Poland Day Eleven: Krakow: Kazimierz and Schindler’s Factory: Good, Evil And The Horrors Of Hate
Sorry for the delay in my blog posts about my recent trip to Poland but I had some technical problems with some photo galleries. I think I figured it out now . In my last blog post, we were entering our van for the short ride to the Kazimierz district of Krakow.
I visited this district one week earlier when I first arrived in Krakow and here is a link to a blog post from that visit. http://wp.me/p5GeDV-jPl.. This time I learned so much more from our guide Ada. Like my previous visit, it was raining when we left the van, but that wasn’t stopping us.
We first visited a Jewish community center where a woman my sister and niece befriended on their flight to Krakow worked. . It was a pleasant, and appropriate visit since the Kazimierz district is once again regaining it’s Jewish culture which it had for over 500 years prior to the horrors that occurred in the Nazi occupation of World War II.
It still has some butcher shops inside but is more famous for the small shops that serve zapiekank, a pizza like sandwich. A fellow who just purchased one was kind enough to allow me to take a photograph.
We made our way to the Remuh Synagogue built in 1557 and still active. Unfortunately it was closed for the Passover. We made our was to Old Synagogue, built in the mid 1500’s and which now houses a museum.
We then walked through the surrounding neighborhood, where many of the well preserved old building now house restaurants specializing in Jewish food. I hope to visit again on a sunny day and enjoy a meal in one of the outdoor tables.
We stopped at a memorial to the many residents who lost their lives during the occupation. We would learn more about them at our next stop. We again boarded our van for the short ride to Schindler’s factory. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Kazimierz. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Eleven-Krakow-Kazimierz-Jewish-section-April-18-2017We crossed the Vistula into the Podgorze district of Krakow , a large portion of which was turned into a Jewish ghetto by the NAZI’s during the occupation of World War II. We drove past Plac Bohaterow Getta square and the memorial of large bronze chairs commemorating the many Jewish residents who died in the ghetto.
We soon were at the factory made famous by both the man, and the movie about him, Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist. He was famous for his heroic efforts to save his Jewish workers at his enamelware factory from sure death in the Nazi concentration camps by bribing Nazi officials.
” The persecution of Jews in occupied Poland meant that we could see horror emerging gradually in many ways. In 1939, they were forced to wear Jewish stars, and people were herded and shut up into ghettos. Then, in the years ’41 and ’42 there was plenty of public evidence of pure sadism. With people behaving like pigs, I felt the Jews were being destroyed. I had to help them. There was no choice” Oskar Schindler Interview at Am Hauptbahn No. 4 in Frankfurt Am Main, West Germany (1964)
“I hated the brutality, the sadism, and the insanity of Nazism . I just couldn’t stand by and see people destroyed. I did what I could, what I had to do, what my conscience told me I must do. That’s all there is to it. Really, nothing more.” Oskar Schindler.
The museum depicts the lives of both the Jewish residents of Kazimierz and the Polish residents of Krakow before and after the German Nazi occupation and how the occupation so horribly changed their lives.
And, later many were transferred to the concentration camps and their deaths. Here is a link to some more photographs I took in the museum. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Poland-Day-Eleven-Krakow-Schindler-Factory-
The museum had some original furnishings in the office used by Schindler and some information on his life. He was honored by the 1200 Jewish workers after his death and was buried with honor in Israel.
I learned there were many residents of Krakow, and Poland who, in the spite of the horrors of the Nazis, stood up and saved many Jewish people who would have perished in the death camps they created.We would be visiting one of them the next day.
How anyone with any soul or empathy for their fellow human beings could allow such hatred to exist is a question we must still ask ourselves today. As I type I am watching the news of yet another terrorist attack in Manchester . This hate for our fellow humans on this small planet we share has to start somewhere it and must be nipped in it’s bud, wherever it starts to grow.
I don’t have time to reflect much here, on my blog, since it is such a difficult problem. I think it can best be said in the words and lyrics from this song by Peter, Paul and Mary “…. when will they ever learn” Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to Schindler’s factory. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/poland-photographs-april-2017/nggallery/poland-april-2017/Factory-part-two-
Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world. Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5; Yerushalmi Talmud 4:9, Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 37a.