As you know, I am writing about cities and their citizens which suffered because of Nazi Germany. I decided to visit Krakow, because under Nazi occupation it was a place where they created hell not only for Polish people, but for those, who were sent in here. My goal was not looking for Krakow attractions ( although I saw a few). I wanted to learn as much as possible about Holocaust and I made it. I was happy to find so many cheap hotels in Krakow city center. I devoted all days for sightseeing and only spent the nights in the hotel. I booked 3 Krakow tours to be sure I won’t miss anything. I wanted to visit Auschwitz, Schindler’s Factory, Jewish Ghetto and museums connected with this issue.
Sightseeing Krakow ghetto
I decided to prepare for my biggest trip to Auschwitz- Birkenau ( in polish Oswiecim). First of my three Krakow tours took me to Podgorze. It was choose a new district to gather Krakow Jewsh who were previously living in Kazimierz. Their elegant houses were given to the occupants. All of them had to register, they were analyzed. Those who were fit and strong and could work were temporary left to work for German war effort. In March 1941 the borders of ghetto area were closed and all Jews found behind its gates were to be killed.
Ghetto wall was built. In 1942 the decision about the “Final Solution” was taken. Those, who left here were sent to death camps. A few thousands were killed on the streets. I visited Pharmacy Under an Eagle which is now a museum documenting the ghetto history and life saving activities of the pharmacy owner, Tadeusz Pankiewicz, during the war. I saw Old Cemetery of Podgorze- burial place of the noble citizens of Podgorze, politicians, entrepreneurs and artists. It’s also worth to mention Plaszow Camp memorial which commemorates all the victims who died there.
Schindler’s Factory trip
My next destination has been really interesting museum. It’s a place where Oskar Schindler, an ethnic German industrialist from Czechoslovakia, saved Jews from labor camps by employing them in this factory. It became really famous after Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List. This impressive interactive museum covers the German occupation of Krakow in WWII. The historical museum’s facilities of Oskar Schindler’s Factory consists of three parts, namely its permanent show, space set aside for temporary displays, and the screening room. Well-organised, innovative exhibits tell the moving story of the city from 1939 to 1945. It’s a chance to enter Krakow as it was more than 70 years ago.
The most popular among Krakow tours- Auschwitz tour
If you visit Krakow, you simply has to visit Auschwitz. Opened in 1940, was the largest of the Nazi concentration camp. It evolved into a network of camps around Poland. Jewish people and other perceived enemies of the Nazi state were exterminated there. Some of them immediately, some after months of exhausting work and humiliation. It is estimated that more than 1 million people, lost their lives at Auschwitz. Death camps existed for the sole purpose of killing Jews and other “undesirables,” in what became known as the Holocaust.
Among prisoners were also polish political opposition, suspicious for regime people, homosexuals, those who helped prisoners and Gypsies. Those Krakow tours showed me how much ideology is able to do cause pain and pointless murders. Thousands of people were killed just because they were different religion or nationality. I hope many people will visit Auschwitz to realize how it really looked like. What was happening during occupation. What war is doing to the people.