File:Bundesarchiv Bild 121-0316, Krakau, Gefängnis Montelupich, Häftling.jpg

Prisoners of Montelupich Prison in 1939

The Montelupich prison, so called from the street in which it is located, the ulica Montelupich ("street of the Montelupis" or "street of the Montelupi family" — the street itself so called from the Kamienica Montelupich or "Town House of the Montelupis" at Number 7), is a prison located in Cracow, universally recognized as "one of the most terrible Nazi prisons in Poland",[1] which was used by the Gestapo throughout the Second World War. However, Piątkowska (see Bibliography) states (p. 29) that the Gestapo took over the facility from the Sicherheitspolizei only towards the end of March 1941.

Prisoners in Montelupich included political prisoners, members of the SS and Security Service (SD) who had been convicted and given prison terms, British and Soviet spies and parachutists, victims of Gestapo street raids, soldiers who had deserted the Waffen-SS, and regular criminals. The number of political prisoners who passed through or ended their lives in the Montelupich in the years 1940Template:Ndash1944 is estimated at 50,000.[2] Kurkiewiczowa (see Bibliography) states that "medieval tortures" constituted the fundamental and principal interrogation method of the Germans.

Although the inscription on the plaque by the (side) door of the prison in the 1939 photograph pictured at right actually reads, "Sicherheits-Polizei-Gefängnis Montelupich", the name "Montelupich Prison" is strictly informal, based on common popular convention, even if it has now passed in that form into history. The Montelupich facility was the detention centre of the first instance used by the Nazis to imprison the Polish professors from the Jagiellonian University arrested in 1939 in the so-called Sonderaktion Krakau, an operation designed to eliminate Polish intelligentsia.

After World War II Montelupich became a Soviet prison where NKVD and Urząd Bezpieczeństwa tortured and murdered Polish soldiers from Home Army.

History of the property[edit | edit source]

The building housing the prison was not originally constructed for the purpose but is instead a historical property that was redecorated in the Italianate Renaissance style in 1556 by the Italian Montelupi family who introduced the first postal service in Poland.[3] Their Cracow town house, known in Polish as the Kamienica Montelupich, at Number 7 of the street to which it gave the name, was the starting point of the first international postal coach in Poland which departed from here for Venice in 1558.[4]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Wanda Kurkiewiczowa, Za murami Monte: wspomnienia z więzienia kobiecego Montelupich-Helclów, 1941Template:Ndash1942, Cracow, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1968. (Eyewitness account of the conditions of imprisonment of female prisoners in Montelupich and their treatment at the hands of the Nazis.)
  • Judith Strick Dribben, A Girl Called Judith Strick, foreword by Golda Meir, New York, Cowles Book Company, 1970. ("Montelupich Prison was a big red brick corner building, surrounded by a high wall with barbed wire and broken glass on top.": p. 67.)
  • Antonina Piątkowska, Wspomnienia oświęcimskie, Cracow, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1977, pages 29ff. (Another books of recollections by an inmate.)
  • Wincenty Hein and Czesława Jakubiec, Montelupich, Cracow, Wydawnictwo Literackie, 1985. ISBN 8308003931.
  • Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, ed. Israel Gutman, vol. 4, New York, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1995, page 988. ISBN 0028960904.
  • Barbara Pikuła-Peszkowska, Gdzie jest twój grób, Ojcze?, Bytom, Oficyna Wydawnicza 4K, 1997. ISBN 8385214313.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Adam Bajcar, Poland: A Guidebook for Tourists, tr. S. Tarnowski, Warsaw, Interpress Publishers, 1972. So also: Studia Historyczne, vol. 30, 1987, p. 106: "Więzienie Montelupich w Krakowie należało do najcięższych w Generalnym Gubernatorstwie" (The Montelupich Prison in Cracow was among the most severe prisons in the General Government).
  2. Józef Batko, Gestapowcy, Cracow, Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1985. ISBN 8303007203. Cited in Cezary Leżeński's review of the book in Nowe Książki, 1986, p. 127.
  3. Letizia Gianni, Polonia: Varsavia, Lublino, Cracovia, Breslavia, Toruń, Danzica, i Monti Tatra e la Masuria, Milan, Touring Club Italiano, 2005, p. 101. ISBN 8836529232.
  4. Jan Adamczewski, Kraków od A do Z, Cracow, Krajowa Agencja Wydawnicza, 1980, p. 85.

External links[edit | edit source]

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