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Krakow, March of Remembrance. 80 years ago, the Germans brutally liquidated the Krakow ghetto

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Before the war, the Jewish community made up a quarter of Kraków’s population. The Germans established a ghetto there in March 1941. It was one of the five largest in the General Government. It was brutally liquidated 80 years ago, on March 13-14, 1943. On Sunday, March 12, at 12 noon, a symbolic March of Remembrance will set off from the Heroes of the Ghetto Square.

Before World War II, a large Jewish community lived in Krakow (about 70,000 people), but most were forced to leave the city in the first months of the German occupation. There were over 15,000 people in the created ghetto. This number later increased to about 20,000 due to the resettlement of Jews from nearby towns. It happened at the end of 1941.

In 1942, several displacement actions were organized, during which most of the inhabitants were transported mainly to the German extermination camp in Bełżec.

The final liquidation of the ghetto took place on March 13 and 14, 1943. At that time, about nine thousand people still lived in the ghetto. Two thousand Jews were murdered on the spot, mainly in Plac Zgody, which today is known as Plac Bohaterów Getta. Photographs have been preserved showing numerous human corpses on the streets of Podgórze.

Blood flows in streams on the cobblestones. Broken packages, suitcases, bags, velvet-bound books lie everywhere. Screams and screams merge into one terrifying sound. I look into the dead eyes of the people who lie next to me. They are like glass. wide open. gone

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The order to carry out the liquidation action was issued by SS-Sturmbannführer Willi Haase. After the war, he was sentenced by a British court to two years in prison, and then extradited to Poland. On June 26, 1951, the District Court in Kraków sentenced him to death. The sentence was carried out on May 23, 1952 in the Montelupich prison.

German camp in Płaszów – view from 1942Wikipedia/public domain

Hell of the camps

The rest were transported to KL Auschwitz or herded to the labor camp in Płaszów (in January 1944 transformed into a concentration camp). The head of this camp was Amon Leopold Göth. A madman and a psychopath. Not only did he personally participate in the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto, but he also personally murdered the prisoners. It is estimated that he killed around 500 people alone. He shot at them from the balcony of the villa where he lived.

Villa of the commandant of the German concentration camp KL Plaszow Amon Göth, ul.  Heltmana 22, Krakow

Amon Göth VillaVilla of the commandant of the German concentration camp KL Plaszow Amon Göth, ul. Heltmana 22, Krakowcommons.wikimedia.org | Zygmunt Put Zetpe0202

In 1945, he was captured by the American army, which handed him over to the Polish authorities. The death sentence by hanging was carried out on September 13, 1946 in the prison. Montelupich in Krakow..

Cracow. This is how the KL Plaszow Museum is to look like.

The grounds of the former German camp in PłaszówIPN Reference: IPNKr-2-15-4-1

Due to the approach of the front, the camp was practically liquidated in the summer of 1944, and many prisoners were transported to KL Auschwitz and gassed there.

Only about a thousand people survived Oskar Schindler they were transported to camps, where they managed to wait until the end of the war. The martyrdom of prisoners was the subject of Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List.

SEE: The youngest survivor from Schindler’s list has died


They saved themselves from the Krakow ghetto, among others Roman Polanski, Ryszard Horowitz with his sister, Roma Ligocka, Stella Mueller and Miriam Akavia. Currently, 70 chairs-sculptures made of metal, commemorating the victims of the Holocaust, stand on the Bohaterów Getta Square.

Metal chairs-monuments refer to the abandoned furniture that littered the square during the liquidation of the ghetto. Tadeusz Pankiewicz wrote about it in his book “Apteka w getcie krakowskim”. In the pharmacy itself there is a museum – a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow. The money for its modernization was donated by, among others, Roman Polański and Steven Spielberg.

SEE: A meadow grows where the concentration camp stood. Hence the initiative to commemorate KL Plaszow.

Of the nearly 70,000 Jewish community in Krakow, only about a thousand people survived the war.

March of Remembrance

Every year, members of the Jewish community, authorities and residents of Krakow march from Plac Bohaterów Getta to the monument on the site of the former KL Płaszów camp, which is exactly the route taken by the last Jews in Krakow. The March of Remembrance is a manifestation of remembrance and respect for thousands of victims of the Holocaust. This year’s will start on Sunday, March 12, at 12 noon.

The program of this year’s March of Remembrance:

time. 12.00, Plac Bohaterów Getta – official part, reading survivors’ accounts;
time. 12.20 – passage to ul. Lwowska – Kadish and laying flowers under the surviving fragment of the ghetto wall;
time. 12.30 – walking along the following streets: Lwowska, Limanowskiego, Wielicka, Jerozolimska and Heltmana to the monument to the murdered Jews in the area of ​​the former KL Plaszow camp;
time. 13.15 – ceremony at the monument: prayers, reading survivors’ accounts, laying flowers and stones.

At 1.45 p.m. from the Makowa stop at ul. Kamieńskiego (at the foot of the monument on the site of the former KL Plaszow camp) a free bus will depart to the Bohaterów Getta Square.

Main photo source: Wikipedia/public domain

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