Oskar Schindler was a wealthy German Nazi who employed hundreds of Jews in his Krakow enamel factory, which ultimately led to many saved lives. Despite Schindler’s political affiliations, he insisted that his employees were vital to the workforce. Many of his workers were shipped out of Poland to Brněnec in the Czech Republic, where they went on to survive World War II. Schindler’s part in all this is immortalized in the Steven Spielberg film Schindler’s List.
Since June 2010, Schindler’s old factory has housed a highly emotive, interactive and visually stunning permanent exhibition on the Nazi occupation of Krakow. The horrors of the regime are showcased, from the early days of uneasy truce between Poles and Germans to the ultimate mass genocide of Jews and Poles alike in concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. The multimedia and intense 3-D diorama displays in the “Krakow Under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945” exhibit harshly bring to reality the repeated atrocities, the liquidation of 3,000 Jews from the Podgorzé ghetto in 1943 and the final days of the war. Other exhibits include street scenes, Schindler’s old office and his tragic personal testament, ultimately ending on a conciliatory note in the Hall of Choices, where the dead of WWII are honored and the Holocaust forgiven. As for Oskar Schindler, he died penniless and was buried on Mount Zion in Jerusalem; he was the only Nazi to be accorded that honor.
The Schindler Factory is at 4 Lipowa Street in Podgórze, across the road from Krakow’s former Jewish ghetto. The factory is open year-round Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., with varying hours on Mondays. Tickets generally cost 19PLN, although they are free on Mondays. Concessions cost 16PLN.