While I was exploring Krakow with a friend, we came across a square that had a number of chairs in it. These chairs were permanent fixtures, but we didn’t know what they represented until my friend looked it up in her guide book. Then, I did some of my own research. As it turns out, we had stumbled across The Empty Chairs Memorial which symbolises an important part of Krakow’s history.
During World War II, the Jews had no choice but to live in a specific place that was identified by the German authorities at the time. So, in 1941, the Podgorze district of Krakow was closed off and used as a Jewish ghetto. It must have been a terrible place to live because they lived in fear of their and their families’ lives, they lived in overcrowded conditions with four families to one flat, and those that didn’t starve to death were either murdered or sent to a concentration camp.
The above photograph is of seventy bronze chairs scattered around Plac Bohaterow Getta which used to be Plac Zgody. The chairs represent loss and absence as the ghetto in Krakow was cleared and all the residents’ possessions were strewn across the streets.
If you are in the Podgorze area visiting the Jewish ghetto or headed for Schindler’s Factory, it is likely that you will walk past or close to the square. If you do, it’d be worth taking a bit of time to see the memorial.
Have your say
Have you been to the Podgorze area of Krakow? If so, did you see this memorial?