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Schindler’s Factory in Krakow 

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Museum in Oskar Schindler’s Factory

Krakow’s fabled Oskar Schindler's Factory of Enameled Vessels ‘Emalia’ has been turned into a modern museum devoted to the wartime experiences in Krakow under the five-year Nazi occupation during the World War II. The museum takes up the sprawling administration building of the defunct plant at 4 Lipowa street, in the city’s grim industrial district of Zablocie on the right bank of Wisla river. Ingenious exhibitions combine period artifacts, photos and documents with multimedia and set-piece arrangements in an attempt to create a full-immersion experience.

Beyond Oscar Schidler’s Museum.

Oskar Schindler, his factory, and the fate of its Jewish workforce feature prominently in the museum. Roughly a sixth of the museum’s permanent exhibition is dedicated to them. The rest shows prewar Krakow, the German invasion in 1939, Krakow as the capital of Poland under the Nazi occupation, the sorrows of everyday living in the occupied city, family life, the wartime history of Krakow Jews, the resistance movement,  the underground Polish state, and lastly the Soviet capture of the city.

The centerpiece of the part of the exposition dealing with Oskar Schindler himself is his office fortuitously preserved over the intervening years. 

Oskar Schindler's office in his Krakow factory turned into a museum

Oskar Schindler's office with his desk, erotic art, and huge map he used to demonstrate Nazi conquests in Europe.  

History of ‘Schindler’s Factory’ in Krakow, Poland.

Oskar Schindler arrived to Krakow hot on the heels of the German invasion in September 1939. As a member of the Nazi party and an agent of the German military intelligence he managed to appropriate the factory which had been set up by a group of Jewish businessmen in 1937. Krakow’s two Jewish proprietors who became dependent on Schindler, Abraham Bankier and Samuel Wiener, provided him with necessary capital. The factory originally known under its Polish name as Fabryka Naczyn Emaliowanych i Wyrobow Blaszanych ‘Rekord’ was renamed Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (DEF). Under Schindler’s control the plant at 4 Lipowa street continued to produce cookware and varied metal vessels, primarily for the German army. He accomplished ambitious plans of the rapid expansion of production facilities. Schindler also succeeded in launching a munitions division so his factory was able to contribute directly to the Third Reich’s war effort as supplier of cartridge cases and fuses for bombs and artillery shells. He reduced costs by replacing the original Polish staff with cheap labor from the Krakow Jewish ghetto the Nazis organized not far from Schindler’s factory. When Germans liquidated the ghetto in 1943 and moved the remaining Jews to the Plaszow concentration camp, Schindler opened its branch on the premises of his factory complete with barbed-wire fences and watchtowers. 

A monument to the Jewish workers of Schindler's factory has been placed in his former office

'Tin-ware Sarcophagus' - erected opposite Schindler's desk in his spacious private office - is one of several monuments commemorating Jewish workers in the factory turned museum.  

In the face of the Soviet Red Army's advances Schindler relocated, with the blessing of the German authorities, his munitions business and its workforce in the late 1944 to the branch of Gross-Rosen Concentration Camp in Bohemia’s Brunnlitz. About 1,200 Jewish prisoners from Krakow survived there to be liberated by the Soviets on May 8, 1945. In 1993 Steven Spielberg immortalized Schindler’s Factory in his movie ‘Schindler's List’.

From 1948 to 2002 the retooled plant at 4 Lipowa street manufactured parts for telecommunications equipment produced by Krakow’s company Telpod.

In June 2010 the Schindler Factory (Fabryka Schindlera) opened as a branch of the City of Krakow Historical Museum. 

Schindler's Factory in Krakow turned into a museum

Museum in Schindler's Factory in Krakow. 

The historical museum’s facilities of Oskar Schindler’s Factory consists of three parts, namely its permanent show, space set aside for temporary displays, and the screening room. The permanent exhibition of Schindler’s Factory is entitled ‘Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945’ which correctly summarizes its contents. The screening room is meant as the venue for movies, lectures, meetings, and varied cultural or educational activities.

 Krakow's street under the Nazi occupation in Schindler's museum

Krakow's wartime street recreated in Schindler's Factory.  

Accessibility of Oskar Shindler's Factory.

The museum at 4 Lipowa street is situated some three kilometers southeast from Krakow's Old Town historical center, a five minutes' drive barring traffic jams, across Wisla river. The simplest access routes run through Most Kotlarski bridge east of Lipowa and Most Powstancow Slaskich west of it. Also, it isn't easy to find parking in the area. 

The nearest bus stop within walking distance of Schindler's Factory is Krakowska Akademia stop at Herlinga Grudzinskiego street. The closest tram stop is situated at Plac Bohaterow Getta square. 

GPS coordinates of Schindler's Factory are N50 02.840 E19 57.711   

Opening hours of Schindler's Factory and ticket prices. 

Museum in Oscar Schindler’s Factory is open on weekends, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On Mondays it’s open between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. with the exception of the first Monday of every month when the museum stays closed. 

Individual visitors can see Shindler’s Factory free of charge on Mondays (except the first Monday of every month) but entry is limited to a fixed quota for safety reasons. Otherwise a standard ticket costs 15 zloties (PLN) while reduced rate is 13 zloties. A family ticket costs 40 PLN. Guided tours in English – groups of twenty at least – cost 16 zloties per person. Online ticket booking is possible at the website of the City of Krakow Historical Museum: www.mhk.pl 

Contact information for Shindler's Factory.

Postal address of the museum in Schindler's Factory is Fabryka Schindlera, ul. Lipowa 4, 30-702 Krakow, Poland. Phone / fax (+48) 122571017 or 122570095 or 122570096. E-mail: fabrykaschindlera@mhk.pl

Oskar Schindler's Factory constitutes one of the branches of the City of Krakow Historical Museum (Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa) with the headquarters at 35 Rynek Glowny (central square). 


 

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