Sunday, November 6, 2011

More from the 1937 Poland travel brochure

Caption: "The motorship Piłsudski at the Maritime Station in Gdynia."1

Getting back to ephemera2, some fine folks on the message board read Wednesday's post -- Excerpts from a 1937 travel brochure for Poland -- and asked if there was any more information about Poland's transportation system in the brochure.

There is, indeed, a little bit more information along those lines, so I'm sharing that with a series of scans in today's post.

First up (at right) is a section titled "Tickets at reduced rates on the Polish State Railways for foreign tourists." Two excerpts:
  • "15 days tickets valid for all the lines and all the trains at the price of zł. 60. ... Those tickets are delivered by the travel offices abroad the Polish frontier stations and at the principal stations in Poland, only to holders of a foreign passport."
  • "Transit tickets, for transit across Poland, of at least 500 km one way. The price of such tickets is 22 zł. (3-rd) for journeys of 500 to 750 km, and 26.-zł. for journeys over 750 km. These tickets are good for all trains and allow the journey to be broken twice within the 2 months validity. Transit tickets are delivered only by travel offices outside Poland."
Second, here's a section titled "Where to obtain informations about Poland?" (Click on the image for a larger version.)

Two travel agencies are mentioned in this section -- the Polish Orbis Travel Office and Cooks-Wagons-Lits World Travel Services.

According to this Demotix news article, Orbis Travel announced its bankruptcy on September 29, 2010. It had been one of the largest and oldest travel agencies in Poland, having been founded in Lviv in 1920. According to the article, it was founded: "to create a travel agency with an international standard of service, an institution that would be the window to the world for the citizens of the newly reborn Polish state."

Orbis moved its headquarters to Warsaw in 1933. In 1939, according to the Demotix article, it had 136 branches in Poland and 19 abroad, with 500 employees and four hotels offering a total of 360 rooms. In 1939, Orbis handled more than 5 million customers. (I'm guessing that almost all of that 1939 Orbis business came before September 1, 1939.)

The other travel agency mentioned is Cook-Wagons-Lits World Travel Services. It is also written as "Wagons-Lits/Cook" at one point. In any combination, though, I can't find much current information on this company, beyond The World's Emptiest Facebook Page. Anyone have any historical insight on this travel agency?

Finally, here's a section titled "Formalities on entering Poland":

An interesting note here is that "Foreign motorists touring in Poland pay a road tax of 1 Zl. per day. The motorists holding 90-day Tourists Cards, issued by their national Automobile Club or Touring Club, are exempt from that tax."

1. The MS Piłsudski, shown at left in the top photo on today's entry, was launched in 1935 and torpedoed and sunk on November 26, 1939, during her first wartime voyage, off the Humber, near Yorkshire, England.
2. The real world and my day job as the sports editor of a Pennsylvania newspaper took greater precedence the past couple of days, with the news of the horrific child-abuse charges from the campus of Penn State University. Here's my commentary, as a Penn State grad, on the ongoing case.

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