In the footsteps of Schindler’s List
In the 1990s, Kraków became the set of Schindler’s List, winner of eight Academy Awards and one of Steven Spielberg’s most famous films. Its plot takes place in locations that are nearly entirely authentic. The crew managed to portray both historical truth and the atmosphere of the time, to a large degree thanks to the survival of the original architecture: the former Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik in Zabłocie, the premises of the former ghetto in Podgórze district, and the authentic spaces of Jewish Kazimierz. A faithful replica of the concentration camp in Płaszów was built for the film in the nearby stone quarry, and the mockup of the villa of the camp’s commander Amon Göth was also set in the original location. The TV Studio in the Łęg district lent its sound stage for building the sets. All the sets built for the production were designed by Polish art directors: Allan Starski and Ewa Braun, whose effort for that production won an Oscar. Another Academy Award, for cinematography, went into the hands of Janusz Kamiński.
You are invited for a walk looking at the traces of Schindler’s List. It is an American war drama produced in 1993 and portraying authentic events and the story of Oscar Schindler: a German industrialist who saved over 1000 Jews during the Second World War. The visit starts in Kraków’s Kazimierz district, and more precisely in ul. Szeroka, which in Spielberg’s film “represented” plac Zgody in the ghetto. The filmmakers set up the wall and the gate of the ghetto at its narrow Southern end. We see Szeroka Street again as the place where the inhabitants of the ghetto are registered and later gathered during the deportation to the camp in Płaszów, it’s also here that they warm up together by the fire, and from here march out to work. Later cross the courtyard of the house at ul. Józefa 12, generally considered “the most beautiful in all Kazimierz”. Take the Father Bernatek Footbridge to move from Kazimierz to Podgórze, and plunge into the little streets on Lasoty Hill behind its Market Square. From there move to the foot of the Krakus Mound to take a close look at the Liban Stone Quarry. From there, turn to the Square of the Heroes of the Ghetto (former plac Zgody). The route ends at Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory.