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Plaszów concentration camp was first established at the end of 1942 as a penal forced labour camp. At capacity, it occupied around eighty hectares between Ul. Wielicka and Ul. Swoszowicka.

It was enclosed by two electrified, barbed wire fences attached to upright poles with guard towers every few hundred metres. Both Poles and Jews were imprisoned there, but in different sectors. There were about 1,000 Polish prisoners - a figure which climbed heavily during the summer 1944 Warsaw Rising.

The Jewish area of the camp was divided into a number of sectors. There was a living area with separate buildings for men and women, an assembly point, and industrial area with workshops, a 'hospital' with several barracks for the sick, a quarantine barracks with individual places and a food area.

There was also a transport sector with vehicle workshops, stables and a coach house, an administrative sector with the commander's headquarters, pens for livestock and housing for Germans. A railway station was built beyond the wire.

The prisoners toiled in the workshops, in the quarry, and also outside the camp in a nearby cable factory in Plaszów and in a number of firms in the na Zablocie area. These included Oskar Schindler's enamel ware factory at Ul. Lipowa no.4.

Plaszów concentration camp would probably be almost forgotten outside of Poland were it not for Keneally's book and Spielberg's film Schindler's List.