Płaszów was a Nazi German concentration camp in the southern suburb of Kraków, founded by the Nazis in Płaszów soon after the German invasion of Poland and the creation of the General Government. The construction of the camp, originally intended as a forced labour camp, began in summer 1940. Its first prisoners were Poles. In 1941 the camp was extended and subsequently became a concentration camp with deportations of the Jews from the Kraków Ghetto beginning October 28, 1942. Commanding the camp was Amon Göth, an SS commandant from Vienna who was known for being uncommonly sadistic in his treatment of prisoners. On 13 March 1943, Göth personally oversaw the liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto, forcing its Jewish inhabitants deemed capable of work into the camp. Those deemed unfit for work were killed. Under him were his staff of SS men and a few SS women, including Gertrud Heise, Luise Danz, Alice Orlowski and Anna Gerwing.
Płaszów prisoners who survived the war recalled Alice Orlowski as a picture-perfect SS-woman. They also told about her whippings, especially of young women across their eyes. Apparently, at roll call she would walk through the lines of women, and, when suspecting someone of talking, would personally whip them.
The camp was known as a slave labor camp, supplying manpower to several armament factories and a stone quarry. The death rate in the camp was very high. Many prisoners, including many children and women died of typhus, starvation and executions. Płaszów camp became particularly infamous for both individual and mass shootings carried out there. All documents pertaining to the mass killings and shootings were entrusted by commandant Göth to head SS woman, Kommandoführerin Alice Orlowski. She held these documents in her possession until the end of the war, then destroyed them.
In January 1945, the last of the remaining inmates and camp staff left the camp on a death march to Auschwitz, including several female SS. Many of those who survived the march were killed upon arrival. When the Nazis knew that the Russians were coming towards Kraków, they completely dismantled the camp, leaving an empty field. The bodies that were buried here in mass graves were exhumed and burned on site. The Red Army liberated the then empty camp on 20 January 1945.
The area which held the camp now consists of sparsely wooded hills and fields with one large memorial marking where the camp once stood, with an additional small plaque located near the opposite end of the site. The camp is featured in the movie Schindler's List about the life of Oskar Schindler.