German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Kraków

One of the obsolete remnants of the past has again become relevant in Lviv is the WWII-era bomb shelter signs. Across the city traces of such signs from the times of the Nazi occupation can still be found. Soon after I arrived in Kraków (in late February 2022) I found a similar sign – and eventually came across many more. In both cities, these are painted arrows – generally found on interwar Modernist buildings. My guess is that it is no accident that these buildings were chosen as at that time they were the newest and sturdiest.

In Lviv, the arrows are accompanied by the letters “NA” – short for the German word “Notausgang,” marking emergency exits. In Kraków, most examples are just long white arrows pointing to a door or a basement. But I did find one example of the letters “NA” as well.

The German-era bomb shelter signs in Lviv:

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