Top 5 hidden treasures in Poland from World War II
Treblinka was a Nazi concentration camp built in a forest North-East of Warsaw. The camp had two parts: Treblinka I was a work camp while Treblinka II, built later, was an extermination camp. Active from July 1942 – October 1943, 700,000-900,000 Jews were killed in Treblinka’s II gas chambers. The camps are now home to a museum that recognizes the horrors that took place and honors those who were killed.
4. Ghetto Wall
When the German Occupation began, the Nazi’s ordered for a walled ghetto to be constructed. The entire Jewish population of Warsaw and its suburbs were forced into the ghetto, combining into a population of 400,000. Living conditions inside the ghetto were appalling, with many individuals dying of starvation and disease. Anyone caught trying to escape was shot on site.
3. Wladyslaw Szpilman hiding place
Wladyslaw Szpilman, the protagonist of the widely known film “The Pianist”, was a Polish musician and composer. In the summer of 1944, Spzilman was hiding from the Nazi’s in an abandoned building in Warsaw after escaping from the ghetto. He was discovered by Captain Wilm Hosenfeld but the pianist’s life was spared when he played “Chopin’s Ballade in G Minor” for the Captain. In 2011, a commemorative plaque was placed on the building where Hosenfeld discovered Szpilman.
2. Schindler’s Factory
Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist and member of the Nazi party, is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 jews during the Holocaust. In 1939, Schindler acquired an enamelware factory in Krakow which employed 1,750 workers, of which 1,000 of whom were Jewish. His connections with the Nazi Party allowed him to keep his workers safe by bribing high-ranking Nazi officials, that saved them from the gas chambers at the death camps. His story has been popularized in the famous Spielberg movie “Schindler’s List”. Today, you can visit the original factory in Krakow where an extensive museum has been installed.
1. The Wolf’s Lair
Serving as one of the most important Nazi Headquarters during the invasion of the Soviet Union, the complex had 200 buildings including shelters, barracks, and 2 airports. Hitler himself spent over 800 days at the Lair with his final departure in Nov 1944. The Wolf’s Lair is located in the Masurian Woods and visitors regularly make a day trip from Warsaw and Gdansk to see the complex.
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