Krakow Ghetto - Plaszow camp is a sorry sight

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Plaszow concentration camp remains an unwanted and polluted space. Empty bottles, plastic bags, cans, tons of paper, even pieces of furniture – all of this can be found every day in Plaszow, the place which is associated with the tragedy of the Krakow Jews in the years of the Second World War.

In 1941 the Nazi Germans founded the concentration camp in the village of Plaszow – in the southern suburbs of Krakow. It was established close to the Krakow ghetto and when the ghetto was ultimately liquidated in 1943, many Jews were transported to Plaszow Concentration Camp. This slave camp – located in the former stone quarry – became particularly infamous for its mass shooting and a cruelty of its commandant. People all over the world first heard about the place due to Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Schindler’s List. A number of scenes were shot in Plaszow – the place where Oskar Schindler’s Jewish workers lived after the liquidation of Krakow’s ghetto.

In spite of generating high publicity, Plaszow Concentration Camp – which is now an empty field with a sole memorial marking where the barracks once stood - remains an unwanted and polluted space. In the last few years it has become particularly popular among the homeless of Krakow who have been living in deplorable conditions in the caves of the former quarry. For some, it is also an area which performs the function of one huge garbage can. The place itself belongs to the Jewish Community of Krakow but the community does not have enough money to build the fences which would make it difficult for the homeless people to enter the former camp. On the other hand, the city of Krakow is not capable of sending adequate number of policemen or guards to patrol the whole area.

One of the American Foundations has already submitted its own project of organizing the space by transforming the whole area into a monument – a 7 meter high replica of the Wailing Wall being at its very centre. But it all depends on the city officials and their willingness to solve the problem of the former camp.

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Source: Radio Polonia 

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