Thursday, April 9, 2015
Oscar Schindler factory now a museum
The story popularized by the film Schindler's List becomes the framework for narrating the story of Krakow under the German occupation. All that remain of the original factory are the entrance gate, the original lobby's arrangement, various bits of machinery, and Oscar Schindler's original office with a plaster map of Europe with German geographical names.
The museum was laid out starting with life in Cracow in the prewar years. Through the use of original photos and film of family and street life as well as sound and light effects we experienced the life of the city. We listened to the sounds, walked down cobbled streets, commuted in an historic tram, peeped into a period apartment, visited a photographer's shop, cafe and hair salon. It gave the city an element of realism. The video recordings in which Krakow's residents recount their personal life stories and the multimedia presentation left you in no doubt as to the terror of life at that time. It showed how the Jews were moved first to a ghetto and then to the even worse Plaszow Concentration Camp.
In late 1944, in the face of the Soviet Red Army's advances Schindler convinced the German authorities to let him locate his munitions business and its workforce to a 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.