrimination.

Unison and Auschwitz Jane Haining

Unison trade union representatives and Deirdre and George MacDowell at Auschwitz Birkenau.

Miss Haining, a former Dux at Dumfries Academy who was fluent in Hungarian and German, was arrested by two Gestapo officers at the Scottish Mission in April 1944 not long after the Nazis turned their attention to Hungary, a former ally.

They gave her 15 minutes to gather her belongings and charged her with eight offences.

Miss Haining’s last words to sobbing pupils were “Don’t worry, I’ll be back by lunch” as she was taken away.

She was accused of working amongst the Jews; weeping when seeing the girls attend class wearing the yellow stars; dismissing her housekeeper; listening to news broadcasts on the BBC; having many British visitors; being active in politics; visiting British prisoners of war and sending British prisoners of war parcels.

At least 1.1 million people died in the Auschwitz concentration camps, some of which were equipped with gas chambers, but the true circumstances behind Miss Haining’s death are unclear.


Jane Haining died at Auschwitz Birkenau in 1944 at the age of 47.

According to her death certificate, she died of "cachexia following intestinal catarrh".

In 1997, after an initiative from her former church Queen's Park West in Glasgow where two stained glass windows bear tribute to her “service and sacrifice”, and a 10-year investigation by an Israeli board, Miss Haining was named as Righteous Among the Nations in Jerusalem's sacred Yad Vashem.

She has a memorial cairn at Dunscore Church and her story is on display in a heritage centre within the building.

Miss Haining was awarded a Hero of the Holocaust medal by the UK Government in 2010.

Rev Ian Alexander, Secretary of the Church of Scotland World Mission Council, said: “Jane Haining’s story is heart breaking but also truly inspirational.

“Scottish missionaries were advised to return home from Europe during the Second World War but Jane declined, writing 'if these children need me in days of sunshine, how much more do they need me in days of darkness’".

Haining girls

Jane Haining and "her" girls having fun on Lake Balaton in Hungary where summer holidays were spent in a rented villa.


Today in KL Plaszow nazi concentration camp [Krakow] 15.04.2016 Exploration - Conference
Very nice spring day in Kraków, early evening 18.00. We start our tour through the relicts of past that must be memorized! Some of them still visible on the green surface of the former nazi camp... Grey House, Main gate with a barrier, Funeral Parlor, The remnents of one of 2 Jewish Cemeteries existing here before, The Monument to the Victimes of the Crime of 10th of September 1939, Assembly Square - still recognizable, "GÓRKA" - THE EXECUTION SITE, ... and AMON GOETH [do you remember him from the "Schindler's List" famous movie] COMMANDANT'S VILLA - the last possibility to see it before the renovation, because someone bought it and intends to live here! ... Terrible!
It was The Walk in Memory. Professor Ryszard Kotarba guided us [IPN Kraków - Institute of National Remembrance Kraków] 
and we will do that every year ... to remembar that!

Today in Auschwitz 21.01.2016 
Block no.6 - The large photo in the very last room. The Serviving Children. Among them twins: Miriam and Ewa Kor Mozes from Romania. Miriam died in 1993, 48 years after Auschwitz trauma. Her sister still alive ! :) Lieves in US in Ohio and she arrives to Auschwitz every July with american students. Stays there 1 week and educate them. There is also 1 day in this week, when she is sitting on the chair at the front of the photo and tales her story to every passing group ... www.candlesholocaustmuseum.org

Lanckorona + Kalwaria Zebrzydowska + Papal Wadowice. Spring 2017
Lanckorona – quiet, picturesque town, called “ the town of Angels “ [why is that – I will tell you later]. 
Situated between Wadowice and Myslenice, only few kilometers away from Kalwaria Zebrzydowska. 
That is why we highly recommend it to you and put it as a part of our route through Krakow’s surroundings: Krakow – Lanckorona – Kalwaria Zebrzydowska – Papal Wadowice. 
I would also recommend Lanckorona as a perfect place to spend time outside a big city, especially if you are looking forward to have a lot of space, see beautiful landscapes, seat in a small, cosy café and taste some local dishes, like Polish dumplings or other… 
Lanckorona is a town of artists, photographers and potters. Pottery workshops attract many people and are open to those who would like to try this craft on their own or are simply interested in pottery. You can make something by yourself or order to make, for example tiles of your project. 
What is so tempting in Lanckorona? 
The Main Market, filled with adepts of painting, houses from 19th century situated around the square, creating an interesting architectural complex which climbs up to the ruins of a castle, a short walk highly recommended ;), 14th – century church of John the Baptist and numerous tiny cafes and shops with local craftwork of clay, especially angels. If you would like to make some of your own, just tell us and we will book the pottery workshops for you. Since last few years, Lanckorona holds also its own special event, which is The Angel Festival at the second part of December. Those days the main market fills with people in angel’s disguise, local food, concerts, workshops… 
The bakery calls us with aromatic fragrance of bread and cakes baked naturally, so let’s buy some and continue our journey…