Kazimierz Jewish District

Written by  //  11 February 2013  //  Krakow Tourism  //  Comments Off

Kazimierz was in medieval times an independent town adjacent to Krakow. Now it is the most visited district of Krakow, famous for its Jewish heritage. It was founded by King Casimir the Great, who named it after himself.
It is one of the most culturally significant Jewish areas in the world. They lived here since the city’s foundation, but their number increased in 1495, when the Jews were expelled from Krakow and forced to settle here. They had their own quarter, separated from the rest by a wall. Kazimierz became then a mixture of Christian and Jewish culture. Thanks to privileges granted by the king, it developed very fast into the second after Krakow most important city in Malopolska.
In 1791 Kazimierz was incorporated into Krakow and around 30 years later the separating wall was pull down.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Kazimierz was a predominantly Jewish district with a rich cultural life. Most of Jews were exterminated by the Nazis during their regime. Only around 10% of Jews from Krakow survived Holocaust, many of them saved by Oscar Schindler.
After the war, during the communist rule, Kazimierz was neglected by the government. The anti-Zionist policy caused mass emigration of the Jews. The district’s renewal began after the fall of communism.
One of the most important factors in this process was Steven Spielberg’s film, ‘Schindler’s List’, which was filmed here. It generated great interest in the area.
Now Kazimierz is a very vibrant area with Jewish chracter. The Jewish Culture Festival takes place here every year and attracts thousands of visitors. Apart from being an artistic district of Krakow with lots of bars and cafeterias, it also has an impressive historical value.
With its charming streets, unique atmosphere, synagogues and museums, as well as its caf├ęs, bars and art galleries, the Jewish district of Kazimierz is a place that anyone who comes to Krakow must visit.