Leopold Socha

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Leopold Socha
Leopold Socha.jpg
Born 28 August 1909
Lwów, Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
Died 12 May 1946 (aged 36)
Gliwice, Poland
Occupation Sewer inspector, burglar
Religion Roman Catholic

Leopold Socha (August 18, 1909 – May 12, 1946) was a Polish sewage inspector in the city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine). During the Holocaust Socha used his knowledge of the city's sewage system to shelter a group of Jews from Nazi Germans and their supporters of different nationalities. In 1978 he was recognized by the State of Israel as Righteous Among the Nations.

Biography[edit]

Socha lived in a poor neighborhood of Lwow and worked for the municipal sanitation department and secretly as a burglar thief.[1] In 1943, he began hiding twenty Jewish refugees in sewage canals. The Jews had fled their ghetto through their floorboards to evade Nazi capture.[2]

Initially the Jews paid their benefactors, but eventually ran out of money. Socha, his wife Magdalena, and a co-worker named Stefan Wróblewski continued feeding and sheltering the refugees with their own resources. They aided the group for fourteen months, the duration of the war. Ten of the twenty Jewish refugees survived.

In 1946 Socha and his daughter were riding their bicycles when a Soviet military truck came careening toward them. He steered his bicycle in her direction to knock her out of the way, saving her but dying in the process. After his death the Jewish people Socha had sheltered returned to pay their respects.[3]

Legacy[edit]

On May 23, 1978, Yad Vashem of Israel recognized Leopold and Magdalena Socha as Righteous Among the Nations. In 1981 Stefan Wroblewski and his wife received the same honor.[4]

Socha was portrayed in the 2011 Agnieszka Holland film In Darkness, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards.

Survivor Kristine Keren recounted her time as a child in the sewers being aided by Socha to the USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]