Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
[The Occupied Nations]
The Ghetto which was established here covered the area enclosed within a few streets around Zgody Square and included 320 buildings. It was an area between the Vistula River, Podgorski Square, the Krzemionki hills and the Krakow - Plaszow railway line.
Two significant “Aktions” aimed at deporting the Jews of Cracow took place on the 1-8 June and 27 –28 October 1942. As a result 11,000 Jews from Cracow were sent to the death camp at Belzec. Not one person survived these deportations.
Zgody Square was the main place for the deportation of Cracow’s Jews – the “Umschlagplatz”.
Here all those who were refused the right to stay in the Ghetto were gathered in the square. All who did not have a stamp in their job cards to confirm employment in a German company were brought here during a deportation Aktion in 1942.
As the crowd filled the square horse-drawn wagons came and from the balcony above the Eagle Pharmacy Gestapo men took photographs which were to serve as evidence that the resettlement was being performed in a “humane” manner. After taking the photographs the Jews were brutally chased off the wagons, with much shouting and beatings, and the wagon drivers were dismissed.
The crowd was escorted to the railway station in Prokocim and sent in a transport to the Belzec death camp.
On 4 June 1942 a formation of Security Police(SIPO) and squads of Special Service (Sonderdienst) took positions along the buildings surrounding Zgody Square. Across the square facing the pharmacy the “navy –blue” police was stationed. Behind the Germans in front of the pharmacy groups of young people from the Building Service (Baudienst) were installed.
At the outlet of a dead-end street – 3 Zgody Square which led to the Infectious Diseases Hospital, ten people from the medical service – physicians, nurses and assistants with stretchers – were ordered by the Germans to help those who had fainted or were sick. The Germans shot into the crowd, whilst doctors and nurses tried to help those wounded, by transporting them to the hospital in Jozefinska Street.
One of the eyewitnesses recalls these events:
“They move forwards like shadows, rushed kicked and beaten. Others run in groups or individually – some others seem to be going mad…… they are surrounded by German policemen, each with a gun. All this happens with constant shouting and merciless beating…. Many fall dead- there are many wounded.
The Ghetto resounds with shots. Firing guns in the hands of soldiers, the officers have revolvers, pokers, sticks or canes…… the Germans are shooting like crazy at anyone at reach, whoever they choose.
From a house across the street at Number 2, the Germans escort two old people approaching their seventies, one is blind, another lame. The blind man is wearing distinctions from World War One. The Germans begin tormenting them.
The lame man falls first, then the blind ….. “Schnell, Schnell” They were finished off with bullets and whips. What an unimaginable sadism.
A lorry, opposite the pharmacy, on which objects robbed from the Jews during personal searches – valuables, rings, cigarette cases and watches.
Deportees were formed into a column and rushed past the pharmacy to Lwowska Street. Survivors remember this day as “Bloody Thursday”, 7000 Jews were deported to Belzec death camp.
Deportations on 27 and 28 October 1942 were organised in a similar manner. The Aktion covered the whole Ghetto, approximately 4500 Jews were deported from the Plaszow railway station to Belzec death camp.
The last selection in Zgody Square took place during the liquidation of the Ghetto – on the 14 March 1943 units of the Ukrainian Auxillary Police, also known as “Blacks” and navy-blue police drove the residents of Ghetto “B” to the square. The residents thus assembled.
Approximately 3,000 Jewish people were killed during this action. Some of them were loaded into lorries and sent to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. This was the only transport from the Cracow Ghetto to Auschwitz.
The Cracow Ghetto 1941 – 1943 – Anna Pioro
The Krakow Ghetto and the Plaszow Camp Remembered Malvina Graf Univ Pr of Florida 1989
Cameron Munro (Eagle Pharmacy photo)
Copyright H.E.A.R.T 2007