The Branch of The Historical Museum of the City of Kraków at 2 Pomorska Street in the Silesian House, was founded in 1981 and its primary purpose is to take care of historical places of tortures of many thousands of Poles during World War II - the former detention cells of Gestapo in Krakow. Those cells, kept in the former shape, are a proof of tragic days of German occupation in 1939-1945. However the most important themes of Krakow's history of this period are being presented on the permanent exhibition "People of Kraków in times of terror 1939-1945-1956".
For many years our museum has been researching Kraków's history from the period of the German occupation and Stalin's times. For 2 years the Museum has been collaborating with the Little Poland History Fans Society "Rawelin". The purpose of this collaboration is popularization of the Kraków's history of the times. In November 2006 together we opened the air-raid shelter. [see the report]
The building at 2 Pomorska Street was built between 1931-1936 by the initiative of Western Territories Defense Society. There was both pupils' hostel and a hostel for Silesian youth visiting and studying in Krakow (therefore a name "Silesian House").
From 13th September of 1939 until 17th January of 1945, the building was occupied by German police formations and was the Headquarters of the Security Police and Security Service for the Krakow's District.
After the war, Silesian House was turned over for administration to League of National Defense, which, as the time passed, became the formal owner of the building. Since 1981, it's the only place of national memorial site from the World War II period in Krakow having a museum status.
Cells with prisoners' inscriptions
Between 1939-1945 the Silesian House served as headquarters of Security Police and Security Service for the Krakow's District. The 4th department was the Secret State Police (Geheime Staatspolizei) called Gestapo. In Krakow Gestapo became the main tool for the occupational terror on Polish and Jewish citizens.
Silesian House was during the occupation period a place of torture for thousands Poles and people of other nationalities (the exact number of imprisoned isn't known).
It was here on the 1st and 2nd floor where the people brought from the prison at Montelupich Street were interrogated. However part of the cellars which were turned into cells, were also a detention centre, where the arrested were kept during the interrogations.
Gestapo officers interrogated the prisoners in the most brutal and sadistic way, torturing both physically and psychologically resulting in numerous disables or even deaths.
On the walls of three cells used as detention cells authentic inscriptions dated for years 1943-1945 were saved, left by people arrested and interrogated here. The prisoners were members of all stratums and of different political views, arrested for acts aimed against the occupant and his policy, so called "reconstruction of German-occupied Poland".