Stories of rescuers: Władysław Różycki

ID: 209
Gender was an important dimension of anti-Jewish violence. It also affected chances to survive.

The story is a part of the theme Reactions of Lvivians to Holocaust, which was prepared within the program The Complicated Pages of Common History: Telling About World War II in Lviv.

Anti-Jewish violence had also a gender dimension as the risk of sexual exploitation and rape for Jewish girls and women was very high. At the same time, the experience of men was special particularly in view of the religious tradition of circumcision, so Jewish boys and men who hid with "Aryan" documents always risked being disclosed after this fact became known. In 1941–1943, Władysław Różycki worked in Lviv as the manager of the railway workshops located near the main station. One of his subordinates, Kazimierz Gerkowicz, was hiding with fake papers under the name Jankowski. He confessed to his Jewish origins and asked for help in rescuing his family. Despite fear for his own life, Różycki agreed. As Gerkowicz's immediate supervisor, he tried to limit his contact with the Germans as much as possible. However, the most dangerous were medical examinations. Medical commissions often included Gestapo officers and doctors loyal to the Nazi regime. Różycki attended medical commissions instead of Gerkowicz. This act was extremely bold and risky as he could be recognized at any time, which threatened the death penalty.

Kazimierz Gerkowicz survived the Nazi occupation. After the war he became a famous ophthalmologist, professor at the Medical Academy in Lublin. In 1993, Władysław Różycki was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations.

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Pl. Dvirtseva, 1 – Lviv main railway station

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1. Magdalena Dopieralska. "Historia Pomocy — Różycki Władysław", Polscy Sprawiedliwi, (accessed on 13.11.2018).
2. Marek Prost, "Wspomnienie. Prof. dr hab. n. med. Kazimierz Gerkowicz (1920–2008)", Okulistyka, (accessed on 13.11.2018).

Lviv, railway station, 1941-44. Source: Urban Media Archive, Center for Urban History, Taras Piniazhko’s collection.
Anna Chebotariova
Translated by Andriy Masliukh