The Angel from Lvov

Before the war, Władysława Homs was the head of the welfare department at the municipality of Drohobycz in Eastern Galicia. Due to her position and her participation in the struggle against anti-Semitism,  she took great interest in the welfare of Jewish inhabitants in the Drohobycz area. Her activities took on the character of round-the-clock work when the Nazis invaded Lvov in June 1941.

She raised money and collected jewelry among wealthy Jews in order to set up a fund to help Jews. She gathered around her a group of devoted colleagues who devised several ways to counterfeit documents for Jews, to distribute money, food and provide medical care for Jews in the ghetto. They also smuggled children and adults out of the ghetto and found shelter for them in monasteries and private houses. Around 60 children were under Władysława Homs’ personal care.

Władysława herself was in constant and immediate danger once the Germans found out that her officer husband and son had escaped to Britain to fight the Nazis. Therefore, she would move around all the time and, without hesitation, she changed her name and address.

In November 1942, when she was already running a rescue network in Lvov, the Council for Aid to Jews Organization picked  her to set up and run their local branch in Lvov. The Jews saved by Homs called her “the Angel of Lvov”.

In November 1943, with her personal security increasingly in peril, the commanders of the underground movement sent her to Warsaw. After the war, Homs received the information that her son who was a pilot in the Royal Air Force was shot down and killed in 1941.

In 1963, Władysława Homs was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations. She came to Jerusalem and planted a tree in the Avenue of the Righteous Among the Nations in Yad Vashem. In 1966, Władysława Homs passed away in Poland.

 

Info and picture courtesy of Yad Vashem