Kazimierz Streets & Alleys

Street in Kazimierz, the old Jewish quarter

Kazimierz remained a completely separate town, outside of Old Town Krakow, until 1791 when it was incorporated into the city of Krakow by the Austro-Hungarian occupation government. Jews from England, France, Italy, Spain and Bohemia, who were being persecuted and expelled, had flocked to Poland for over 400 years, and Kazimierz had become a prosperous town. The Jewish district in eastern Kazimierz eventually expanded into the western Christian section, until in 1818 the wall between the two sections was torn down and the Jews were no longer required to live in a ghetto.

During the German occupation of Poland, 3,000 Jews living in Kazimierz were forced to move into a ghetto set up in the Podgorze district across the river Vistula. The Nazis chose Podgorze, according to the tour guide, because it had a high bluff overlooking it from which they could watch the activity in the ghetto. Kazimierz was used by Stephen Spielberg as the location for filming scenes of the Podgorze ghetto in Schindler's List.

The photograph below shows one of the old buildings in Kazimierz, which a television film crew was using for a background when I visited in 1998. I had read in several travel guidebooks about tourists being accosted by Polish alcoholics on the streets of Kazimierz, and sure enough, a belligerent drunk appeared and shouted at this film crew and the tourists who were watching.

Polish TV station filming in Kazimierz in Oct. 1998

The photos below show the narrow streets, alleys and courtyards of Kazimierz, which have been left just the way they were before World War II. Only the writing on the wall on the left indicates that this photo was taken in modern times.

Alley between old buildings in Kazimierz

Narrow cobble stone street in Kazimierz

Apartment in narrow alley behind ul. Szeroka

Courtyard in Jewish quarter of Kazimierz

Old Jewish Market in Kazimierz

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