Liban Quarry HistoryThe limestone company 'Liban and Ehrenpreis,' run by two well-known Jewish industrial families from Podgórze, established a quarry here in 1873. By the end of the 19th century a complex of buildings was established within the quarry and a railway line laid as the families enjoyed an excellent reputation locally and abroad. However, during Nazi occupation, Liban was set-up as a cruel penal camp where 800 young Poles were kept prisoner from 1942 to 1944 performing forced labour. A small, discreet and currently inaccessible memorial for 21 inmates executed during the liquidation of the camp lies beyond the fence towards the ul. Za Torem (northern) end of the site.
In 1993 Steven Spielberg used Liban as the set of all the scenes from Schindler's List that take place in the Płaszów concentration camp. Not wanting to use the nearby site of the camp itself out of respect, it must have taken little imagination on his part to settle upon Liban. During filming 34 barracks and watchtowers were set-up around the quarry, and though most of the set was subsequently removed, some traces remain confusingly mixed with the genuine historical leftovers from the war, making it unclear just how uncomfortable you should feel as you walk amongst the rusty machinery and many gallows-like fence posts - some still strung with barbed wire. Certainly, the most disturbing sight is the central pathway paved with Jewish headstones, which we can put you at ease by assuring you is not genuine.
Visiting Liban QuarryAn incredibly evocative, yet peaceful and beautiful site, Liban still allows you to explore Kraków's World War II history on your own terms, interpreting it as you like without the hand-holding of history books or tourist bureaus. It is possible to walk around the rim of the quarry, but we urge you to exercise extreme caution, as the site is unstable. It is also possible to enter the quarry easily via trail at the southern rim; please do not try to enter the quarry by any other route or means. To find the trail follow the footpath behind Krakus Mound south towards the corner of Podgórze Cemetery, where you'll have an ideal vantage point into the quarry; following the trail another 200m you'll find a pathway that branches off to the right and descends into the quarry. [If you don't descend, but stay on this rim trail it will quickly lead you to several ruins, including those of a gunpowder warehouse, and the boundary of the former Płaszów concentration camp.] Should you choose to enter the quarry, you do so at your own risk; be careful around the ruins and rusted structures, and keep an eye out for barbed wire hidden in the grass.
Enjoy the wild nature of this site while you can because the city has plans to clean it up and develop it into a landscaped recreational park sometime in the near future.