January 15: We took a much needed break from Holocaust Death Camps and toured a place that is highlighted in one of Spielberg’s works: Schindler’s Factory. Many people relate Holocaust heroism to the work of Schindler, so I was excited to see the museum’s offerings. Surprisingly, the museum had little to do with Schindler, but more to do with Krakow’s involvement in the war and the Nazi presence within the city. Like the Jewish Museum we saw in Berlin, this facility was deliberately artistic in its layout and required the visitor to draw their own deeper meanings. There were some Schindler-centered exhibits from time to time, but most of it was about the war. I really enjoyed walking into Oskar Schindler’s office and reading “Schindler’s List” incased in a display of the pots that the factory made, but I must say Liam Neeson probably made a more altruistic Oskar Schindler than he was in real life. Still, it was awesome to actually be in the factory.
After we toured the museum, our class continued on to the Kasmierz District, or Krakow’s Jewish District. It is one of the world’s more famous Jewish District. In fact, it sees just about a comparable amount of visitors per year as Auschwitz. This is because the historical value of the synagogues, cemeteries, and living history that is present in the district. I really enjoyed learning more about the Jewish tradition and culture while visiting this district. I even ate at a traditional Jewish restaurant for lunch—delicious! All of these site visits were great and all, but my favorite part of the day was when my class engaged in an impromptu snow ball fight. For many of them, it was their first one ever (those deprived Southerners), and it was great to laugh a group laugh after such an emotional taxing few days. The locals were probably annoyed with us, but it was totally worth the stares.