About four kilometers south of Kraków’s main square is the open space known as Płaszów, site of an important German forced labor, transit and death camp during the Second World War.
Approximately 150,000 people passed through Płaszów between 1942 and 1945, mostly Polish Jews. Slave laborers numbered some 30,000 at the camp’s height in 1944, and 10,000 died in the camp – by disease, starvation, exhaustion, sadistic beating, and firing squad. In the contemporary city of Kraków, Płaszów remains a deeply ambivalent space. Unlike other former Nazi camps in Poland, it is not under the oversight of a museum or cultural institution. It is publicly signed as a site of genocide, but mostly used for leisure and recreation, especially in the warm months, when it is a popular place to sunbathe, picnic, and drink.
Jason Francisco’s exhibition, Greetings from Płaszów, contemplates the Płaszów site as it is today. In 150 photographs made between 2010 and 2017, Francisco looks into the physical and also the human geography of Płaszów, offering a complex picture of memory and forgetting as they co-exist in contemporary Kraków.