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Civilian life in Poland (Krakow) during the WW2.


Alexia 1 | 4
15 Apr 2011 #1
I am looking for any information about what civilian life in Poland, esp. Krakow, was like before and during WW2. I have doggedly searched the internet and can only find information about Warsaw and the "ghetto" in Krakow.

I just have so many questions, and I am trying to find answers. Were there any Poles who escaped and fled somewhere? What was the color of the soldiers' uniforms? What did women wear? Did the culture still celebrate the harvest festival?

Thank you so much if you can help me!
Harry
15 Apr 2011 #2
Were there any Poles who escaped and fled somewhere?

If you're asking questions like that, you can't have done much research at all!
OP Alexia 1 | 4
15 Apr 2011 #3
Harry:
In fact, I have. My eyes are bleeding I've been reading so much. I've looked at pictures even but the quality is so bad that I can't tell colors.

I'm just looking for some help. If you don't want to, that's okay.
Harry
15 Apr 2011 #4
In fact, I have. My eyes are bleeding I've been reading so much.

You've read lots and haven't even noticed the Polish armies which fought in the war after October 1939?!
gumishu 11 | 5,017
15 Apr 2011 #5
i don't know any specific sources about Kraków - i only read excerpts from a book about German occupation in Poland by Richard Lukas (or Lucas) - Forgotten holocaust
OP Alexia 1 | 4
15 Apr 2011 #6
I know the Polish armies fought valiantly even surprising Hitler. My question was about the civilian life.
Leopejo 4 | 120
15 Apr 2011 #7
Polskie drogi happens also in Kraków, doesn't it? ;-)
boletus 30 | 1,366
15 Apr 2011 #8
What was the color of the soldiers' uniforms?

So many questions. I advice you to go some specialized fora: history buffs, reenactment groups, even internet actions, such as eBay, where they sell little items, such as buttons, field caps, etc.

For a start, here is a pointer to a thread about WWII uniforms. You can see there plenty of colors and many details. But watch it and make sure to read the captions - some of them are German or Russian items.

militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?81050-WWII-uniform s-equipment-and-gear
gumishu 11 | 5,017
15 Apr 2011 #9
there were food shortages in the cities during the German occupation - therefore smuggling from the countryside developed (which was banned and persecuted by the Germans) - there was also shortage of coal during colder seasons - at some point Germans started to round up people in the streets of cities and send them to concentration camps or to forced labour to Germany - most cultural and educational institutions have been closed
skibum 8 | 62
15 Apr 2011 #10
Why not pay a visit to the museum 'Krakow under occupation 1939 - 1945' this will answer all your questions and many many more.
Bzibzioh
15 Apr 2011 #11
Were there any Poles who escaped and fled somewhere?

Most famous escapee from Kraków's ghetto was Roman Polański. But there were many others.
poland_
15 Apr 2011 #12
Andrzej Chwalba's book, unlike any of the previous volumes in this series (with the partial exception of the first volume, which opens with Jerzy Wyrozumski's fascinatingly exhaustive ruminations on the origins and shape of Cracow at the dawn of its recorded history), affords the reader that particular pleasure of watching the professional historian unpack and put to use all the tools at his disposal.

In the first place, Chwalba takes a groundbreaking approach to Cracow's multicultural history by dividing the main part of his narrative into four sections titled "Krakau," "Krakiv," "Kroke", and "Krakow"--the German, Ukrainian, Yiddish, and Polish names for Cracow.
Peter KRK
16 Apr 2011 #13
Search the digital archeves (10 000 pohtos and records):
audiovis.nac.gov.pl/search/b75f9cc23c3f9a4df2914d7505bf85a3:1/
Cracow historic maps:
ckmedia.pl/~jankomuzykant/r/0.htm
Photos:
wawel.net/images/myszka/stare.htm
This all is mostly pre-WW2.

Crocow photos from WW2 you should look for on German net.
A very few Poles used to risk their life to keep camera or radio or any electric engine, etc. under German occupation.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
16 Apr 2011 #14
The Polish Army uniform was predominantly an Earth brown colour (though summer uniform and that worn at westerplatte was a pale tan colour), Four pocket with stand and fall high buttoned collor and 7 buttons down the front.

of course,for civilian life in Krakow thats pretty irrelevent .......
What did women wear? Well,not " Polish costume" thats for darn sure :),not the city women anyway,they would be in pretty standard European fashion of the late 30s

Any particular questions i'll be glad to help or point you in the right direction. :)
OP Alexia 1 | 4
17 Apr 2011 #15
Thank you so much.
What I'm trying to understand is if any Poles tried to escape, esp. the women, and if they did what routes did they take? I know that they were hearing tricklings before the 1st of September, and did anyone leave before that?

I am asking very pointed questions, and have only found broad-brushed answers on the internet, because I am writing a book. I have deep Polish roots and this means a lot to me.

Thank you again so much.
Debra
23 Apr 2011 #16
Hi Alexia-

Don't know if you've had a chance to read a memoir published by Aquila Polonica called "The Mermaid and the Messerschmitt" by Rulka Langer. I represent the publisher.

Rulka was a career woman responsible for the welfare of her two small children and elderly mother when the Nazis attacked Warsaw in 1939. She describes what it was like in the days leading up to the invasion and what she did to keep her family safe until she could escape. She created a "Craigslist" for Warsaw, based on her previous experience working at J. Walter Thompson, the international advertising agency.

You can get quite a lot of info on the book -- excerpts, reviews, photos, features and reviews -- at our website AquilaPolonica.com

Good luck!

Debra Gendel
David_18 68 | 982
23 Apr 2011 #17
Here is an interview with Sam Silberberg an Holocaust survivor from Krakow.

Sept. 1, 1939

Artillery shells exploded outside the Silberberg house. The children of the family marveled at them.

"We could hear the whizzing noises of the shells as they passed by us and exploded," said Silberberg. "To us children it was like fireworks, but we didn't realize how dangerous it was until my father told us to get away from the windows."

Silberberg's father ordered a horse and carriage to take the family east to Krakow. They thought the city would be safe.

"The Vistula river runs through the middle of the city and has many historical sites and royal palaces," Silberberg said.

patch.com/california/alisoviejo/surviving-the-holocaust-germany-invades-poland
pawian 161 | 9,971
23 Apr 2011 #18
I am asking very pointed questions,

Nope, you aren`t.

E.g., your question

Were there any Poles who escaped and fled somewhere?

is very ambiguous. What do you mean? Escaped from a district to another disctrict? From the city to another one or countryside? From the occupied territory to another free country? Do you mean Jews or Poles? Do you mean escape from oppression or due to economic reasons?
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
24 Apr 2011 #19
Well,tbh,people fled TO krakow rather than from it. By the time they realised this mistake Krakow was encircled by the Red Army on one side and the Germans (and Slovaks??) on the other.

Krakow had been declared an "open city" ie,one that all sides had agread not to fight over or in so that probably drew in a lot of refugees from the countryside.

(but its late,and im not checking facts here so dont quote me on just how official the open city status was......)
pawian 161 | 9,971
24 Apr 2011 #20
Polskie drogi happens also in Kraków, doesn't it? ;-)

Yes, but not only.

Andrzej Chwalba's book, unlike any of the previous volumes in this series (with the partial exception of the first volume, which opens with Jerzy Wyrozumski's fascinatingly exhaustive ruminations on the origins and shape of Cracow at the dawn of its recorded history), affords the reader that particular pleasure of watching the professional historian unpack and put to use all the tools at his disposal.

Good source. Chwalba seems to be the best expert today.
An interview with him: www3.uj.edu.pl/alma/alma/64/01/02.html

Why not pay a visit to the museum 'Krakow under occupation 1939 - 1945' this will answer all your questions and many many more.

Good advice.

There are two main museum sites:
Former Gestapo building: mhk.pl/oddzialy/ulica_pomorska
Sschindler`s factory: mhk.pl/oddzialy/fabryka_schindlera_wystawa_stala

Also, good source is war memories, scattered all over the Internet:
kedyw.info/wiki/Karolina_Lanckoro%C5%84ska,_Wspomnienia_wojenne_% 28fragmenty%29

kedyw.info/wiki/Jacek_Trznadel,_Film_Andrzeja_Wajdy._Mi%C4%99dzy_ fikcj%C4%85_a_kiczem._fragmenty_dotycz%C4%85ce_okupacyjnego_Krako wa%29

because I am writing a book.

If you want to write a good informative book based solely on the Internet sources, I may say it will be a disaster from historic point of view. You need to know Polish, first of all, to reach Polish literature on the topic which hasn`t been translated so far. Also, you need to speak Polish to reach witnesses of events and run interviews.
SRK85 - | 72
25 Apr 2011 #21
As for Krakow during the war it was sparred from destruction obviously. The Germans claimed that Krakow was an ancient German city. Krakow was the capital of the general government. Hans Frank was the leader of the Nazi imposed government and worked out of Wawel Castle. Although he lived in Przegorzały. The Nazis required everyone to reveal their family history. People of German heritage were given better food rations usually 2000 calories or above, Poles received between 500-1500, and Jews received less than 500. Jagiellonian University was shut down and some of the professors died as a result of Sonderaktion Krakau. The professors who were not sent to death camps set up an underground university to educate their fellow Poles. There is a lot more but instead of writing a long post I will point out the two best sources for information. One is obviously God's Playground 2.amazon.com/Gods-Playground-History-Poland-Present/dp/0231 128193. The second is, bookadvisor.eu/A-history-of-Krak%C3%B3w-for-everyone;s,book,id,38 6. Which has a chapter dedicated to Krakow during Nazi occupation.
OP Alexia 1 | 4
25 Apr 2011 #22
Pawian and Harry...

There are two types of people in the world. There are people who are filled with knowledge and information and want to reach out to people to share with them. People who want to help other people understand, even if they seem ignorant, because getting the knowledge across is important.

And then there are people like you.
gouravgyl 1 | 14
25 Apr 2011 #23
Alexia
not two type many types of people with different faces .. that even u cant imagine .. i dont believe in this
pawian 161 | 9,971
25 Apr 2011 #24
There are two types of people in the world.

Thank you very much. I hope you will do proper historic research and your future book will be a success. Let us know when it is available on Amazon.
frd 7 | 1,399
25 Apr 2011 #25
My grandma was living in Cracov during german occupiation of the city and its liberation by russians. From what she said she and her family got fake work permissions from some AK friends. They were living in a flat along with 3 older sisters, these sisters were building bombs and granades for the AK and at one time there was a wounded AK soldier living with them there. From what I remember about things regarding civilian life, it was all going to work and coming back home, there were constant checks and inspections on the streets... I could probably ask more...
Mateusz_A Ty - | 12
30 Apr 2011 #26
It was hell.. I know my great grandfather told me.. People couldn't speak out truth..Communist tv news.. Poles sent out their own channels, cars drove around intercepting them.. Ghettos..Hell is all I can say.
JonnyM 11 | 2,621
30 Apr 2011 #27
Poland had TV before the war - it was one of the first countries to get it, albeit on a very basic system. As far as I know, it was initially only in Warsaw. TV operated during the war in Germany, and for part of the war in Paris (but in German). I'm not sure about Poland.
isthatu2 4 | 2,704
30 Apr 2011 #28
so ,again,communist TV in german occupied Krakow?wtf has he been smoking? :)

Yes,TV was around pre war in many nations capitols,though I very much doubt some Polish underground group was broadcasting secret tv shows during the war as that guys post implies :)

Radio lightning in Warsaw was set up during the uprising..TV channels,sorry fella, your great grandpas memories are maybe getting lost in your translation :)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
30 Apr 2011 #29
Poles sent out their own channels,

You mean radio no?
GrzegorzKoziol
30 Apr 2011 #30
My grandmother is over 90 years old she was born in Krakow and has lived there all her her life. She has some crazy stories. Typically the germans would come by surprise and suprise poles and do like round ups, so they would go on a saturday or sunday when Poles were out playing soccer or out doing shopping, and they would come with huge trucks and surround the area and round up all the people in the area and process them which meant a number of things, if you were jewish you were put in concentration camp. I can find out more details if you would like. In general Polish people tried to keep their traditions alive but german armies prevented them from living normal life, they had to be cautious of where they went and waht they did, there were curfews and round ups. My grand mother even told me one story where she was being chased by german soldiers when she went shopping for food in downtown krakow and she ran up an apartment building, germans chased her up the building she hid inside bathroom and left her documents and groceries in the bathroom, so she had to go back down and get it or they would know who she was and then she had to jump across one apartment building through a window into other apartment, keep in mind these are several stories high, if she fell it would be hundred feet or more drop, she jumped across and ran down stairs to other apartment which led away from the area where germans were rounding people up and she went back home.

A lot of Polish people would also hide Jews, my grand parents on my Dads side lived in a very small farm town about 1 hour drive away from Krakow and they hid several Jews in thier farm which was passed down of several generations since pre World WAR I, the area they lived was secluded so germans would not come there. When germans came they were more focused on large population centers and cities so they did not have regular patrols in smaller towns and countryside of Poland as they did in main polish cities like Warsaw and Krakow.


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