World War II sites in Poland

Invasion of Poland

There are many World War II sites in Poland. Chamberlain's radio broadcast and declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 at 11 am is one of the most-played radio broadcasts in the history of radio and has featured within numerous films and documentaries. Because of this, most people today are aware that World War II started due to Germany’s invasion of Poland.

World War II devastated most people’s lives, it was a very dark period in history, particularly for Polish citizens who were immensely influenced by the events that took place between 1939 and 1945. Every part of the country was affected by the actions of Nazi Germany and numerous war related sites can still be found in Poland today to bear witness to the many atrocities of WWII that occurred within its borders.

Warsaw Uprising

The most tragic event of World War II was the Holocaust. This was the genocide of the European Jews. During the period 1941 to 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered around six million Jews with many of the mass extermination camps being located in German-occupied Poland including the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The single largest military effort taken by any European resistance movement during World War II happened during the Warsaw Uprising; which was fought for 63 days with little outside support. The Uprising was led by the Polish Resistance Home Army in an attempt to liberate Warsaw from German occupation. If you are ever in Warsaw, a visit to the Rising Museum is highly recommended.

Schindler’s Factory

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Krakow, this factory and its history became famous worldwide thanks to Steven Spielberg’s moving film, “Schindler's List". Oskar Schindler was a German entrepreneur who was credited with saving 1,200 Jews from death by employing them in his enamelled goods factory so they could avoid horrible living conditions and ultimately death in the Nazi labour camps.

Schindler’s Factory is located 2km from the city centre and is set on the site of the former factory. The museum exhibits reconstructions of events, images, newspaper clippings, artefacts and recordings from that tragic time in history. Discover various rooms of the factory, each reconstructed to transport you back in time to help you understand what life was really like. Walk through Oskar Schindler’s former office, view some of his personal items and engage with the interactive displays to be truly immersed.

Explore the permanent exhibition, titled ‘Kraków under Nazi Occupation 1939–1945’ as it tells the story of Krakow during World War Two and its inhabitants, both Polish and Jewish. Learn about life under German rule from 1939 until it was ‘freed’ in 1945 and the imposition of Soviet communist dominance over Poland after the end of World War II – Book tickets

The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex has left its inglorious mark on human history. A symbol of the Holocaust, during its five years of operation over a million Jews, along with Poles, Romani and other groups, were systematically killed by German Occupiers in WWII. Confronting and emotionally charged, a visit to the complex is an essential part of the human experience.

Explore the Jewish heritage in Krakow during this guided tour. See the old synagogues, art galleries and boho cafés in Kazimierz district and hear all about the heroic life of Oscar Schindler.