Krakow Journals

Kazimierz: Krakow's other Jewel

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An April 2005 trip to Krakow by hagnel2

 Laterines at Birkenau Photo, Krakow, Poland More Photos
Quote: Steven Spielberg catapulted this town to fame when he chose to film Schindlers List here, yet if you take the time to dig deeper, you will find much more than the legacy of a movie.

Kazimierz: Krakow's other Jewel

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Overview

 Laterines at Birkenau Photo, Krakow, Poland
Quote:
From the 13th century to the Holocaust, Krakow/Kazimierz became the main center of Jewish settlement. It was a thriving community, adding greatly to Krakow’s culture and commerce. Throughout the centuries, unrest and resentment caused the Jews to be expelled from Krakow’s center and relocated into a separate district, Kazimierz. At that time, the cities were separated by walls, and the largest Jewish community in Poland resided there. After the war, the Jewish quarter fell into disrepair, and it was an unsafe neighborhood; today it is a thriving center of the arts. Lying between shops selling antiques and bric-a-brac, you’ll find the heart of this community; restored buildings and cellars house ...Read More

Stara Synagoga (Old Synagogue)

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Attraction | "Old Synagogue Museum of Jewish history / culture"

Stara Synagoga (Old Synagogue) Photo, Krakow, Poland
Quote:
Known as the Alte Shul-Stara-Bonica, it is Poland’s oldest synagogue--some date the synagogue to 1407 as the place of worship for men only; however, it was destroyed by fire in 1557 and was rebuilt in 1570s. The synagogue was desecrated by the Nazis, and over a thousand Jewish citizens were murdered here. The Nazis also used the building as a warehouse and fiduciary office, and when they left it, they totally ransacked and destroyed most of the interior. Today it serves as a museum depicting the religious and cultural history of Polish Jews. Its main prayer hall has an impressive original wrought-iron bimah {raised platform where the Torah is read} Jewish liturgical obje...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 16, 2005

Stara Synagoga (Old Synagogue)
Ulica Szeroka, 24
Krakow, Poland 31-053
+48 12 422 0962

Podorgze District

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Story/Tip

Plaque outside pharmacy Photo, Krakow, Poland
Quote:
The most moving reminder of the Jewish legacy of the Podorgoz Ghetto is written on a plaque outside The Pharmacy Of The Eagles. It reads, "Plac Zgody served as the site of mass murder of Krakow Jews in the years 1941-43. It was from here that Jews were transported to concentration camps. From the first days of the Nazi occupation, German authorities continued to restrict the rights of Jews commanding them in 1940 to leave the city of Krakow within 4 months. The 17.000 of those who remained were forced into the Ghetto formed in March 1941 in a part of the district of Podogorze. From the 1st-8th June and on the 28th October 1942 mass displacement of inhabitants of the Ghetto to the deat...Read More

Kazimierz: A Phoenix from the ashes

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Story/Tip

Jarden bookstore restaurant Photo, Krakow, Poland
Quote:
Founded in 1335, Kazimierz was an independent town with its own culture and atmosphere, places of worship, town hall, and market. In those days, the Christian quarter in the western section was separated by a wall, and in 1820, the wall was demolished, and on the whole, the two religions coexisted peacefully. Until WWII, Kazimierz was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe; today, due to the slaughter in the death camps, there are less than 500. It is located on the southern edge of Krakow, just a ten-minute walk from the Rynek. Almost by accident, we found ourselves wandering this ancient ghetto on our first night in the city. Thanks partly to the change in the political system...Read More
Bunks at  Birkenau Photo, Krakow, Poland
Quote:
This pre-war Polish barracks in Oswiecem {German name is Auschwitz} was transformed into a death factory from 1940, until it was liberated by the Russians in 1945. The day was chilly and overcast when we boarded the bus from Krakow. The journey took two hours, and when we arrived, it was drizzling rain, which seemed fitting to us, as if nature itself was weeping for the souls murdered in this place. Brochures refer to this place as a museum, but it is a cemetery--it is a harrowing place, and nothing prepares you for the horror of the residue of lives lost there. We watched a fifteen-minute film on the liberation of the camp and then spent six hours visiting. We did not use a guide, preferring to follo...Read More