Plaszow Nazi German Concentration Camp

ul. Jerozolimska / ul. Kamieńskiego


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At its zenith, the camp was inhabited by around 35,000 inmates living in inhuman conditions. Its commander was Amon Goeth, who was renowned for his cruelty.

The forced labour camp in Płaszów was set up on Jewish cemeteries (in Abrahama and Jerozolimska streets) late in 1942. Its main street was paved with matzevahs – Jewish tombstones. Mostly Jews from the ghettos of Kraków and other cities, as well as Poles of non-Jewish extraction and the Roma were sent here. The number of inmates forced to suffer tragic conditions, murderous exertion and labour, as well as starvation reached 35,000. They sewed uniforms, printed documents for Nazi authorities, and worked in electrical, locksmithery and automotive, workshops, and in stone quarries. The camp’s commander, Amon Goeth, was particularly cruel and tortured and murdered inmates in person. It is estimated that 5000-6000 people, victims of mass executions, were buried here in mass graves. With the Eastern Front approaching, in August 1944 their bodies were exhumed and burnt to obliterate traces of the crime. The inmates were successively transported to camps in Germany and KL Auschwitz. The last transport left in January 1945 on the eve of the Red Army entering Kraków.

According to various sources, there were anything from 50,000 to 150,000 people who went through the Plaszow Camp (a concentration camp since 1943). The survivors included among others the staff of Oscar Schindler’s factory (approximately 1100 people). The history of their salvation recorded in the novel Schindler’s Ark became the foundation for Steven Spielberg’s multi-award winning film Schindler’s List. The premises of the former camp were used as one of the filming locations in 1993.

No structures of the camp have survived: neither barracks nor observation towers. A part of the premises has been taken up by a residential estate. Still standing, however, is the villa of Amon Goeth (ul. Heltmana 22) and the so-called Grey House (Szary Dom, ul. Jerozolimska 3) – they were homes to SS officers known for their cruelty, who rearranged the basement of the latter into a dungeon: a place no one left alive, as survivors of the camp recall. The victims of the camp are commemorated with a handful of low obelisks and the 7-metre (22 ft) high Monument to Nazi Victims (on a low knoll by Kamieńskiego Street) moving with its symbolism of foreign hearts.

ul. Jerozolimska / ul. Kamieńskiego
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