Podgorze Memorial

Memorial on Ghetto Heroes Square in Podgorze Ghetto, New Year´s Eve 2005/2006

Photo kindly provided by Paul Kubisztal

The Memorial shown in the photo above, which was designed by Krakow architects Piotr Lewicki and Kazimierz Latak, opened on 8 December 2005 in Plac Bohaterów Getta (Ghetto Heroes Square) in the former Podgorze ghetto. The design includes 33 large empty chairs and 37 smaller chairs located on the edge of the square and at the tram stops. The Memorial also includes a mark on the pavement which shows where the walls of the Ghetto were formerly located and a small building where visitors may light candles in honor of the murdered Jews.

The architects named the project Nowy Plac Zgody (New Concordia Square), but nobody calls it that, according to Paul Kubisztal, the photographer who took this dramatic photo. Prior to 1948, this location was called Plac Zgody (Concordia Square), a name that is still sometimes used by the locals.

This square was called the Umschlagplatz by the Nazis; it was the place where the Jews had to assemble before being transported to the Belzec death camp in two separate actions in June 1942 and October 1942. The Podgorze Ghetto was liquidated on March 13, 1943 when the Jews who were able to work were sent to the Plaszow forced labor camp just outside the city of Krakow, and the rest were sent to the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. According to information given by the Auschwitz Museum, March 13, 1943 was the day that the gas chamber in Krema II at Birkenau was first used when 1,492 women, children and elderly Jews from the Podgorze Ghetto were put to death immediately upon arrival and their bodies were burned in the ovens.

Photographer Paul Kubisztal can be contacted at this e-mail address: kubis@inetia.pl

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