Collections

World War II documents

Collection of our museum contains objects, photographs and documents which provide us with the knowledge about the time of German occupation in Kraków during the years of 1939 - 1945. The most notable are documents related to extermination of cracovian Jews, documents that authenticate the German crimes in Kraków (reports from exhumations made after the War to mass execution places), letters smuggled through to and from prisons on Pomorska and Montelupich streets, published press during the occupation time (German and underground), handouts and announcements of German authorities and collection of so-called "bills of death".
The collection of post cards and letters Poles kept in concentration camps during the WW II has been donated to the museum by Jan Pajak. It contains approximately 800 post cards and letters sent by prisoners of prison and concentration camps, and also correspondence addressed to prisoners of Nazi camps by their families.
The photographs of those days are extremely precious as very few have survived in Kraków's museums and archives. Especially rare are those from the years 1939 - 1945 showing times before and after the War. It is a documentation of the German authorities' actions in Kraków. These photographs show mass executions on Kraków's streets, destruction of Kraków's monuments, life in Jewish ghetto, building of German fortifications in Kraków in last months of the occupation and also Kraków after the liberation by the Soviet Union. The museum photographs illustrate activities of the Central Caring Council which used to take care of thousands of prisoners in camps and prisons including the biggest one in Kraków on Montelupich Street.
Of a special importance are these souvenirs which are related to martyrdom of Kraków society during the War. Usually, these are hand made objects made by the prisoners during they time in prison or a concentration camp. Among those are tiny, inconspicuous things that in fact are personal or family mementos. They are a great source of information for us about this "time of contempt". Here you can find chess made from bread, rosary made from string, a cross, a heart with an anchor made by Adam Wojnar - prisoner from the prison on Montelupich street, a ring with the letter "X" made in prison camp by Jan Michal Fischer for his wife Irena and a napkin with the names of women who were placed in one cell - no. 52 on Montelupich street. Those women were arrested in the summer and autumn of 1941. The napkin was made for the cell commandant - Maria Tomczakowna.
Amongst the collection one can also find a cigarette case made from human skin by Nazi torturers, fragments of destroyed GrunwaldMonument and works of Kraków's artists created just after the war and referring to the times of occupation.

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