Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory – the new branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków – is located in the post-industrial Zabłocie district of Kraków, at the administrative building of the former factory of enamelled vessels known as Oskar Schindler’s Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (DEF).

The exhibition, which we can see in the Museum is primarily a story about Kraków and its inhabitants, both Polish and Jewish, during World War Two. "Kraków under Nazi Occupation 1939–1945" is also a story about Nazi Germans – the occupiers who arrived here on 6 September 1939, brutally disrupting Kraków’s centuries-long history of Polish-Jewish relations. The great history of World War Two intersects here with everyday life, and the personal dramas of individual people overlap with the tragedy which affected the whole world. The Oskar Schindler's Enamel Factory we know also from Steven Spileberg's film Schindler's List.

"The narrative created by that team combines documentary photographs, eyewitness accounts, film documentaries and multimedia presentations. All of these elements are put together to make a vivid, chronological vision of the city’s history. The exhibition presents the tragedy of the war both in the individual, and  in the collective dimension, but it also portrays everyday life in the Nazi-occupied Kraków as it is immortalized in ordinary objects, photographs, newspapers, personal and official documents.

The new exhibition has been created with the use of various means that go beyond the framework of traditional museum exhibitions. The designers and creators of its artistic layout – stage designer Michał Urban and theatre director Łukasz Czuj – have given it the character of a theatrical, or cinematic narrative. The theatrical reconstructions of Kraków’s historical city space are juxtaposed with sculptural installations metaphorically embracing the city’s wartime history. The spectator voyeuristically wanders through the city: walking down the cobbled streets, s/he pops in at a photographer’s shop, peeps into an authentic stereoscope which used to belong to a pre-war studio on Szczepańska St, boards a tram to watch a documentary portraying the everyday life of the city which is screened on the tram’s windows, walks through the narrow, labyrinthine streets of the Ghetto to visit a typical Jewish apartment, and then moves to the Płaszów camp, together with the Ghetto residents. Looking though the windows of a hairdresser’s salon s/he watches the Polish underground’s attempt on the life of Wilhelm Koppe. A moment later, looking though the window of a gloomy basement, s/he witnesses a street round-up, and finally, trapped in the fortified city, s/he waits for the Red Army to arrive.
The five key points in the city’s history are marked by the “memory machines” – the stampers which every visitor can use to obtain a commemorative stamp associated with the given historical event. By using the “memory machines” visitors can produce their own, tangible “time documents” which they can take home with them.
The symbolic summary of the exhibition is the “Hall of Choices” – a sculptural installation symbolizing the various ethical dilemmas and attitudes one could encounter during the war.

The motto of this permanent exhibition and of the entire new branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków is “the factory of memory”. The space of remembrance created at the former Enamel Factory offers the visitors an opportunity to confront the past in a personal way."*

Honorary patronage of the exhibition: Ambassador of Israel to Poland Mr. Zvi Rav-Ner, Ambassador of Germany to Poland Mr. Michael H. Gerdts, Consul General of the United States to Poland Mr. Allen Greenberg and Minister of Culture and National Heritage Mr. Bogdan Zdrojewski.

regular 15 PLN
half-price 13 PLN
groups 16 PLN (the charge includes a guide)
schools and pensioners 13 PLN (the charge includes a guide)
family 40 PLN

More informations about the Museum you can find on the the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków website.

*The article is published with the consent and through the kindness the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków.

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