Kraków had a thriving Jewish community for centuries before the Nazi occupation began in 1939. Over 50,000 Polish Jews lived in the city by the time the war began. This population was decimated by the twin goals of the Nazi state of Kraków had a thriving Jewish community for centuries before the Nazi occupation began in 1939. Over 50,000 Polish Jews lived in the city by the time the war began. This population was decimated by the twin goals of the Nazi state of genocide and the mobilization of Jewish forced labor for the war economy. This site shows exploratory work that has attempted to understand the importance of space and the built environment for Jewish experience during the Holocaust as well as the inclusion of Jewish forced labor as part of the construction economy so crucial to the Nazi elite and military drive. It particular highlights our attempts to think about the enforced ghettoization of Polish Jewish led to different understandings and manipulations of the built environment.
Kraków Ghetto (1939-1943)
Mapping the Ghetto and Nazi Occupation
A Historical GIS of Nazi Ghettos
This analysis of the intersecting history of Nazi-era building plans and Jewish spatial experience in Krakow developed as a subset of the collaborative project of the Historical GIS of the Nazi Ghetto System. Led by head PI Anne Kelly Knowles (and co-PIs Paul Jaskot and Anika Walke), this has been a multiyear project that has featured the construction of a major database of spatial information on Holocaust Ghettos as well as exploratory digital analysis of testimonies and other sources. From this project, we have developed at Duke a series of preliminary draft maps that highlight some of the potential for this research. For the broader context of the Historical GIS of Nazi Ghettos and the collaborative of which it is a part, see the Holocaust Geographies Collaborate website.