After Auschwitz, my next must-do on my agenda was Oskar Schindler’s Factory in the Kazimierz district in Krakow and I wanted to write about why it’s worth the schlep south and across the river to visit Schindler’s Factory.
Historically, Kazimierz was an independent Jewish district outside the city lines of Krakow. It was only after the king noticed that the Jews were really good at paying taxes that he made Kazimierz part of the city of Krakow (despite the fact that it was over the river). I walked from the Old Town down across the river, through the Ghetto Heroes Square, and eventually reached the factory. I paid 15 zloty, I think, for an hour or so tour around the premises.
Some facts I learned on the tour:
- The Polish people wanted to mobilize their army in the spring of 1939 but Britain said they’d talk to Hitler and not to worry. (Then they did nothing when Hitler invaded in September 1939.)
- The first two deportations of Jews were to small villages. The third deportation was to the first camp.
- Oskar Schindler was a spy and he knew that the war was over two years before the Germans.
- It took 3-11 people to save 1 Jewish person.
- Schindler wasn’t a good samaritan. At the beginning he was a good business man who wanted the cheapest labor.
Schindler’s desk (L) and his secretary’s desk (R). Schindler tracked the movement of the war on the map behind his desk.
There are pictures from the movie Schindler’s List near the entry way and the further back you walk, there are memorials to the families that Oskar Schindler saved. It’s recorded that he saved the lives on 1,200 Jews.
A shot of the outside of the factor (L), old street signs from the German occupations (R-top), and the floor inside the factory is covered in swastikas so everyone who enters can stomp all over them (R-bottom).
Photos of all the people Schindler saved.
More information can be found here if you want to visit.