Francisca Halamajowa, Poland

During several Aktions (massive deportations) in the Sokal Ghetto in 1942, Francisca Halamajowa, a Polish Catholic in her late 50s living in Ukraine, hid Jewish families in the hayloft over her pigsty. In 1943, one of the children cried so long and loud that everyone, including Mrs. Halamajowa, risked discovery. The family decided to sacrifice the child’s life to save the other fourteen. They gave her a spoonful of poison; she stopped crying, closed her eyes, and stopped breathing. That night Mrs. Halamajowa returned with a burlap bag for the body, but the child had a pulse and her life was spared. Mrs. Halamajowa’s neighbor discovered the Jews and demanded they be thrown out. She said she would take the blame and go to prison with the Jews. After D-Day, June 6, 1944, her home was packed with German officers. They left on June 10 and on July 19, 1944, Mrs. Halamajowa bade farewell to the fifteen Jews whose lives she saved.

Edited by Stephanie Surach