Krakow under the Regimes


1 comment   |   Poland

I took a free walking tour entitled Krakow under the Regimes with Krakow Explorers. I learnt a lot.

Krakow was declared an open city and was occupied on September 6, 1939, just 5 days after Poland was invaded. It survived the war relatively unscathed.

German HQ



This building was the German Headquarters during the occupation from 1939 until 1945. The Germans added the top floor.






Great Ukraine Famine

Poland and Ukraine have had a mixed relationship over the years. Ukraine formed part of Poland for many years and a large part of Ukraine was incorporated int Polish territory when the country was re-established after WWI. They are not what one would describe as great friends. Whilst not part of the period of regime, this is interesting. This is a monument to the great Ukrainian famine of 1932/33. Some scholars believe that the famine was planned by Joseph Stalin to eliminate a Ukrainian independence movement. Up to 12 million Ukrainians died. During the war, Ukrainians willingly aided and abetted the Germans. They saw them as liberators, removing the Russian yolk. Ukrainians were responsible for some of the worst atrocities committed in the war.

Franciscan Church

God the Father

This church dates from the late 13th century. Unfortunately it was burnt down during the Swedish invasion of 1655, and the church was completely rebuilt. Another catastrophe in its history was the great fire of Kraków in July 1850 when the entire interior yielded to the flames. Reconstruction and conservation work continued until 1912 by which time the interior had received its new décor. The interior is the real fascination. The polychrome murals of the chancel and transept were painted by Stanisaw Wyspiaski, and those in the nave – by Tadeusz Popiel.

Museum of Archaeology

Museum of Archaelogy



This building, once a prison now contains an insight into the earliest history of Malopolska (the Krakow region). It was used by the gestapo.

Saints Peter and Paul Church

Sts Peter and Paul Church



It was built between 1597–1619 by Giovanni Maria Bernardoni who perfected the original design of Józef Britius. It is the biggest of the historic Churches of Kraków in terms of seating capacity. It was funded by the King Sigismund III Vasa (Zygmunt III) for the Jesuit order.

Katyn massacre

Katyn Massacre
Note the skeletons

This was a series of mass executions of Polish military officers and intelligentsia carried out by the Soviet Union, specifically the in April and May 1940. The Soviets blamed the Germans but never totally successfully. An investigation conducted by the office of the Prosecutors General of the Soviet Union (1990–1991) and the Russian Federation (1991–2004) confirmed Soviet responsibility for the massacres but refused to classify this action as a war crime or as an act of mass murder. The investigation was closed on the grounds the perpetrators were dead, and since the Russian government would not classify the dead as victims of the Great Purge, formal posthumous rehabilitation was deemed inapplicable. In November 2010, the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for ordering the massacre.

Narcyz Wiatr

Narcyz Wiatr
Includes the Home Army anchor

Narcyz Wiatr (nom-de-guerre “Zawoja” and “Wadysaw Brzoza”) (September 19, 1907 – April 21, 1945) was a Polish political activist, member of the agrarian Polish People’s Party , a prisoner at the Bereza Kartuska prison and during World War II a leader of Peasants’ Battalions an anti-Nazi underground resistance movement, with the rank of colonel. Narcyz Wiatr was murdered in Planty by members of the Mylenice communist secret police. At the time it was claimed that Wiatr had been killed by “unknown perpetrators” and no investigation into his murder was conducted. In 1990 the Krakow office of the Institute of National Remembrance, charged with investigating historical crimes by Nazis and communists in Poland, began an official investigation into his death. In 1996, Stanisaw Parya, who had been an agent of the Krakow communist secret police in 1945 and participated in the shooting during which Wiatr was killed, was charged with murder.

  1. Trev07-21-19

    Doesn’t pay to be educated, a poet, politically active when a War is on! Think I would have joined the underground resistance, if I lived there during WW2.