Tomasz Cebulski made our trip to Poland an unforgettable, life-changing experience. This brilliant and charming guide has encyclopedic knowledge, indefatigable curiosity, and extraordinary passion for the history of Jews in Poland. He led us to one fascinating site after another, and researched our family backgrounds with thoroughness and ingenuity. Tomasz is also wonderful company, combining kindness and humor in day-to-day travels with a respect for the historical gravity and human tragedy of so many of the sites. It is impossible to imagine a better guide and companion for a trip to Jewish Poland.
Steven Pinker, Professor,
Harvard University, and author of "The Language Instinct" and "How the Mind Works"
As a scholar currently writing a book on Holocaust testimony, I recently spent three days in the company of Tomasz Cebulski, during which we visited Kazimierz (the Jewish quarter of Krakow), Podgorze (where the ghetto was located), the site of the Plaszow camp, and the three main camps in or near Oswiecim, as well as Majdanek and Belzec. Cebulski is an extraordinary guide, with a virtually boundless knowledge of the camps and of the history of Poland and Polish Jewry, which he shares in the most conscientious and generous way. His fluent English is a tremendous asset and, as we drove almost 1000 kilometers together, I can also attest that he is unfailingly considerate and companionable. This was undoubtedly the most helpful and enriching research trip I have ever taken, thanks to Cebulski, whom I recommend with the greatest enthusiasm.
Thomas Trezise, Professor,
For the second year running, Tomasz Cebulski provided vital expertise and a most enlightened and reflective approach to help a group of Northumbria University students and academic and support staff (of a whole variety of disciplines and backgrounds) understand the history, culture and contemporary legacy of Jewish and other multicultural life in Cracow and Oswiecim. Tomasz was flexible and at short notice agreed on a sequential programme of guiding, explanation, interactive discussions which took into account historical (settlement, trading, town planning, law and culture) and contemporary (including commemoration, as well as international reconciliation and international youth work) interests of our group in both settings. Tomasz was very open for discussion and prompting searching questions with our participants, infused by a deep humanism and sense of humour, all highly appreciated by all of us
Richard Kotter, Senior Lecturer in Economic / Political Geography, Academic Lead 2008/9 and 2009/10
Holocaust Education Field Visit, Northumbria University and Member, Holocaust Memorial Day Working Group, Newcastle upon Tyne
Prior to my initial contact with you I read the testimonials on your website with some doubt. How could it be that such discerning scholars could write such incredible prose and accolades regarding one individual's service? After touring with you, I fully understand why. The trip retracing my Father's life from Kielce to Auschwitz and my Mother's from a small village in the Sub Carpathian region to Auschwitz was one that I took with some trepidation.
Immediately upon our meeting, I knew that my wife and I were in the company of an incredibly knowledgable, sensitive, talented human being. Your diligent approach allowed us to uncover family history and made us feel as if we were actually walking in the footsteps of my parents. Your enthusiasm was boundless, your patience endless, and your knowledge encyclopedic. We have been home for 1 week now and are still reliving every moment from the excitement of retrieving family documents, to meeting people that knew my martyred grandparents, and to the horror of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Traveling to these places especially in the remote Sub-Carpathian village in nowadays Ukraine would not have been possible without you. Thank you for providing us with experiences that are life changing and memories that will last forever. We would be happy to recommend your services to anyone in need of them.
Mark Gotfried, MD
Clinical Professor of Medicine University of Arizona Phoenix, Arizona
This year my 81 year old half-brother and I decided that we would like to visit the village of Złotniki in Poland (formerly Galicia, Austria) that our grandparents came from. We located Tomasz Cebulski through the www.jewish-guide.pl website which provides wealth of information on genealogy in Poland. I now realize how fortunate that turned out to be. We spent three days with Tomasz visiting the town of Mielec and the church of St. Matthew, where our grandparents were baptized. With the help of a local author, we hunted down the baptismal record of our grandfather and records of his ancestors going back to 1796. We discovered that our grandfather changed our surname when he arrived in the United States. We even discovered and visited distant relatives living in Złotniki!
This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will never forget. Tomasz was very knowledgeable of the local history and had a gift for conversation. His charm and wit worked wonders on the locals which was invaluable to our research. Even more invaluable was his ability to translate between English and Polish. I have to say that a Hollywood movie script writer could not have scripted this trip any better. Therefore, I have to give Tomasz my whole-hearted and upmost recommendation and I hope to return for more visits with Tomasz as my guide.
Dayton, Ohio USA
You are a bright, intelligent, well informed person and you know a great deal about the most recent Polish history.
We spent together a very interesting day - during which I learned a great deal and saw what I wanted to see - in a professional and through manner.
In a way I think we both learned from each other. Not only about what lead to Auschwitz about the rich multicultural Polish history (information about which during the 60's trough the 80's was suppressed), about also about what is going on today in the world.
The restaurant you recommended was excellent. In short this was a tough, long, interesting, and intellectually challenging day.
A memorable day.
I've made two trips in Poland with Tomasz Cebulski, one in 2002 and one in 2004. He is a wonderful, savvy guide and I cannot recommend him too highly. Traveling with Tomek is a great experience. He is a remarkably open-minded and open-hearted young man, with a great deal of knowledge of, and passion for Jewish-Polish relations and history. His English is first-rate, his translation skills are excellent. His natural curiosity, enthusiasm and friendliness are delightful. We traveled together to several cities in central Poland, and he arranged our travels with superb attention to detail.
He can handle any situation with both firmness and discretion and you will feel completely safe and in very good hands.
If you are staying in Krakow, it's well worth walking the city with Tomek. He knows his beloved city like the back of his hand. He makes history come alive.
Los Angeles, CA
In June 2004 my wife and I made our first trip to my childhood home of Humniska, a tiny Galician shtetl about 200 km southeast of Cracow, that I had left in 1938. Tomasz was our guide and constant companion. Looking back on what we accomplished with his help, it is inconceivable that we could have succeeded without him.
Tomasz, with his knowledge of Galicia and strong interest in Jewish history, was our researcher, guide, interpreter and friend. His personal interest in our family history could not have been greater if he had been searching for his own family roots.
Tomasz's approach to research is to meet and talk with local people. Within a few hours of walking the main road of Humniska, we were a known curiosity, two Americans and one Polish researcher with a handful of photographs and list of family names. We met wonderful people who came out of their homes wanting to talk with us, share something of their own family history, and help in our search. Eventually we were able to reconstruct a history that was very different from what we had expected.
We discovered photographs of my father and family in the Judaica section of the Brzozow Museum; in the beautiful 15th-century wooden church of St. Stanislaw we found census records of my family and a history of the village during the war years; we talked with people who remembered my family and told vivid stories about them; and we met the 94-year old former mayor of Humniska, who had served with the Polish army in England during the war. He remembered my grandmother and was able to give us the exact location of my family home.
We were welcomed by the family who had legally acquired the deserted house in the late 1940s. The 93-year old matriarch of that family also remembered my grandmother, and confirmed the rumor that my Aunt Tova, miraculously surviving and returning after the war, had been killed by a neighbor who wanted the house.
Contrary to our expectations of a guarded reception, Polish people consistently opened up to us and offered their cooperation. Clearly, it helped that Tomasz was tactful, charming, exuberant, and had a keen instinct for follow-up questions. Tomasz was the trusted bond between us and the people we met in Humniska and Brzozow. He helped me get a piece of my life back and for that my wife Mary and I will forever be grateful to him.
My husband and I spent four days with Thomas Cebulski researching the history of my father and family in the Jewish areas of Rzeszow, Lesjack, Sieniawa and Krakow.
Tomasz Cebulski is a most unusual young man, wise beyond his years and with a wonderful passion for his subject. His English is excellent which enables him to share his endless knowledge very generously.
Tomasz sensitively led us in the footsteps of my lost family with quiet efficiency and made it an unforgettable experience. It would simply have been impossible to have done so much without him.
He really is to be very highly recommended.
To say that my first trip to Poland was a leap of faith is an understatement. I should add that it was also my very first trip to Europe and I was a “50 something” year old woman traveling alone! My goal was simple: to visit Chmielnik (the shtetl of my grandfather who left his whole family & history behind before the war), to feel safe and to somehow “connect” with those who came before me.
I believe that it was no coincidence when I happened upon Tomasz’s web site and decided to journey with him for the day. From our first meeting, my dreams quickly became reality, surpassing my wildest hopes! It seemed as if insights appeared magically, yet I am well aware that all of them were thoughtfully prearranged by this knowledgeable and personable guide. Imagine my surprise when Tomasz arranged a meeting in Chmielnik with a friend who recently published a book detailing the 500 year old history of this shtetl! Together we successfully retrieved family documents from the archives, toured the shtetl and enjoyed a fantastic lunch.
I feel quite privileged to have had the opportunity to travel with Tomasz and to write this reference for him. My experience with him was magical in all respects; one that has significantly impacted my life and that I will pass on to future generations of my family.
Shelley Berlin Parrish
I travelled with Tomasz in July 2008 to the town where my father was born and one of the camps where he was interred. Tomasz was an outstanding guide; his English was impeccable, his knowledge of Jewish culture, genealogy, and history within the context of Poland was amazing. He had some fascinating insights into the roots of anti-Semitism. I learned a great deal, and even more importantly, he was a delight to spend a day with (he's even a good, safe driver!). I recommend him without reservation and would be happy to give further information if requested."
Howard Ovens MD, CCFP(EM), FCFP
Director, Schwartz / Reisman Emergency Centre,
Mount Sinai Hospital
Assoc. Prof., DFCM, U. of Toronto
We wanted to tell you what a remarkable day we spent with you and in particular your ability to keep the boys involved and connected to the dreadful history of that place. Your knowledge, language and sensitivity were truly special and that day stands out amongst all the very special things we did and saw in Munich, Krakow and Israel.
Michael, Audrey, Isaac and Mark Norwich
One of the great experiences of traveling abroad is delighting in the unexpected. For us, this began with our meeting Tomasz Cebulski, our remarkably knowledgeable and able tour guide and genealogy researcher.
What started out as a drive through the countryside to see a few remaining places my father remembered from his childhood quickly escalated into an awe inspiring mission to locate the relatives of the family responsible for hiding my father during the war. We observed Tomasz as he masterfully spoke with town hall representatives from small villages, parish priests, even people passing by to locate the family. Within a few hours, we unexpectedly found ourselves face-to-face with the grandchildren of the righteous gentiles who hid my father for 26 months in their farmhouse barn. The next evening, with Tomasz's continued interest, passion and translation skills, we reunited my father with the one remaining member of the family who knew him as a young boy living in the underground bunker. It was an extraordinary and unexpected experience. And, it would not have been possible without Tomasz Cebulski.
Tomasz brings exceptional knowledge of the region, its history together with impeccable diplomacy skills to create an atmosphere of possibility in conducting genealogy research. His passion, stamina, and optimism are exceptional and make for a memorable and uplifting experience. We highly recommend his services. You will enjoy his company and personality and learn from his expertise. Go to Poland with an open mind and modest expectations. Delight in the unexpected that can happen when traveling abroad.
The Zucker Family
I took a trip with Tomasz Cebulski to Krakow. To describe Tomasz is only to to say I can not imagine a better guide or a nicer, more compassionate person. Tomasz has an incredible knowledge which helped provide so much historical knowledge that I have a passion and thirst to study my family genealogy which clearly he is an expert at. I was amazed when visiting the camps Tomasz made the experience interesting yet not horrific. He did not diminish the devastation but somehow with his gift it seemed to take on a unique perspective.
I accompanied my friend on a gemological search for her mother in-laws home town. He worked relentlessly with her so professionally and thoroughly and with his gift talking to people he made that the highlight of our trip.
There is nothing to say about Tomasz but I want everyone I know about his services and who he is and use his service.. I recommend him highly.
I look forward to returning..it was a memorable experience and opened up an new thirst for knowledge of this period and Tomasz is much of the reason.
Thank you Tomasz.
I want to thank you for being our guide. Your comprehension, passion and love of your country and its history was greatly appreciated. Your explantions were well presented to feel the history. I believe you will and are making a powerful contribution to history.
All the best,
There is no doubt in my mind that but for your preparation, guidance and knowledge, the trip would have been but a shadow of what if turned out to be. Frankly, I was astounded at times, at the detail of your knowledge, without notes, over a vast temporal and geographical landscape.
I was also moved, on occasion, by your sympathetic description of events without, interestingly, allowing yourself to become too emotionally involved or, for that matter, detached. The Holocaust and its interaction with your country has, of course, become your study and you struck me as having learned to deal with it dispassionately.
It was a great experience. I would recommend you to anyone who wanted to visit Poland from a Jewish perspective. Like me, he or she will learn and "feel" what once was and what, sadly, is no more. Thank you so very much for an enriching experience.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
74 Quail Valley Lane
October 17, 2007
I want to thank you for providing me with such a remarkable cultural and emotional journey when you guided me through Poland in May. I am still talking about the trip but most importantly emphasizing that it would not have been possible without you. Your intellect and comprehension of the history of Jews in Poland is extraordinary. Your assistance and perseverance with researching my family as we traveled from Krakow to Radom, Skaryszew, Kasanov, Pulawy and Lublin was greatly appreciated in what was undoubtedly insufficient time. I could never have undertaken such a journey without your expert planning and attention to detail.
Tomasz, I cannot envisage a finer guide and traveling companion and I look forward to you guiding my family and me on a return trip to Poland.
With kind regards,
I would like to express our gratitude for the lovely trip through Poland that you arranged for us and guided personally. We were a small multi-generational family group (2 seniors and two grandchildren 17 and 15), and it was particularly wonderful to see you interacting with both generations and keeping the kids (and the adults) interested and focused. Also, your expert knowledge of Polish (and Jewish!) history was a delight, certainly at the level of a professional historian rather than a mere guide. The itinerary provided just the right mix of Shoah on the one hand and of the rich Jewish and Polish history and experience on the other. Also interesting were the insights into modern Poland that you provided during our long drives. As you know, we are very-well traveled all over the world, and you certainly rank among the best guides we have ever had anywhere.
It is almost superfluous to comment (but worth saying anyway) that your friendly, open, and welcoming personality made us feel in the company of an old, missed friend rather than someone whose services we engaged. Your sending your wife Sylvia from Krakow to Warsaw to retrieve the passports and cash that I had forgotten in a hotel safe (and we are most appreciative of her for doing that) was just the "icing on top of the cake".
Please feel free to use this email for a reference. I will be happy to respond to any private inquiries from your prospective clients.
With warmest regards,
Prof. Allen Reiter
phone: +972 4 6263966
fax: +972 4 6100125
We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed our personal tour with you. It was a most productive day and we learned a great deal. Your knowledge of the Holocaust is greater than that of anyone I have ever met.
We would recommend you highly to anyone who wishes to use your touring, genealogical or Holocaust knowledge services.
Fred and Ann Lynn
On behalf of my father, sister and myself, I wanted to extend our gratitude for your expert knowledge and thoroughly unforgettable visit to Poland last week. The tour of the Cracow ghetto, Schindlers Factory, Plaszow, Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau will leave a lasting impression on all of us and your expert knowledge of the history and surrounding areas of Cracow made the trip far beyond our original expectations. Since leaving Cracow, we have all felt the need to learn and understand more of how this recent history can never be repeated and this is down to your informative and compelling way of communicating, which was truly inspiring.
I cannot recommend Tomasz enough and anyone wishing to visit this truly historic place would be well advised to utilise Tomasz, as his expert knowledge and guidance to steer you through this course of recent history in way that will also leave you inspired to understand more.
Michael De Jongh
I am a Conservative American Jew and have been an active reader about the Holocaust for over 15 years. Being able to go to Poland for two weeks recently and visit where my wife and her family were born was so special for us. We first heard about Tomasz at the suggestion of a U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum researcher, and hired him for a day in Krakow and to see Auschwitz I, II, and III.
I was amazed at the knowledge of this man about everything and anything that we asked him that was Holocaust-related. To hear his insights about the camps, the sociology of what went on in the town during the war was so special and so memorable. I regret we did not hire him for more days. These thoughts are living testimony to the value of having a guide in Poland and then accepting there is no other better than Tomasz Cebulski, at any price.
I was particularly impressed with the number of locations we saw in a day, yet saw them thoroughly.
Please contact me if you have any additional questions about Tomasz or what we saw that was so impactful.
As we told you many times during our trip with you, this trip, and especially with your guideness, has been certainly one of the most interesting and fulfilling experiences we had. I can say here, without being exaggerating, that without your guideness, without all the endless talks in the car, without your interesting answers to each and every question we have asked you, without your enormous knowledge of our very own history- the Jewish history- and without and without and so on- without all these thing this very important trip of ours, to the roots of our family, and to the place where those roots were being brutally cut all of a sudden- had probably been another experience totally.
The research you are doing is a blessed thing, your guideness was friendly and very deeply sensitive to our emotions, and that was an experience which I am sure will stick with the three of us for a long long time.
Let us believe that the lesson which the unearthly gate of Birkenau is teaching you, can and will be taught to every human-being on this planet, and that this can become what will lead the world to...
Thank you again, for a long living experience,
29 August, 2006
I wanted to take this moment to express my deep gratitude to you. Your thorough preparation and guidance was professional and at the same time friendly; your caring and sensitivity, your patience and flexibility, made each of us have the experience we were looking for.
Best of luck to you and your future endeavors. May the all peoples of the world know peace in our lifetime, through understanding, respect, and tolerance, as you showed us.
We recently visited Poland for the first time. Our mission required the skills of both a guide and genealogy expert. Our primary mission was to locate the village and the birth home of Michelle's Father who passed away several years ago. One of his wishes was to have his daughter visit his original village and home. He had managed to escape Poland in March of 1939 just prior to the Nazi invasion. Our second objective was to lean more about Jewish life in Poland prior to and after the Holocaust, as we both have strong Jewish roots in Poland. Next we wanted to locate any information and material on a famous Polish Jewish artist named Arthur Szyk. Finally we wanted to learn about modern Poland, its beliefs and society. Thanks to Tomasz Cebulski, our objectives were all met and the trip far exceeded our best expectations! We utilized the many services Tomasz provided for our trip to Poland. He was our advance planner, our personal driver, our personal guide, our translator, our historian and we now we are proud to say our FRIEND! His knowledge of both Polish and Jewish history and culture, and overall communication skills made him the perfect match for us. We suspect that one day he will become a noted and published Polish historian. He is a true Polish patriot and Poland, I am sure, is proud to call him one of its sons! Tomasz has enriched our lives and we thank him for this...
Please feel free to contact us for any information we may be able to provide.
You will be in caring hands with Tomasz.
Gregg and Michelle (Warech) Philipsom
Through his meticulous research and passion for his subject, Tomasz Cebulski's engaging manor brings to life the multi-faceted history of the jews in Poland. In addition, he possesses the ability to anticipate and respond to the individual needs and questions of his clients. The four days we spent with Tomasz were the highlight of our european trip.
Betsy and Frank Lewinson
My sister and I had the great good fortune to have as our guide in Poland Tomasz Cebulski. We could not have found a better person to accompany us on our visit to our father's birth place. He was very good company, knowledgeable, interesting and enthusiastic. He was tireless in his efforts in helping us to find information about our Polish/Jewish roots. We both unhesitatingly recommend him.
Mrs Allegra Taylor and Mrs Zuleika Henry (from England)
Tomasz was a very educated and engaging guide. He helped us gain access to our roots and the history of the Jewish people in Poland. Our trip with Tomasz will remain with us forever.
October 12, 2005
This letter is being written as a testimonial to the extraordinary service Mr. Tomasz Cebulski provided to me and my daughter during August of this year. We contracted Tomasz shortly after deciding to take a trip to Poland to find family members with whom we had lost contact during the early 1980's. Our inability to speak Polish was a concern for us, especially since we wold be traveling to Kadzidlo, a rather remote farm land area about a half hour north of Ostroleka.
My expectation of Tomasz was to provide safe tour guide services from the airport in Warsaw to the region where my family lives in Kadzidlo. During our stay, Tomasz was to provide driving services, make local hotel bookings, provide translation services and most importantly, help us to locate our family. I also requested that Tomasz, whenever possible, help us to enjoy any cultural aspects of the Kurpie region. Tomasz would then drive us to Krakow where we would continue our trip in our region.
Upon our arrival at the airport, Tomasz quickly put us at ease. Although he was not previously familiar with the Kurpie region of Kadzidlo, Tomasz thoroughly impressed us with the knowledge he had acquired since we made our initial booking. His overall knowledge of the history of Poland and the struggles of its people was apparent in every conversation.
The love Mr. Cebulski has for his country and its many cultures is very evident in his words and actions and the respect he shows his countrymen, no matter what their status. He is a relaxed and friendly individual who was very much at ease talking with all people from the area including the local priest, the town registry clerk, local store keepers and even town folk he stopped along the street. Tomasz also helped us to make sure we did not offend anyone and that we followed the proper protocol in all of our interactions.
Ultimately, Tomasz did find our family for us leading to a very moving and loving reunion. The language barrier was difficult for my daughter and I, but Tomasz managed to absorb all of the fast paced exchange, effectively translating not only content but feelings s well. He made sure that we understood the depth and breadth of every conversation with our family. In the end, I believe they felt he was as much a part of the family as we were, for having delivered us to them.
Overall, our travel with Tomasz was very memorable. Magical things happen with Tomasz from spectacular sunset in Kadzidlo to rainbows over Czestochowa. I would highly recommend his tour guide services and genealogical knowledge to anyone wishing to visit the country of Poland, regardless of the region to be visited.
Tomasz Cebulski was extremely knowledgeable in Polish-Jewish history and wonderful to be with, making our trip to Poland all the more meaningful.
Our visit with Tomasz to Auschwitz was something none of us will ever forget. He was one of the finest guides we had ever been with and you can feel confident in recommending him to clients looking for a meaningful experience in Poland.
I was able to contact Tomek Cebulski and could not have had a better experience. He was incredibly knowledgeable, personable, and absolutely delightful. I had my 20 year old daughter and her friend with me and they just adored him and had a fabulous experience as well. In fact, Tomek did such a wonderful job with both Kolbuszowa and Tarnobrzeg (where my maternal grandmother was from) that I asked him to add another half day to show us Kazimierz and Podgorze. We had an equally fantastic day. His fees were more than reasonable. Please feel free to give anyone my name as a reference for Tomek.
Thank you once again for helping to make this trip so amazing!
I just wanted to let you know how much Harvey and I enjoyed the time spent with you. You made our Jewish heritage journey very special and we will never forget what you showed us and taught us. Of all the places that we visited on this trip, our time in Cracow was probably the most significant. Again, thank you for an exceptional tour and for being the special person you are.
I wanted to thank you on behalf of Zach and myself. You were an outstanding guide for this difficult journey. You are sensitive, knowledgeable and easy to get along with. I will be recommending you for both your guide and geneology services.