History of the camp

The German Nazi camp in Plaszow was established in October 1942, in the area of the Kraków districts known as Podgórze and Wola Duchacka. Work began on the grounds of Jewish cemeteries located in the area. Plaszow was designed as a forced labour camp (Zwangsarbeitslager Plaszow des SS- und Polizeiführers im Distrikt Krakau – ZAL Plaszow) for the Jews from the Kraków Ghetto, which was demolished in March 1943. In 1943–1944 Jews who survived from the ghettos in Bochnia, Tarnów, Wieliczka, Rzeszów, Przemyśl and the concentration camp in Szebnie were also detained here.
In July 1943 the Germans also established an educational labour camp for the Poles in the ZAL. It was used to imprison Kraków citizens and victims of military raids in towns near Kraków. In January 1944 the labour camp was reorganized into a concentration camp (Konzentrationslager Plaszow bei Krakau – KL Plaszow). Also in 1944, it was used as a transit camp for Hungarian Jews transported to KL Auschwitz. From the spring of 1944 KL Plaszow received transports of prisoners from transferred camps in the Lublin and Radom districts. People were then transported from KL Plaszow to other labour and concentration camps. According to estimates, more than 35 thousand people were imprisoned in the camp throughout its operation, and about 6 thousand people were killed here. Most of the prisoners were Jews, imprisoned after the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto, and Jews who hid their identity under ‘Aryan’ documents, sentenced to death during selections at the camp.
At the peak of camp operation (mid-1944), more than 20 thousand people were imprisoned here, and about 200 structures were erected: barracks for prisoners, production facilities, service and camp infrastructure buildings, and houses and apartment blocks for camp staff. The camp occupied an area of about 0.8 sq. km.
The liquidation of KL Plaszow began in August 1944, when the Germans initiated deportations of the prisoners and the evacuation of camp infrastructure (components of the barracks, workshop equipment, etc.). On the 14th of  January 1945 the last group of about 600 prisoners departed on foot for KL Auschwitz. The Red Army occupied the former camp area from the 19th of January to the end of 1945, devastating the site. Following their departure, the site became publicly accessible, and its destruction continued.