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Jody PerrunBy BERNIE BELLAN
In November 2012 Rebeca Kuropatwa wrote an article for this newspaper about University of Winnipeg History professor Jody Perrun.

At the time Perrun was planning on taking some of his students to Europe in the spring of 2013 to visit and learn about sites related to the Holocaust.
That May 2013 trip eventually saw 17 students and six non-students (of whom four were in their 40s and two in their 70s), participate in what proved to be a moving and educational experience that will undoubtedly stay with each of the participants the rest of their lives. In a follow-up article in April 2014, Rebeca noted that “On the 2013 tour, quite a few group members became and remained friends, and many of the students were profoundly moved by their experience.”
In response to the interest which that initial 2013 European tour generated, Perrun will once again be leading a similar tour in June next year, although this time the tour will be tailored to a non-student audience, Perrun says.
“In a lot of ways it’s a much superior tour to the one we took in 2013,” he explains. The 2016 tour is being organized by Insight Vacations, a company that “caters to people who like to stay in nicer hotels, centrally located, good meals…sometimes they include wine with the meal… the coaches are super comfortable - it’s top notch service.”
The itinerary, Perrun notes, is quite similar to the 2013 tour, yet offers quite a bit more. Highlights of the 15-day tour include:
• Warsaw: Tour of the former ghetto area and visit the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
• Krakow: Visit Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum and the Jewish Quarter.
• Auschwitz: Participate in a powerful and moving six-hour visit to the memorials and museums of Auschwitz and Birkenau.
• Budapest: Visit the Holocaust Memorial for Raoul Wallenberg to learn about the deportation of 400,000 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz in the summer of 1944.
• Vienna: Visit the Jewish quarter, Jewish Museum, and synagogues there.
• Vienna: Take a private tour with a local expert that will showcase the opulence of Schönbrunn Palace.
• Prague: Tour the ancient Jewish quarter and take a private tour through the atmospheric courtyards of Prague Castle.
• esk Krumlov (in the Czech Republic): A local expert will lead tour members through a medieval castle, rich in history.
• Nuremberg: You will be able to explore the Nazi Party rally grounds and the Palace of Justice where the Nuremberg Trials took place.
• Munich: Drive into the Bavarian Alps within site of Hitler’s mountain hideaway. Weather permitting, visit Hitler’s notorious “Eagle’s Nest”.
Perrun also mentioned that, during the two-day stay in Warsaw, tour participants will be taken to Treblinka which, although almost totally destroyed as a result of the Jewish revolt there in August 1943 and subsequent dismantling of the camp by the Nazis themselves, has had some recent excavations that have uncovered tiles from the gas chambers that had hitherto remained undiscovered.
Lest anyone considering this tour would be under the impression that it will be unremittingly serious, the itinerary does include a large portion of more typical sightseeing in some of the most beautiful cities in Europe. For instance, on the way to Budapest from Krakow, tour participants will “journey into Slovakia and through the breathtaking Tatra Mountains, where villagers still live in traditional wooden houses.” Participants will also “see the picturesque Oravsky Hrad Castle before crossing into Hungary,” according to information provided by Insight Vacations.
Similarly, the tour segments in Vienna and Prague, as well as esk Krumlov in the Czech Republic, will also offer terrific opportunities to go back in time hundreds of years.

Perrun explains that he has been teaching a course on the Holocaust at the University of Winnipeg since 2009. At first the course was offered only one semester per year but, “in fact, it’s being offered twice a year now,” he notes.
“I got to a point, after having taught it for a few years, where I realized I needed to go over and see the places where it happened. So, I decided: ‘Why not take students with me?’ That’s how the 2013 tour came about.”
“I wanted to go again as soon as I came back,” Perrun says, but it just wasn’t possible to do it the same way a second time. Insight Vacations came along and was willing to offer an even better tour this year, he says.
“I had done Canadian battlefield tours with Insight,” Perrun explains. (His background is as a military historian, he adds. In addition to the European tour focusing on Holocaust sites, he will also be leading two other Insight Vacation tours of Europe with a military history orientation in 2016. For more information call Insight Vacations at 1-866-747-8120.)
“It seems that the clientele (who had come on those tours) are really keen for the kinds of tours Insight has offered (and for which Perrun served as tour leader); they’re really interested in the places we would visit. They were very learned. Still, in those tours it was always a bit of a mixed group. Some of the participants were along with a husband or a wife or a father or a mother who knew quite a bit about what we were seeing, and they were going along but, in time, they would become as immersed in the subject matter as the people who actually started off knowing quite a bit about it.”
“So,’ Perrun continues, “if the past tours that I’ve conducted for Insight are an indication what this upcoming tour will be like, the group should be fairly tuned into the history of what we’ll be seeing.”
With a combination of serious and more leisurely touring, yet with many of the creature comforts that seasoned travelers prefer to have available to them on a tour of this length, Perrun is anticipating a divergent group come June 2016, in contrast with the group made up primarily of students that he led in 2013.
For more information about the Eastern and Central European Jewish Heritage of World War II tour, go to https://www.insightvacations.com/ca/special-offers/special-interest-tours/eastern-europe-jewish-heritage-of-wwii

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