Visualizing Krakow, Then and Now: Analog and Digital Methods for Analyzing Architectural Goals in the German Occupation

Saturday, January 5, 2019: 11:15 AM
Price Room (Palmer House Hilton)
Paul Jaskot, Duke University
Anne Kelly Knowles, University of Maine
Justus Hillebrand, University of Maine
As is well known, Krakow became a key location within the National Socialist plan for military expansion and the implementation of genocide in Eastern Europe during World War II. Here Hans Frank and the General Government he led developed their policies of oppression and occupation by establishing a formidable military and SS presence as well as claiming Krakow as “Germanized” again. Yet, while these policies and ideologies have been analyzed by scholars, little attention has been spent on how they were enacted in the built form of Krakow itself. This paper addresses the key urban planning and architectural initiatives meant to “Germanize” Krakow, establish military rule, and also rid the city of its Jewish population. In particular, it will look at an integrated history of the built environment, comparing both the analog visual evidence of Nazi plans, drawings, and photographs with the digital exploration of the importance of victim spaces, above all the Jewish ghetto. The plans for rebuilding Krakow, led by architect Hubert Ritter, were ambitious and followed the goals of rebuilding cities established by Hitler for Nuremberg, Berlin, and elsewhere. So, too, of course, were the goals of concentrating and ultimately murdering the Jewish population of Krakow and the surrounding areas as part of the radicalization of the Holocaust. Spatial visualizations then and now help us to conceptualize these disparate histories together, seeing how the ambitions for establishing Nazi presence complemented and contradicted spatial planning for the Jewish community. This work builds off of the important archival holdings on Ritter but also positions the ghetto within Distrikt Krakau, the administrative unit of which it was a part. Iterative digital mapping of ghettos within the larger district helps to show the dynamic of spatial planning for the ideological and political goals of the Nazi drive east.
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