Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum - History and Facts | History Hit

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum

Krakow, Poland

Lily Johnson

10 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum

Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory in Krakow was once a lifeline to many Jewish workers under intense persecution during the Nazi Occupation of Poland. Today the factory houses a branch of the City of Krakow Historical Museum that focuses on the city’s experience in World War Two, and allows visitors to explore history where it actually happened.

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum history

Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist and owner of an enamelware factory in Krakow during the Nazi Occupation of Poland.

He was himself a member of the Nazi Party, and had previously worked as a spy for them, however after witnessing the atrocities of the Holocaust began bribing SS members with money and black market items to keep his Jewish workers safe. Of his 1,750 workers, one thousand were Jews whose employment in the war effort prevented them from being exported to concentration camps.

In 1944, the SS began closing down their easternmost concentration camps and deporting the prisoners westward, killing many at Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen. They planned to close down all factories not directly involved in the war effort – including Schindler’s – and likely take any Jewish employees prisoner.

Schindler convinced SS commander Amon Göth to allow him to relocate his factory to Brünnlitz in the Sudentenland however, saving around 1,200 Jews from certain death in the gas chambers. By the end of the war, Schindler had spent his entire life savings on bribes to save the lives of his workers, who became known as the Schindlerjuden. Following the war, they in turn would come to repay his kindness both monetarily and emotionally.

Following Stephen Spielberg’s award-winning 1993 film Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler, his enamel factory, and the Schindlerjuden became globally renown.

Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum today

Today Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory houses the Schindler’s Factory Museum, and the Krakow under Nazi Occupation 1939-1945 exhibition. A vast collection of objects, photographs, videos and documents detail the lives of Krakow’s wartime inhabitants, the fate of the Polish Jews, and the underground resistance growing during the war. 

Guided tours take up to 2 hours, or visitors are also free to enter at their own leisure after purchasing a ticket. Entry is free on Mondays. Another section of the factory also houses the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow, one of the city’s newest tourist attractions.

Getting to Oskar Schindler’s Factory Museum

Oskar Schindler’s factory is situated a 30-minute walk from the Main Square travelling Southeast of the Old Town and Kazimierz. The Krakow Zabłocie train and bus station is a 5-minute walk away, and the nearest tram stop is Zabłocie, a 6-minute walk away.