Located in what was one of the most significant places for the history of the persecution of the Jews of Krakow, the Schindler’s Factory Museum tells the history of the Nazi occupation of Poland in a very engaging way.
Today Schindler’s Factory Museum is one of the main attractions in Krakow, and is one of the best places where you can learn more about the city’s tragic past. Here you can find out many interesting things about life in the Krakow Ghetto and the life story of Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who saved over 1000 Jews from death in concentration camps.
What you will find in this guide to Schindler’s Factory Museum:
- What is Schindler’s Factory in Krakow?
- Who was Oskar Schindler?
- How to visit Schindler’s Factory
- Schindler’s Factory Tickets and Prices
- How to get to Schindler’s Factory
- Schindler’s Factory Opening Hours
What is Schindler’s Factory in Krakow?
Schindler’s Factory in Krakow was made famous by Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List”, and is the original place where the real story happened.
From 1937 to 1944 this was the headquarters of the Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik (Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera, in Polish), a factory of cookware and enameled metal goods, founded by the German industrialist Oskar Schindler.
In 1939 when Nazi Germany occupied Poland, Schindler’s Factory became quite powerful and began producing ammunition for the Nazis. The Polish labor was replaced by the lower-cost Jewish one.
As the war progressed, Schindler’s Factory became a sub-camp of the Kraków-Płaszów Concentration Camp. Schindler had seen the inhuman methods that the Nazis used against the Jews, so he decided to employ as many Jews as possible, in order to save them from death in the concentration camp.
Schindler’s Factory managed to save the Jews even when the Płaszów Concentration Camp was dismantled and the prisoners transferred to Auschwitz.
With the approach of the Red Army in 1944, the factory was closed and the prisoners feared being deported to Auschwitz.
Schindler managed to mediate with some of his Nazi contacts to get “his Jews” to be moved to another concentration camp, in Brunnlitz, Czechoslovakia, where Schindler had moved the factory.
He compiled a list with the names of the Jews he needed, and they were transferred to the new factory instead of being killed in Auschwitz. Thus it was that Oskar Schindler managed to save between 1200 and 1500 Jews.
Schindler’s Factory Museum
By visiting Schindler’s Factory in Krakow you will learn a lot more, not only about the history of Oskar Schindler, but you will be able to see the very interesting permanent exhibition on the German Occupation in Krakow (1939 – 1945) a branch of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków .
Schindler’s Factory is the best museum in Krakow where you can find out more about the Krakow Ghetto, how Jews lived here during the years of the occupation and the atrocities committed by the Nazis.
The museum is very very engaging: each room it was designed to resemble a place in Krakow during the war years: you can see the streets of the ghetto, how the ghetto wall was made, you can take a look at the old shop of a hairdresser, or a typical ghetto apartment. You will also be able to see the replica of one of the underground hiding places where the Jews hid to escape the Nazis.
BOOK A SCHINDLER FACTORY TOUR
(Guided Tour + Skip the Line Ticket)
Who was Oskar Schindler?
Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who had a rather controversial life.
He had a rather rebellious youth, was expelled from school, was arrested several times for drunkenness, repeatedly cheated on his wife and even had illegitimate children.
He was a member of the German Nazi Party (NSDAP) and in 1935 he was recruited into the Abwehr, the Nazi military intelligence service. In this way he was able to make very important friends and contacts in the elite of Nazi Germany.
In 1939 he moved to Krakow and took over the factory at 4 Lipowa Street, which had been producing enameled metal pots since 1937. He bought it for little money from the local Jewish community. In a matter of months he fired Polish workers to hire only cheap Jewish labor.
He used his Nazi friendships to make Schindler’s Factory ever more powerful and to gain control of shops and factories seized from Jews. In 1941 it began producing armaments for the Nazi army.
In 1942 Oskar Schindler saw the brutal roundups of the Krakow Ghetto: people were savagely beaten, humiliated and forcibly taken away to the Kraków-Płaszów concentration camp.
Oskar Schindler was shocked by what he had seen. He therefore decided to exploit his friendship with Amon Göth, commander of the Płaszów concentration camp, to convince him to transfer about 900 Jews to his factory as forced laborers.
In Schindler’s Factory, Jews were treated well, were not threatened with death, and were not beaten. When the Płaszów camp closed, the Nazis began killing all the Jews and moving them to Auschwitz, where they would be killed immediately.
Schindler was once again able to use his friendships to move the factory to Czechoslovakia. He compiled a list with the names of all the people he deemed necessary for the job and therefore needed to be transferred. In this way he managed to save over a thousand people, the so-called Schindlerjuden, Schindler’s Jews.
After the war he fled to Argentina, as he was wanted because he was a member of the Nazi Party. In 1958 he clarified his position with the German authorities and in the following years he was awarded the highest honors in Germany and Israel.
He died in poverty in 1974 and was buried, as per his will, in Israel.
How to visit Schindler’s Factory
There are guided tours to Schindler’s Factory in Krakow, which start in front of the main entrance and last approximately 1.5 hours. During the tour a professional guide will explain you many interesting things about what you see in the museum. There are usually 2 or 3 tours per day, which include the skip-the-line ticket. Book well in advance!
I highly recommend that you visit Schindler’s Factory along with the nearby Płaszów Concentration Camp. The guided tours are led by an expert guide and allow you to learn a lot about the Krakow Ghetto and the years of the Nazi occupation.
Another excellent alternative is this popular and inexpensive combo tour to Schindler’s Factory and Krakow Ghetto, which includes guided tour (available in several languages) and comfortable electric car transport from Krakow’s Old Town.
Definitely not to be missed is the Free Walking Tour of the Krakow Jewish Quarter, which allows you to discover the most hidden gems of the Kazimierz district, visit ancient synagogues and see some of the places where the film Schindler’s List was shot.
☞ Read our guide to the Best Free Tours in Krakow
Schindler’s Factory Tickets and Prices
Guided tours of Schindler’s Factory usually include the entrance ticket.
If you want to visit Schindler’s Factory on your own, you can buy your ticket directly at the counter at the museum entrance. The price of tickets for Schindler’s Factory starts from 26.00 zł and does not include the guide.
Given the museum’s popularity, ticket lines can be quite long. It’s highly advisable to book a skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Schindler’s Factory ticket is free if you have the City Pass Krakow Card, which allows you free entry to 40 museums in Krakow and unlimited bus and tram rides.
On Mondays you can visit Schindler’s Factory for free, but for safety reasons the number of visitors allowed is severely limited. However, you can secure your entry by booking your skip-the-line ticket for just a small fee.
How to get to Schindler’s Factory
Schindler’s Factory is located at 4 Lipowa Street in the Zabłocie district, within walking distance of Kazimierz and Podgórze.
You can get there easily by tram: get off at Bohaterow Getta stop (lines 3, 9, 19, 24, 50). You are in Ghetto Heroes Square, the most important square in the Ghetto. From here to Schindler’s Factory it’s about a 5 minute walk.
Alternatively you can take the tram to Zabłocie (lines 11 and 20). From there it is still about 5 minutes of walking.
Schindler’s Factory Opening Hours
Schindler’s Factory opening hours vary depending on the season and the days of the week.
From April to October the museum is open:
- from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 AM to 8.00 PM
- on Monday from 10.00 AM to 4.00 PM
From November to March the museum is open:
- from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 AM to 6.00 PM
- on Monday from 10.00 AM to 2.00 PM
For more info you can check the official website of the Schindler’s Factory Museum.
BOOK A SCHINDLER FACTORY TOUR
(Guided Tour + Skip the Line Ticket)
Things to see and do around Schindler’s Factory
To learn more about the history of those tragic times, a visit to Auschwitz is highly recommended, which is easily visited on a day trip from Krakow.
Planning your trip to Krakow? Then these will come in handy: