Holocaust and WW II

The Jewish Ghetto in Krakow - Podgorze


History of the Ghetto

In the past it was a separate city. Since 1915 it has been a workers' district of Kraków situated on the right bank of the Vistula river with several significant manufacturing plants. On 3rd March of the year 1941 Nazi Germans had made a decision to create the ghetto in Podgórze - a closed district separated from the rest of the city with a wall. 17 thousand of the Jews remaining in Kraków had been relocated to an area populated by 3 thousand people before the war.  The ghetto area occupied around 20 hectares with 320 houses, in which there were exactly 3167 chambers. For one inhabitant of the ghetto there was 2m2 of living space. After two deportations from the ghetto to the extermination camp in Bełżec, ghetto was divided into ghetto A and ghetto B depending on the inhabitants' capacity to work. The ones capable of work found employment in the manufacturing plants nearby e.g. in Oskar Schindler's Deutsche - Emailwarenfabrik. The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on the 13th and 14th March, 1943. 6 thousand Jews capable of work were relocated to the camp in Płaszów, around 2 thousands were murdered during the ghetto liquidation process and the rest, mainly children under 14, in the camp Auschwitz - Birkenau. Out of 70 thousand Jews in Kraków only 1 thousand survived.


Schindler's Factory

The building of Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik - Schindler's Factory at Lipowa 4 Street.
The factory was constructed in the year 1937 as a place designated for production of enamelled and tin wares. It was taken over by a German entrepreneur, Oskar Schindler, in 1939. The factory produced goods for the German army. After reconstruction, since 1943, it also produced canteens, bullet shells and fuses. Polish workers were, in great numbers, substituted by much cheaper Jewish prisoners from the camp in Płaszów.  Their numbers in 1944 estimated 1100 people. When Nazi Germans started liquidating the camps along with the prisoners for fear of the approaching battlefront, Schindler with help of his accountant Itzhak Stern created a list of his workers and members of their families (later referred to as Schindler's List), ransomed the prisoners and transported them to a new factory in Czechoslovakia.
The story of the factory and its owner was described in a novel "Schindler's Ark" by an Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. Later Steven Spielberg based his film "Schinler's List" on this very book.
Today the administrative facilities of the factory house the department of Historical Museum of the City of Kraków with an exhibition "Kraków - the times of occupation 1939 - 1945. Kraków and its inhabitants at the time of the World War II are presented in 45 exposition rooms. The exposition has been divided into several segments dedicated to specific subjects: war in 1939, everyday life of the inhabitants of Kraków during occupation, history of the Kraków's Jews, underground country and stories of people who worked in the factory as well as the story of Schindler himself. 


"The Eagle" Pharmacy

Ghetto Museum in "The Eagle Pharmacy " - The Eagle Pharmacy was the only pharmacy in the ghetto, while its owner - Tadeusz Pankiewicz, was the only non-Jewish inhabitant of the ghetto.  The pharmacy was an underground supply depot, a place to seek help and contact for Jews living in the ghetto. At present the building houses a small exhibition about the extermination of the Kraków's Jews as well as about Tadeusz Pankiewicz, whose memoirs "Apteka w krakowskim getcie" (Pharmacy in the Kraków's Ghetto) have been translated into numerous languages.


Remnants of the ghetto walls

Remnants of the ghetto walls - two preserved fragments are situated at Lwowska Street close to the crossroads with  Józefińska Street and behind the school building at the crossroads of Limanowskiego and Rękawka Streets.


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