Nazi visions of Krakow

2013-10-28
October 28, 2013 6.15 p.m.
Nazi visions of Krakow
A lecture by prof. Jacek Purchla
Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Sławkowska St. 17

In the autumn of 1939, the city of Krakow was elevated to the position of a capital city of the Generalgouvernement by Adolf Hitler. This unwanted status brought about a number of significant changes and had consequences for the creation of a new vision of Kraków’s urban planning. In a manner similar to Berlin, Munich and Nuremberg, as well as Linz after the Anschluss with Austria, Krakow was to be given a new urban touch in grand style which would ultimately turn it into a “model German city”. The plans included, among others, creation of a German administrative district in the Błonia Fields as well as German residential district west of Inwalidów Square. A person summoned to compile a Generalbebaungslan von Krakau was Hubert Ritter, the Leipzig architect and eminent town planner, who had previously succeeded, for example, in planning a residential district Rundling on the outskirts of Leipzig (created in the years 1929-1930). Ritter’s plans concerning Krakow, though existing on paper only, surely deserve our attention as they comprise a very interesting chapter in the history of Krakow urban planning. Present times constantly pose questions about this unwanted heritage of the Third Reich – the heritage that is still present in Krakow, for example in such a major place as Royal Wawel Castle.

Photo: A meeting of Nazi officers in the party headquarters (now The Ravens Room), war period [in:] The Metamorphoses of the Ravens House, Jacek Purchla (ed.), Kraków 2009.
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