Holocaust and WW II

The Plaszow concentration camp in Krakow  (German: Konzentrationslager Plaszow).



Płaszów is a district of Kraków adjacent to Podgórze. In autumn of the year 1942, in Płaszów, Nazi Germans created a labour camp for the Jewish citizens on the premises of two former Jewish cemeteries. Prisoners were employed in the nearby quarry, in workshops on the camp's premises and in various industrial plants outside of the camp; among others, in the famous Schindler's Factory.
In the middle of the year 1943 the labour camp was transformed into a concentration camp.  In 1944, 25 thousand prisoners, mainly Jews, were held captive on the area of 80 hectares.  Among the prisoners were Jews from liquidated ghettos from Kraków's area as well as transports of Jews from Slovakia and Hungary on their way to Auschwitz - Birkenau. The construction of gas chambers and crematoriums was started yet it was never completed. As the battlefront drew near in autumn of the year 1944, the liquidation of the camp started. Prisoners were sent to gas chambers in Auschwitz - Birkenau, Stutthof and others.
It was estimated that during its existence the camp has seen 150 thousand prisoners.
It is difficult to calculate the number of its victims. Around 8 thousand prisoners died in executions. The number of prisoners who died due to illnesses, famine and emaciation remains unknown. It is known, however, that during covering their tracks, 17 trucks full of human ashes left the camp on Nazi German orders.


Area of the Plaszow camp today

At present the area of the former camp is neglected and does not have any specific trails. A monument and two plaques mark the spot where executions had taken place. A cross on an elevation was placed in the area where mass graves had been found. On visiting the camp one can see the outlines of the barracks' foundations, old camp paths and roads, remnants of the graves from the former Jewish cemetery. The "Grey House", which until the year 1939 had served as the seat of the Jewish burial society (Chewra Kadisza), was also preserved. When the camp was in operation, the structure was used as detention and torture chamber of the SS as well as a villa of the camp commander Amon Goeth.


The movie "Schindler's List"

The reality of the camp as well as the sadistic commander Amon Goeth were portrayed in Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List".


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