Oskar Schindler's Factory - Krakow
Moving and educational tour. Just 20 minutes walk from the Old Town. Due to the popularity of the exhibition and security procedures the number of tickets might be limited, especially on a free of charge Mondays.
Oskar Schindler's Factory is Best For
Directions to Oskar Schindler's Factory
Oskar Schindler, an ambitious German businessman and member of the Nazi party, took over an unused enamelware factory in Krakow in order to profit from the available Jewish forced labour. Becoming wealthy from this business, gradually his moral compass shifted until, by the end of the Second World War, he had squandered almost his entire fortune in ensuring the safety and survival of some 1200 Jews who had passed through his factory gates.
Thomas Kenneally's book, Schindler's Ark, won the Booker prize for literature in 1982 and was adapted by Steven Spielberg into his multi Oscar-winning film Schindler's List in 1993. Spielberg shot much of the movie in Krakow, recreating the Jewish ghetto and Plaszow concentration camp. Schindler's factory at 4 Lipowa Street, just adjacent to the site of the ghetto in Podgorze, still stands, and in recent years has been converted into a museum.
The Schindler museum has not been built just as a memorial to one man's heroic actions, though, but as an illustration of the bigger picture of wartime life in Krakow under Nazi rule: a symbolic "street" showing aspects of life under occupation for ordinary Poles as well as Jews; the fact that Krakow was the location of the German high command in Poland; segregation; the history of the factory; and, of course, Schindler's story.
As a follow-up to a visit to Auschwitz and the stark horrors that took place there, Schindler's factory can be considered something of an antidote: whilst not shying away from the grim reality of life in a time of repression and genocide, just standing within the walls where one ordinary - and not particularly virtuous - man made such a profound difference to the lives of a fortunate few arouses powerful emotions.
The new exhibition in Schindler's Factory; 'Krakow under Nazi Occupation (1939-1945)' is already live.