Do you love watching black and white war epics with a run time of over three hours or do you just love watching this one? Schindler’s List is an exercise in concentration (in my opinion) and a testament to how good a filmmaker Steven Spielberg is. He approached the project like a documentary, so no wonder the Schindler’s List locations are so authentic and true-to-life.
Schindler’s List (1993) is an Academy Award-winning biopic set in WWII. Liam Neeson plays Oskar Schindler, a factory owner focused on making a profit from the war. He hires Jewish workers for business reasons then saves their lives to keep his factory in operation. He realises how many innocent lives he has the power to save and makes an enemy out of Ralph Fiennes’s Amon Göth, the commander of a nearby labour camp.
Making Schindler’s List was a deeply personal experience for Spielberg, made even more personal by shooting on location in Kraków, Poland. While it is not a wanderlust-inspiring film by any stretch, the Schindler’s List filming locations are so historic and absolutely fascinating. So, this guide details where all of the film settings are in the Polish city.
Where Was Schindler’s List Filmed?
Schindler’s List Filming Locations in Kraków, Poland
1. Kasina Wielka Train Station
Schindler’s List‘s very first scene takes place inside a home and depicts a Jewish ceremony. Shabbat, I think? My apologies, I’m not Jewish so you’ll have to forgive my ignorance! But the first Schindler’s List filming location is a deserted train station where a steam train pulls in. As you can see from the sign on the building, this is Kasina Wielka Station which is 41km south of Kraków. It isn’t a current working train station and it’s unlikely it was in the 1990s when they shot Schinder’s List. I think it still exists, though I’m not sure precisely where.
2. Kraków Główny Train Station
The location swiftly morphs into the far busier Kraków Główny Station where the SS are crowding Polish Jews into the city. I imagine the station is largely modernized. But I also have no doubt that Spielberg found the only part of the station untouched by technological advancements or set-dressed a section for this scene. He only built one set for this entire film, and this isn’t it (though we’ll get there later!).
Oskar escorts his wife back to this train station, and the same platform, later in the film.
3. St Mary’s Basilica, Kraków
Where are the Schindler’s List film locations of the party where Schindler schmooze with the Nazis? Where he finds and attempts to make a deal with Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley)? No idea. But the interiors of the church where the Jewish people who sell and swap things on the black market meet? It’s only the most famous church in all of Kraków, the gorgeous St Mary’s Basilica. The film treats us to shots of the astonishingly decorative alter with the man of the hour himself, Jesus Christ, dangled between the pillars.
It’s a must-see if you are visiting Kraków.
4. Józef Piłsudski Bridge, Kraków
The next Schindler’s List film location after Schindler makes a deal in the church is the Józef Piłsudski Bridge in Kraków. The Nazis herd Jews across this bridge with all their worldly belongings towards the Kazimierz neighbourhood which is the historic Jewish quarter of the city. This location appears in the film exactly how I would expect it to because the direction they are walking makes geographical sense. But apparently, it was a necessity due to the modern buildings on one side of the river.
5. Floriana Straszewskiego 8, Kraków
After Nazi officers callously kick a Jewish family out of their home, Oskar Schindler strides up to his new abode and takes their place. Both the exteriors and interiors are at Floriana Straszewskiego 8 in Kraków. This residence is, unbelievably and famously, where the real Oskar Schindler lived. If you are unsure about which door N.8 is, it’s the one next to N.6 (which has actual numbers on it) framed with a stone shelf above with two curved, erm, decorative bits on either side.
6. Na Przejściu, Kraków
Itzhak Stern and some older Jewish gentlemen (who I presume are rich) walk down the street named Na Przejściu towards Dajwór which is just off Jewish Square. Speilberg must’ve added the huge stone gates with “Judenviertel” written on them because they don’t exist anymore. The Jewish Square is the beating heart of Jewish culture in Kraków and is still home to the Old Synagogue and a great piece of street art named Plac Bawół.
7. Szeroka, Kraków
When Stern tells the people in the Jewish Ghetto about the benefits of working for Oskar Schindler, they are standing on Szeroka near Jewish Square in Kraków. You can see the memorial gate in the background next to Popper Synagogue. This is where many exterior crowd scenes (including where Goldberg’s friends make fun of him for being a Jewish Policeman) take place and is a prolific Schindler’s List location.
My research says this specific location stands in as the Zgoda Square Ghetto which no longer looks as it did in the 1940s. The Nazis return here under Amon Göth’s command to clear the ghettos and take the Jewish people to the camps later in the film.
8. Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory, Lipowa 4, Kraków
With Stern’s help (well, Stern doing 99% of the work), Schindler secures his Jewish investors, his enamel factory, and his cheap Jewish workers. The exterior for his factory is, once again, the real Oskar Schindler’s Enamel Factory at Lipowa 4 in Kraków. It is now a fully renovated WWII museum featuring reconstructions of Schindler’s administrative office. This explains why it would be impossible to shoot the interiors in the same location.
9. OFNE EMALIA OLKUSZ S.A., Oklusz
The interior location of Schindler’s factory is another enamel factory elsewhere in Poland, OFNE EMALIA OLKUSZ S.A. (as styled on Google Maps) in Olkusz. I’m sure it is either abandoned or looks nothing like it did 30 years ago and you probably cannot visit it either.
10. Jerozolimska, Kraków
Enter Amon Göth, the commander of the Kraków-Płaszów labour camp. After driving through the ghetto (Szeroka), his officers take him to the camp and show him his new “villa” as they call it. This is the only set that Spielberg built for the film as, naturally, the house doesn’t exist anymore. He built the temporary set on Jerozolimska in Kraków, very close to where Amon Göth’s real house stood, and still stands, today. It’s now known as the Red House and its address is Wiktora Heltmana 22.
Someone bought the Red House and renovated it recently, so it’s a far cry from how it looked in the 1940s. But still, I really don’t know how you can live in a home knowing the director of a labour camp also lived there.
11. Józefa 12, Kraków
With the camp up and running, the inevitable happens and Göth starts taking the Jewish people from the ghettos. A family hides their prized possessions by stuffing jewellery in bread and some aren’t even so lucky as to make it 10 metres from their front door. Nazi officers burst into a rundown apartment building where all the doors look out over a courtyard. This location is Józefa 12 in Kraków which you can reach from Beera Meiselsa. It is helpfully named Schindler’s List Passage on Google Maps so you will be able to locate it easily.
You can clearly see the staircase and archway where the little boy helps the Jewish mother hide from the Nazis.
12. Ciemna, Kraków
Young Poldeck, the man whom Oskar Schindler meets in the church, attempts to escape the clearing of the ghetto with his life by hiding in sewers. Unfortunately, he runs into Amon Göth but manages to cheat death. The altercation occurs on Ciemna in Kraków, a cute little cobbled side street in the Jewish Quarter.
13. Krakus Mound Quarry, Kraków
Next door to where the real Kraków-Płaszów camp was, overlooked by Amon Göth’s villa, is where Spielberg built the set for the camp in the film. He built it on Krakus Mound Quarry, which is next to Krakus Mound in Kraków. We see it briefly when Göth first enters the film, but once he clears the ghetto you can see much more of it in the latter half of the film. Once you know they used a quarry as a location, you notice that the camp does look like it’s sitting at the bottom of a crater.
14. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Oświęcim
All of the Schindler’s List locations on this list so far featured in the first 90 minutes of the film. The rest of the two hours mostly takes place at the Kraków-Płaszów camp, Schindler’s house and Göth’s house. But Schindler manages to bribe Göth into letting him build his own “labour camp” which is really just another factory in his home country of Czechoslovakia. This is, of course, a front so he can save hundreds of workers.
The train transporting the men to the new camp arrives safely, but the train carrying the women and children mistakenly ends up at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp instead. Spielberg actually did shoot briefly at the memorial, but only in the entrance part. Some people were upset at the prospect of a Hollywood film shooting there, but he was far from the first. Triumph of the Spirit (1989) with Willen Dafoe is one American film that springs to mind.
Schindler’s labor camp is Brünnlitz. Today, the camp still exists but it is in ruin. Spielberg shot these scenes in Niepolomice, a town only a few miles east of Kraków. Where exactly? Unfortunately, I cannot locate the exact factory.
Schindler’s List Filming Locations in Jerusalem
16. Roman Catholic Franciscan Cemetery, Mount Zion
We all know what happened next. The Nazis surrendered and the allied forces liberated the Jewish people, including the Schindler Jews. At the very end of the film, the actors and the surviving Schindler Jews line up to put a stone on the grave of Oskar Schindler. He is buried in the Roman Catholic Franciscan Cemetery in Mount Zion, Jerusalem. This isn’t a Polish location but I just had to include it on this list! So authentic and so moving.
And those are all the top Schindler’s List locations in Poland! Have you watched the movie or visited the filming locations? Let me know in the comments below!
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