Schindler’s Factory. Useful information for visitors
What is Schindler’s Factory?
It’s a museum about the Nazi occupation of Krakow, containing an exhibition that shows what happened in the city from 1939 to 1945, the changes that the German occupiers made there, and how the Polish and Jewish citizens suffered during WWII.
What is there to see in Schindler’s Factory?
Opened in 2010, the museum’s exhibition stretches over two floors of the building. Each room has been arranged in a different way and relates to various wartime events of the city and its inhabitants. The tour starts with a journey back into the past, taking in a photo salon, the streets of Krakow, a university lecture room, an officers’ room lined with tiles in a swastika pattern, a prison cell, an old wartime tram and train station, Krakow’s Jewish ghetto areas, a room that resembles the Plaszow concentration camp, and many other places.
On the second floor of the museum are the original offices used by Oskar Schindler and his secretary. Both rooms are open to the public.
Schindler’s Factory Museum is full of photos taken during the war, screens playing recorded interviews and short films showing various wartime events and the fate of the victims of the war. It also houses many other exhibits, such as a tankette, military uniforms, weapons, enamelware objects, and more besides.
All information about the exhibition, including the captions for the photos and exhibits, is in both Polish and English.
History and interesting facts about Schindler’s Factory
The factory was established in 1937 by three Jewish businessmen: Michał Gutman, Izrael Kohn and Wolf Glajtman. Initially called Rekord, it was the first factory producing enamelware dishes and tin products in the Malopolska region. When World War II broke out, the factory was taken over by Oskar Schindler, an Abwehr agent and member of the Nazi Party, who in 1941 became its owner and renamed it as the German Enamel Factory (in German: Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik). Thereafter, the factory produced not only enamelware but also Wehrmacht canteens and fuses for artillery shells in order to survive financially.
During World War II, all the Jews aged over 12 in Krakow were forced to work for free. Even though Schindler initially hired mostly Poles, the number of Jewish workers gradually increased over time. Unlike most German entrepreneurs, Oskar Schindler employed not only strong young men, but also children and women. It often happened that whole families worked in his factory, and Schindler would say that they were all essential workers. The people working in the factory were treated very well, always with respect by their employer, and they also received better food rations compared to other workplaces. It was often said that Schindler had created a safe haven for Jews in his factory. When the Germans began to liquidate the prisons and camps in 1944 due to the approaching Eastern Front, Schindler decided to save his workers by evacuating them to another factory situated in Brünnlitz (in the present day Czech Republic). It was then that the famous Schindler’s list (a personal transport list) was created that included about 1,200 names. To be able to organise the transport, Schindler had to use the contacts he had made among higher-ranking Germans and bribe many of them. It was thanks to his determination that 1,200 Jews were liberated by the Soviets in the spring of 1945. Oskar and his wife, fearing arrest, decided to escape. After the war, however, they kept in touch with their Jewish friends and he would often visit them even though he lived in Germany. Oskar Schindler died from health problems in 1978 (aged 68). It was his final wish to be buried close to his friends and, as he requested, he was buried in the Catholic cemetery on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured that way.
In 1993, the State of Israel named both Oskar Schindler and his wife Emilie Righteous Among the Nations to underline their active role in saving Jews during the Holocaust.
The movie Schindler’s List has a memorable scene at the end when Schindler’s Jews (as the people he rescued are called) line up to visit his grave.
After the war, during the years 1948-2002, the buildings of the former factory were used by the Telecommunications Components Manufacturing Plant (TELPOD). Many of the factory buildings were changed during that time but, fortunately, the characteristic entrance gate and the façade of the administrative building are still the same. In 2007, the city of Krakow decided to convert all the factory buildings into two different museums. The exhibition of Schindler’s Factory Museum (which opened in 2010) is located in the former administrative building, while its production buildings house the Museum of Contemporary Art (called MOCAK).
Where is Schindler’s Factory situated?
The museum is situated at 4 Lipowa Street in the district of Zabłocie (see map). The building where the exhibition is situated was originally the administrative building of the German Enamel Factory (in German: Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik, DEF)run by Oskar Schindler during WWII.
How to get to Schindler’s Factory?
You can get there on foot (address: 4 Lipowa Street), by tram or by car/taxi.
- from the Main Square it’s a 30-minute walk (distance: 2.5 km) along Starowiślna Street.
- from Wawel Castle, across the Vistula River, it takes about 40 minutes (distance: 3.2 km).
- from the Jewish Quarter (Plac Nowy), it’s a 20-minute walk.
You can take any tram that stops at the following places ↓
The timetable and names of the stops can be found at each tram stop. Remember to buy and validate your ticket! You can buy a ticket on most trams, using a special ticket machine which also has a menu in English.
- Plac Bohaterów Getta tram stop
(if you go from Wawel Castle, the Main Square and the Jewish Quarter area)
- Zabłocie tram stop
(if you go from the bus and train station)
Access by car is possible. There is no dedicated car park, but you should be able to find a spot on the surrounding streets. Remember that there are pay-and-display parking zones in Krakow from Monday to Saturday. Once you have parked, you should buy a parking ticket and leave it in a visible place to avoid being fined.
You can also rent a Melex car and listen to interesting facts about the places you pass during your tour to Schindler’s Factory.
Is the museum adapted for people with disabilities?
Yes. Even though the exhibition covers two floors of the building, there is an elevator suitable for people with disabilities. Moreover, in the event of an emergency, there are museum staff on hand who can provide information and assistance to all visitors.
Can I take photographs in the museum?
Yes, but without using the flash. There is no charge for taking photos in the Schindler’s Factory Museum.
Is Schindler’s Factory suitable for children to visit?
It is recommended that visitors to the museum should be at least 14 years of age due to the subject matter contained in the exhibition.
How long does it take to visit the entire museum?
It takes approximately 90 minutes to visit the museum if you buy a ticket for a guided tour.
The duration of an individual visit (without a guide) may vary, but we suggest at least 1 hour is needed to look around the whole museum.
Normal ticket: PLN 26
Student ticket: PLN 22
Days when the museum is closed: 25.12, 26.12, 01.01, Easter Sunday
More information about tickets, opening hours muzeumkrakowa.pl
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