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Krzysztofory. Zeszyty Naukowe Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Krakowa no. 38

Do feel invited to view the contents of issue 38. You can download full-text articles after purchasing access to them in web shop of the Museum of Kraków

Monika Bednarek , The Script for the Commemoration at the KL Plaszow Memorial Site – Presentation of Project Assumptions

Information about the author: historian, curator, the Director’s plenipotentiary for management, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Abstract: The paper discusses the concept behind the commemoration of the area of the former Nazi German concentration camp Plaszow in Kraków. It presents the process of creating the architectural design by the company Grupa Projektowa Proxima sp. z o.o., and the reasons for its later modification. The author summarizes the main assumptions of the new script for the commemoration which was prepared in 2018 at the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków (presently renamed the Museum of Kraków). The script contains the descriptions of all the elements of the commemoration complex, i.e. the postcamp area including the relics of Jewish cemeteries, execution sites and mass graves; the Grey House (a building protected by conservation area policy); the administration building of the cemetery established by the Jewish Community which was used as the administration building of the camp during the war; the Memorial Building – the main exhibition building, and the Education Centre. The paper also contains key information about the assumptions of the permanent exhibitions at the Memorial House and the Grey House, as well as the concept of the KL Plaszow Sound Monument. The character of the presentation of project assumptions of the commemoration at KL Plaszow is mainly informative, and its purpose is to spread awareness of KL Plaszow and keep the memory of the victims alive.

Keywords: concentration camp, KL Plaszow, museum, memorial site, Holocaust, commemoration, post-camp area

Kamil Karski, Archaeology of Excess. A Summary of the Outcomes of Archaeological Research Conducted in the Plaszow Camp in the Years 2016–2019

Information about the author: archaeologist, collections manager, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Abstract: During the work on the script for the commemoration of KL Plaszow in the years 2016–2019 an archaeological reconnaissance of the post-camp area was carried out. The aim of this paper is to present a summary of the outcomes of that project, and to reflect more broadly on research in the 20th century. The author describes the work conducted in the area of the former Plaszow Camp as a study of archaeology of excess, which is connected with the necessity to clearly specify the field of research in a precise way, and to set it in a wider academic and social context. These deliberations were initiated by Andrzej Brzozowski’s documentary film Archeologia produced in 1967 during pioneer archaeological research conducted at the former concentration camp in Auschwitz. The paper discusses the problems with constructing a coherent definition of archaeology specifically dedicated to researching 20th-century relics, as well as its connections with what is referred to as ‘difficult heritage’ and the social understanding thereof. The next part presents the key assumptions of the project in question, and a base of historical sources on KL Plaszow. The author then proceeds to describe all the phases of research, including documentary and inventorial works, field prospection with the use of geophysical survey methods, surface survey, and archaeological excavations. The last part of the paper outlines the analysis of movable artefacts obtained in the course of the project. The remarks presented by the author, apart from classical references to an archaeologist’s craft and work, are complemented by observations made from the perspective of a museologist. This discussion is further continued in the final part of the paper which focuses on the issue of the materiality of archaeological sources and their meaning.

Keywords: archaeology of contemporary past, archaeology of the present, difficult heritage, memorial sites, KL Plaszow

Kamil Karski*, Aleksander Schwarz**, Jewish Cemeteries in Podgórze. An Outline of Research Issues

Information about the author*: archaeologist, collections manager, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Information about the author**: an expert in Jewish law on cemeteries and burials, Rabbinical Commission for Jewish Cemeteries in Poland,

Abstract: During World War II most of Jewish cemeteries in Poland were destroyed. This was also the case of the two Kraków necropoles located in the Podgórze district, namely the ‘old’ cemetery on Jerozolimska Street which had been established by the Jews of Podgórze in 1887, and the ‘new’ cemetery on Abrahama Street, founded on the initiative of the Jewish Community in Kraków and opened in 1932. In the years 1942–1945 a Nazi forced labour camp, later transformed into a concentration camp – KL Plaszow – existed on the site of the abovementioned two necropoles. The history of these cemeteries has not been the subject of a monographic study so far, therefore, the aim of this paper is to present the most important findings on the history, spatial changes, and the state of preservation of the necropoles. The paper draws on source material, such as firsthand accounts, visual material in the form of photographs (traditional and aerial), drawings, plans, maps, and historical documents. On the basis of these sources, the history of the cemeteries’ functioning is divided into three major stages whose descriptions are reflected in the structure of the paper. The first part of the article discusses the prewar period. The authors reconstruct the process of the ‘old’ cemetery’s expansion and describe the buildings that existed at that time. They also analyse documents concerning burials (the book of the dead). Materials pertaining to the ‘new’ cemetery, especially the details of the investment process are also examined here. Special attention is paid to the three-dimensional reconstructions of the pre-burial hall. The next part discusses the wartime period, featuring such events as the closing down of the ‘old’ cemetery, the devastation of both of the necropoles, and the mass executions. In this section, the authors analyse the spatial changes taking place during the construction of camp barracks on cemetery grounds, and the purposeful devastation of the cemeteries. The last part shows the endeavour to preserve the cemetery grounds as an area of exceptional cultural significance, as well as the attempts to protect them and have them inscribed into the idea of commemoration; current inventorial and archaeological research is also described in this section. In the conclusion the authors present the perspective of necessary works and possibilities for further research.

Keywords: Judaism, World War II, Jewish cemeteries, Podgórze, KL Plaszow

Kamil Karski*, Robert Kulig** , The Grey House in the Context of Interdisciplinary Research

Information about the author*: archaeologist, collections manager, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Information about the author**: head of Department of Administration and Investment, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Abstract: A subject that was many a time raised during the work on the script for the commemoration of KL Plaszow camp is the experience of emptiness. Few traces of the past survive within the post-camp space, and these include numerous land transformations, architectural relics of Jewish cemeteries and camp buildings, as well as remnants of camp infrastructure. The only exception is the one building that survives intact within the area of commemoration, namely the Grey House. The goal of this paper is to present the architectural and functional transformations of that building, reconstructed on the basis of the research conducted during the work on the said script. The text as a whole has also been enriched by reflections on the role of the Grey House as part of the Museum-Memorial Site KL Plaszow.
The paper is divided into two parts. The first part chronologically discusses the building’s functional transformations and its architectural changes. To reach that goal, the authors used the outcomes of preliminary source research, including visual material, such as plans, photographs, and drawings. These were complemented by an analysis of witnesses’ accounts and postwar documents. On the basis of this information, the building’s history was divided into three stages, according to the functions it performed. The first stage began with the building’s construction as part of the new Jewish cemetery complex established in Podgórze by the Jewish Community in Kraków. The building was designed by Adolf Siódmak (1879–1944). Its original function was to house the cemetery’s administration offices and the living quarters of its staff members, as well as the seat of the Chevra Kadisha burial society.
It was probably already during the preliminary works on the construction of the camp that some alterations of the house itself were carried out: the attic was adapted by the addition of dormers, and the loggias on the western side were bricked up. In September 1943 a remand prison was set up in the basement of the Grey House. The basement contained general cells, as well as standing cells (bunkers, Pol. stójki, Ger. Stehenbunker). The jail was used for the detention of camp inmates to whom regulatory punishments were applied, as well as persons who were brought to the camp from the outside, including those awaiting execution.
Once the area had been taken over by the Soviet army, the Grey House once again started to be used for purposes similar to its former function during the existence of the camp, and it also served as an internal prison. At the end of the 1940s, the beginning of the 1950s the building was converted into living quarters. In that period the interiors and the basement were partially altered, and balconies were added above the main entrance (these were removed after 2010). The house was used as a residential building until 2017.
The second part of the paper discusses the outcomes of documentary and inventorial works, architectural, conservation and archaeological research conducted in the Grey House and its immediate vicinity from 2017 onward. Here, the building’s authentic remains, its form and relics are presented. Further on, the authors discuss the methods and results of inventorial works which focused on documenting the notices, drawings and inscriptions that survive in the former jail cells in the building. In the conclusion the authors write about the assumptions pertaining to the function of the Grey House building as part of the planned commemoration project. The paper is supplemented by an appendix containing a table which presents the outcomes of documentary research conducted in the basement of the former jail.

Keywords: architecture, Podgórze, Jewish cemeteries, KL Plaszow, Grey House

Sebastian Różycki, Drawing up a Metric Map of the Nazi German Forced Labour and Concentration Camp Plaszow with the Use of Archival Aerial Photographs and Witness Accounts

Information about the author: PhD, Department of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems, Faculty of Geodesy and Cartography, Warsaw University of Technology,

Abstract: After over seventy years that have passed since the end of World War II traces of labour and concentration camps across Europe have disappeared. Some of these camps have been commemorated, others, however, have surrendered to secondary succession by plant communities, or else undergone building development. The traces of many wartime camps have been lost forever. In such cases, what survives is only archival material, such as plans, maps, aerial photographs, or the memories of the survivors. The present paper discusses the process of drawing up a metric map of the Nazi German forced labour and concentration camp Plaszow, and the spatial-temporal analyses with the use of archival aerial photographs and witness accounts. The metric maps and the outcomes of the analyses obtained in the course of research enable us to map out specific zones in the post-camp area that ought to be protected and preserved in future, which should facilitate the planned commemoration of the camp.

Keywords: concentration camp, forced labour camp, Plaszow, archival aerial photographs, witness accounts, camp topography, the Holocaust, interpretation of aerial photographs

Marta Śmietana, Photographs from KL Plaszow

Information about the author: cultural anthropologist, promotion and education specialist, Museum – Memorial Site of KL Plaszow in Kraków. German Nazi Labour and Concentration Camp (1942–1945) (in organization),

Abstract: The paper is a pioneer attempt to systematize knowledge about the photographs that were taken in the years 1942–1943 in the Nazi German forced labour and concentration camp in Plaszow. The author ventures to address the following questions: How many pictures were taken in the Plaszow camp during its existence? Who were the authors of the photographs? In which collections can these photographs be found today, and how did they reach the archives of their current administrators? Research methodology employed in the study was the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the surviving photographic material. Preliminary research was conducted in person, as well as remotely, and focused on the resources of a number of institutions, private collections, online sources and video material. The author analysed archival documents and publications connected with the subject of the study, as well as used information obtained in the course of interviews conducted especially for that purpose. As a result of the research process, the following information has been obtained: as of 2020, 249 photographs taken in the ZAL and KL Plaszow camp survive. The objects are located mainly in the collections of six administrators, namely the Institute of National Remembrance, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, the Jewish Historical Institute, the Ghetto Fighters’ House, and Monika Hertwig (the daughter of the camp’s commandant). On the basis of the sources presently accessible it was assumed that the authors of the photographs could have been at least five different persons: Rajmund Titsch, Amon Göth, Ruth Kalder, and at least two members of camp personnel (an SS man and a Wachmann, or guard). The processes of obtaining the historical photographs by each of their present administrators have also been traced. The paper comprehensively organizes present-day knowledge about the photographs taken in the ZAL and KL Plaszow camp. It also shows the directions for further research in this area.

Keywords: forced labour camp, concentration camp, Plaszow, photography, negative, collection, archive, author, donator, administrator, signing

Alicja Jarkowska, Selected Forms of Collaboration in the Plaszow Camp. Characterization of the Phenomenon.

Information about the author: PhD, historian, Institute of History of the Jagiellonian University,

Abstract: The paper discusses selected forms of collaboration that took place in the Nazi German camp in Plaszow. It comprises a theory part and a research part. In the former section the author outlines the current state of research, analyses terminology, and interprets such concepts as collaboration and betrayal, while taking into consideration the categories and contexts thereof. The latter section presents the histories of persons who were suspected of collaborating with the Nazi occupants in the camp, not only by their fellow inmates, but also by the resistance, and then discusses the judiciary of Poland in the post-war period. The charge of collaboration was mostly levelled against prisoner functionaries, e.g. kapos, barrack wardens, and room leaders, as well as persons who were generally believed, rightly or allegedly, to be informers or finks. To make her point, the author focuses on the attitudes and behaviour represented by selected inmates, especially those whose cases were brought for prosecution in the Special Criminal Court and the Regional Court in Kraków after the war. The verdicts ending such trials ranged from acquittal to capital punishment.

Keywords: KL Plaszow, collaboration, World War II, concentration camps, betrayal, prisoner functionaries, the Holocaust

Michał Wachuła, Testimonies of the Prisoners of the Kabel Factory Collected by the Regional Jewish Historical Commission in Kraków in the Context of the Methodology of Documenting the Holocaust in the Years 1944–1949

Information about the author: PhD, literary scholar, AccenturePoland,

Abstract: Starting off by outlining the beginnings of the historiography of the Holocaust in the second half of the 1940s, I present the fate of the Jewish historical commissions in the context of the activity of Polish institutions documenting the Holocaust after the war. I recount the history of the Central Jewish Historical Commission, focus on one of its most active departments – the Regional Jewish Historical Commission in Kraków – and then proceed to define the characteristics of the function of the minutes secretary working for that institution, and to present the methodology used in the research conducted by the regional commission’s collectors. In the analytical part of the paper I make references to the testimonies of the prisoners of the sub-camp of KL Plaszow established at the Kraków Cable Factory (Kabel); I briefly unfold the story of this place, seldom discussed even today, and on the basis of the said witness accounts I reflect on the formal limits of a testimony, focusing mainly on its specificity. In the conclusion of my study I identify the research problems faced by historical commissions’ staff members shortly after the war, and also point to the difficulties of working with this kind of testimonies.

Keywords: historiography of the Holocaust, Central Jewish Historical Commission, collector of the Jewish historical commission, minutes secretary of the Jewish historical commission, documentation of the Holocaust, witness account, historical testimony, Kraków Cable Factory (Kabel)

Hubert Kaszyński*, Olga Maciejewska**, Julia Pawlikowska***, On Axiological Education in the Former KL Plaszow

Information about the author*: PhD, DSc, Associate Professor, sociologist, Institute of Sociology of the Jagiellonian University; President of the Institute of Social Therapy and Education – Association,

Information about the author**: MA, sociologist, Instituteof Sociology of the Jagiellonian University; Vice President of the Institute of Social Therapy and Education – Association,

Information about the author***: MA, sociologist, Institute of Social Therapy and Education – Association,

Abstract: The aim of the paper is to present the project of axiological education carried out on the site of the former forced labour and concentration camp in Plaszow. The significance of these educational activities lies in the idea of gaining knowledge about the difficult local history of the Holocaust through confrontation with the physical space of the former camp and the relics of the past. Axiological education not only stimulates historical awareness of totalitarian crimes and kindles the memory thereof in the social and moral dimensions, but also, which seems to be most crucial, it represents an approach that supports man’s personal development.

Keywords: axiological education, memory, difficult heritage, KL Plaszow

Elzbieta Cajzer, On the Museological Aspects and the Consequences of Conducting Archaeological Research in Post-Camp Sites –Technical, Ethical, and Social Aspects

Information about the author: archeologist, manager of culture, Head of the Collections Department, The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświęcim,

Abstract: Archaeology practised in memorial sites located in the areas of former Nazi German death and concentration camps has become the subject of widespread discussion. By now, archaeology has brought its methodology into the realm of contemporary times for good. How do we conduct research in locations where the history of millions of victims is still alive? What museological consequences do all the archaeological excavations have there? What about the bulk finds we obtain? The present article presents some topical issues that are currently the subject of debate among archaeologists, historians, museologists, as well as representatives of various religious communities.
The problem of conducting earthworks in post-camp areas is a complex one. While considering the necessity of working in the soil, we have to bear in mind the social and ethical dimension of our decisions. Moving around a place which is at the same time a cemetery and a symbol involves an enormous load of responsibility, and requires a clear-cut definition of the scope and method of the potential intervention. Preserving authenticity, a truly priceless value in the context of the last surviving witnesses of the horrific historical events passing away, should become the absolute priority. Finding the golden mean, the perfect balance between what (and in what form) to preserve, and the necessity to carry out current protection measures (which, after all, do require intervention) poses a huge challenge. Cooperative effort to develop appropriate models of operation for martyrological institutions seems to be the only legitimate direction, and, perhaps, thanks to dialogue, in future we will be able to create a canon of norms which will help us to preserve authenticity and simultaneously to take action that requires support from archaeologists.

Keywords: archaeology of the Holocaust, museology, martyrological monuments, protection, ethics, excavations, concentration camp

Katarzyna Kocik, KL Plaszow – between History and Politics of Memory

Information about the author: historian, senior assistant curator at the Eagle Pharmacy, a branch of the Museum of Kraków,

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to trace the different narratives through which the history of the KL Plaszow was represented in Polish wartime underground press, in specialist academic literature, in popular science publications, and in the postwar Kraków press. The timespan of the publications discussed in the paper stretches from 1943 to 2016. False information about the history of ZAL/KL Plaszow appeared in all kinds of texts for many years. There was a diversity of false data about the number of people murdered there, the nationality of the victims, and the function of the camp. Even the location of the camp was sometimes incorrect. Some of the false accounts were fabricated already during the war by the underground press, and then copied in the later period. Others were very strongly connected with the new trends in historical writing, greatly influenced by the historical politics practised during the era of the Polish People’s Republic. A presentation of the narratives built around this place from the end of World War II until the present day will enable us to determine what kind of knowledge about the camp was available, and may also help us to explain the origin of some of the false convictions. Discussing this aspect of the history of ZAL/KL Plaszow will also give us a better understanding of the postwar dilemmas associated with commemorating the site of the former camp, and the genesis of the various memorials located within its boundaries.

Keywords: World War II, the KL Plaszow, concentration camps, forced labour camps, the Holocaust, Jews in Kraków, commemoration, postwar history, academic literature, the press

Jörg Skriebeleit, Relics, disputes over interpretation and creating meanings. The former KL Flossenbürg: an exemplary (post-)history

Information about the author: PhD, historian, Director of the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Memorial, Founding Director of the Zentrum Erinnerungskultur der Universität Regensburg (Center for Memory Studies at the University Regensburg),

Abstract: For decades, the name Flossenbürg was emblematic of empty spaces that remained after forgotten concentration camps, like the name Plaszow. This happened in spite of efforts made by a group of displaced persons of Polish origin who immediately after World War II designed and established one of the first memorial sites in the area of a former concentration camp.
The study describes a complex process of remembrance, fading into oblivion and restoration of memory of the Flossenbürg concentration camp. The discussion focuses on the roles played by various groups of people and entities involved in that reception process: former prisoners and their associations, financial contributors to the memorial project with their respective national and cultural perspectives, state institutions pursuing their historical policies, and last but not least – citizens of the Flossenbürg municipality.
The site remembrance history, both representative, typical and special, is used as a background to (self-)critically consider and explain the principles and priorities but also problems of the process of restoring memory and developing a new concept of the European memorial site Flossenbürg that has already continued for 25 years with a major contribution made by the author. That new concept is not meant as a master plan for those who preserve relics of former concentration camps and their history over post-war decades. It represents a convincing example of preserving memory, based on reflection and deep experience and understood as a continual process wherein spaces and relics of former concentration camps are de_ned as “never _nished” memorials.

Keywords: concentration camp, memorial site, museum, commemoration, Holocaust, KZ-Gedenkstätte Flossenbürg

Roma Sendyka, reGrounded Memory

Information about the author: Polish literature and cultural studies scholar, Associate Professor, the Anthropology of Literature and Cultural Studies Department, Faculty of Polish Studies, Jagiellonian University,

Abstract: The paper is a proposition to comprehend postcamp areas, especially those which have not undergone musealisation, as complex communities – human and nonhuman. The help nowadays o_ered by environmental discourses, be it post-anthropocentric or new materialist, allows us to take a new perspective on the post-violence area (described as a ‘post-camp-site’, following the terminology coined by Jacek Leociak). Social memory which today is shaped around places that are marked by a traumatic past can liberate itself from the idea of political and ethnic identity, and therefore also from the inevitable politicization. The term ‘reGrounding’, borrowed from the dictionary of philosophy of matter, enables the grassroots exploration of the meaning of a given area on its own, ‘fieldwork’ terms, non-subordinate to the power of teleological narratives, whereas the category of an ‘cocommunity of memory’ derived from the work of anthropologist Eunice Blavascunas, emphasises the fundamental connection of the acts of remembering with the only seemingly nonhistorical experience of nature. The main hypothesis formulated in this paper is contained in the supposition that perhaps ‘reGrounded’ memory enables a realistic, modest, grassroots and possibly the least politicized formation of a response to genocidal past.

Keywords: sites of memory, post-camp sites, campscapes, ecocommunity of memory

Melania Tutak, A Local Museum – the Third Place?

Information about the author: theatrologist, Polish literature scholar, urban activist, senior assistant curator at the Museum of Podgórze, a branch of the Museum of Kraków,

Abstract: Civilizational changes, including the social ones, necessitate changes in our thinking about contemporary museology. The vector of this change has been oriented towards locality, identity, and participation understood as engaged involvement. One of the methods of realizing this form of operation of museums may be the sociological concept of the third place developed by Ray Oldenburg. Its assumptions, combined with socially engaged museum work experience, have led the authoress of the paper to associate the concept of the third place with the tasks set to all museums, not only the local ones, by the contemporary recipient – a participant, a creator, and a narrator. The paper is an attempt to analyse this correlated theory as a tool for creating a new space for the meeting of the museum’s world with the world of the recipient, using the examples of several (mostly local) selected museums. I try to show how great the potential this theory holds really is, how many ways there are to successfully put it into practice, and also what risks and threats this theory entails. For the Podgórze Museum in Kraków, as well as many other museums in this part of Europe, the assumptions of the concept of the third place seem like a journey into the unknown, full of adventures, challenges, and uncertainties.

Keywords: Podgórze, museum, the third place, museology, participation, relation, neighbourhood

Jacek Salwiński, The Chronicle of Activity of the Museum of Kraków in 2019

Information about the author: historian, Curator at the Museum of Kraków, Deputy Director for Programme Policy at the Museum of Kraków,

Keyword: 120th anniversary of the Museum of Kraków, przeMieszczanie [transCracovians], Jestem Kraków [I amKraków], Nowa Huta Museum, museum education, leisure activities, museum branch festival, Krzysztofory

Wacław Passowicz- Józef Mazurkiewicz, MA (1940–2020): A Posthumous Tribute

Information about the author: historian, retired Deputy Scientific Director of the Museum of Kraków, https://orcid. org/0000-0002-0036-8986

Wacław Passowicz - Stanisław Piwowarski, MA (1944–2020): A Posthumous Tribute

Information about the author: historian, retired Deputy Scientific Director of the Museum of Kraków, https://orcid. org/0000-0002-0036-8986