Image: Ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the liquidation of Krakow ghetto
Czarek Sokolowski  /  AP
A man places flowers at a ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of liquidation of the Krakow ghetto on March 16, 2003.
updated 3/13/2008 8:03:49 AM ET 2008-03-13T12:03:49

Holocaust survivors, including some saved by German industrialist Oskar Schindler, are gathering to mark the 65th anniversary of the Nazi liquidation of Krakow's Jewish ghetto.

In just two days in March 1943, German soldiers emptied the ghetto of its estimated 16,000 Jewish residents, shipping them to a forced-labor camp in nearby Plaszow and to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where most were killed in the gas chambers.

Those left behind were executed, with some 2,000 Jews killed. By the end of World War II, just 3,000 Jews who lived in the ghetto survived.

On Sunday, about 25 survivors -- some returning to Poland for the first time since the war's end -- will march through the Podgorze district in Krakow to the grounds of the former camp in Plaszow where around 8,000 people, including Poles, perished during the war.

Image: German industrialist Oskar Schindler
Peter Hillebrecht  /  AP file
Tributes will be paid to Oskar Schindler, the German industrialist who helped to save Jews from the Nazis, at a ceremony in Poland this weekend.

Just 60 of the Jews Schindler saved are alive and a dozen are expected for the march, said Andrzej Skotnicki, who helped bring back Schindler's Jews for the anniversary events and recently published a book on Jews from Krakow that were saved by Schindler.

"They lost many members of their families, so its not easy for them," Skotnicki told The Associated Press.

Oscar-winning film
The Plaszow camp was the setting for Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar-winning film "Schindler's List," which chronicled the German businessman's efforts to shield more than 1,000 Jews from Nazi death camps by hiring them to work in his Krakow factory.

Since the release of Spielberg's film, tourists to Krakow have sought out the place where Schindler kept the emaciated, frostbitten Jews, claiming their work was essential to the survival of his metal works factory, where prisoners produced enameled pots and pans.

Schindler spent his fortune feeding the Jews he saved. After the war, he emigrated to Argentina with his wife, Emilie, but returned to Germany in 1958 where he died in 1974. He was buried in Jerusalem at his own request.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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