Krakow Gestapo HQ

On September 13, 1939, a week after the Germans seized Krakow, German authorities took over Dom Slaski (Schlesian house) in central Krakow and set up a police headquarters. Initially, it was Einsatzkommando 2, which belonged to the German security forces that placed their activities in the house. However, when the General Government was officially established in november 1939, the command was replaced by Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO) and Sicherheitsdienst (SD) im general government. Einsatzkommando 2 was instead transformed into Krakow’s Gestapo with its headquarters in Dom Slaski. In the basement of the building, prison cells were set up where prisoners were sitting while waiting to be deported or interrogated on floors higher up. Several of the prisoners sentenced to death in Dom Slaski were executed in Nielopomice, south of Krakow, and at an old fort in Krzeslawice, north-east of Krakow. The Germans evacuated Dom Slaski in mid-January 1945 as the Russians approached Krakow. The building was then taken over by the Soviet Security Service NKVD.

Current status: Preserved with museum (2012).

Address: ul. Pomorska 2, 30-039 Krakow.

Get there: Tram.

My comment:

The museum consists of four prison cells, a room that tells about the period of German occupation between 1939 and 1945 and the period between 1945 and 1956 when the NKVD was housed in the house. Other parts of the house consist of other activities. In the prison cells, prisoners have carved in various texts and other things that testify to their situation, which was usually characterized by uncertainty and resignation to an unknown or obvious fate. The museum has been undeservedly overshadowed by other places in Krakow such as Schindler’s factory, Plaszow, the former ghetto and Kazimierz.  Many who visit Krakow to study or are curious about the Second World War probably do not know this museum, which is a shame because it is well worth a visit. The museum is certainly located north of the central square of Krakow while the more famous sites are located south of the square. But the museum can be easily reached either by a walk or by tram.

Follow up in books: Höhne, Heinz: The Order of the Death’s Head: The story of Hitler’s SS (1969).