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The Pharmacy under the Eagle: Plac Bohaterów Getta 18 (Heroes of the Ghetto)

The Pharmacy was run by Tadeusz Pankiewicz and although his story isn't as well known as that of Oscar Schindler he, like Schindler, was honoured by the Israeli Holocaust Memorial authority Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations. 

When the Germans gave the order to establish a ghetto in the Podgorze district of Krakow, every Pole was told to leave the area.  Even though he was offered other Jewish owned pharmacies in the city, Pankiewicz, the non-Jewish owner of the Eagle Pharmacy, decided to stay.

For the inhabitants of the ghetto the pharmacy became a place to get medical help, a trusted location to meet and exchange information, and a place to hide. For many it provided a brief spell of normality away from the harsh realities of the ghetto.

Pankiewicz and his staff helped people in the ghetto in a variety of ways; for example, they provided sedatives for children who were being hidden from the German soldiers and hair dye for the older people of the ghetto. This more "youthful" look enabled them to avoid deportation to the death camps. In the last tragic days of the ghetto, Pankiewicz and his staff were on hand to distribute medicines and dressings amongst the population of the ghetto.

When the War ended Pankiewicz continued to work at the pharmacy until 1953.  He died on 5 November 1993.

The pharmacy closed in 1967 and its interior was damaged when the building was converted into a restaurant.  Thankfully, in 1983 the pharmacy became a branch of the Krakow Historical Museum, and attempts were made to make good the damage. Financial help has also been forthcoming, both Roman Polanski, in 2002, and Steven Spielberg, in 2004, have made donations to the museum.

The pharmacy now holds a permanent exhibition dedicated to showing the annihilation of Krakow's Jews by the Germans and the role that Pankiewicz's pharmacy had in the ghetto.  Anyone who visits the pharmacy will also see a display depicting the type of interior that would have been present during the war.

Using a mixture of archive sources, the exhibition depicts life in the Plaszow camp, the resettlement of the Jews and the ultimate liquidation of the ghetto.  There are also two archive films, one taken in 1939 before the outbreak of War called "Jewish life in Cracow" and another which shows the resettlement of the Jews, "Removal to the Cracow Ghetto", which was filmed for the purposes of German propaganda.

Finally, there is a multimedia section in English and Polish.  This contains an electronic visitors' book, a history of the pharmacy, a biography of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, and historical archives containing both pictures and documents from the war time period.

The museum is a truly absorbing visit for anyone wishing to know not only about Pankiewicz, but also to find out more about the reality of life for Jews during the war.  It is easily reached on foot (it's about a twenty minute walk from Kazimierz) or by tram - tram stop Plac Bohaterów Getta.

Opening times & prices:

Winter season from  2nd November until 30th March Summer season
from May until October
Ticket prices
Monday 10.00-14.00
Free of charge
Monday 10.00 - 14.00 Free of charge Normal: 4 PLN

Students: 3 PLN

Group ticket for schools: 3 PLN per personFamily ticket: 8 PLNAudio-Guide: 10 PLNGuide: 40 PLN per group + entry ticketPhotography: 10 PLN
Tuesday 9.00 - 16.00 - closed  on every 1st Tuesday of the month Tuesday 9.30 - 17.00
Wednesday 9.00 - 16.00 Wednesday 9.30 - 17.00
Thursday 9.00 - 16.00 Thursday 9.30 - 17.00
Friday 10.00 - 17.00 Friday 9.30 - 17.00
Saturday 9.00 - 16.00 Saturday 9.30 - 17.00
Sunday - closed Sunday - closed

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