At the beginning of the Krakow occupation by Nazis, most of local Jews were resettled to the east – to Lublin region (later, many of them died in nearby concentration camps, most of them in Treblinka). For the rest, approx. 17,000, German authorities in Krakow established a Ghetto, which existed till its brutal closure in 1943 (more than two thousand people were killed during the liquidation, many died before). Survivors were deported to the Płaszow concentration camp, located near to the Podgórze District (where the Ghetto was situated).
Krakow Płaszów Concentration Camp
The camp was built on the site of two Jewish cemeteries. Workers have been acquiring materials from formerly destroyed tombstones, that were used during the construction of roads and barracks as well (it appears as the decorations for Spielberg’s Schindler’s List) Today, You can visit a few of these relics at the graveyards on Jerusalem and Abraham Streets. Not so far from there, survived the villa belonging to the camp commandant Amon Goeth, hanged after the war for war crimes in the Kraków prison on Montelupich Street. On the border of Podgórze and Płaszow districts, near the Mound of Krak, was located previosuly mentioned Lebanon Quarry – picturesque, but creepy place (here run separate forced labor camp, where prisoners from the Plaszow camp worked).
Plac Bohaterów Getta (Heroes of the Ghetto Square)
Worth visiting is also the square, where were Jews were deported to different concentration camps (hundreds were killed by the way). Today, these terrible events are commemorated by the influential art installation in the form of metal, spaced square chairs, which look like scattered human property (furniture and personal belongings, that after the Ghetto liquidation covered all the square and streets of the Podgórze district). Not so far, on Limanowskiego and Lwowska Streets, there are some preserved fragments of walls surrounding the Kraków Ghetto once). At the same square there is one place particularly worth seeing – The Under the Eagle Pharmacy. Its former owner, a Pole Jozef Pankiewicz was permitted by Nazi authorities to operate a pharmacy into the Ghetto area. During the occupation he used his pharmaceutical business as an effective cover for helping Jews in this strictly closed territory. Together with his employees they delivered food, medicines and false documents to the Ghetto. Pharmacy quickly become the meeting place of the Ghetto tormented society. A very interesting exhibition prepared by the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow tells this extraordinary story.
Krakow Ghetto – guided tours
Former Krakow Ghetto is full of memory places, which are not only worth, but necessary to visit. After Holocaust tragedy, we have a duty to remember this horrible times!
We would like you to explore all the places associated with the drama of Krakow’s Jews during World War II with our excellent guides. All routes information can be found at: https://krakowzwiedzanie.pl/en/oscar-schindler/.