New Neighbours: Jan and Fryderyka Lille’s House

ID: 251
Practices of private appartments nationalization, accomodation of newcomers. Story of Lilles family.

This story is a part of the theme about Soviet Occupation in 1939-1941, prepared as a part of the program The Complicated Pages of Common History: Telling About World War II in Lviv.

From the first days of the Soviet occupation of Lviv, the new authorities began distributing apartments, flats and rooms to the newcomers arriving in the city. First of all, representatives of the party and military personnel and their families were to be accommodated. By November 27, 1939, 1,004 apartments and rooms were transferred to the NKVD in Lviv. Vacant housing was obtained through evictions, relocations, or arrests of owners, whose apartments were occupied by families of military and police officers, other government officials and other "needy" holders of high positions in the Soviet system. Newcomers of lower ranks were often accommodated in families having large apartments.

The new residents had to obtain a kind of notification, a so-called warrant issued by the Housing Office. However, there were frequent cases when people arbitrarily occupied apartments, whose owners were evicted or arrested.

In the building of the Faculty of International Relations, in the interwar period owned by Count Michał Baworowski, there was an apartment, until 1941 rented by Jan and Fryderyka (Irena) Lille. Irena Lille was a biochemist, thus representing a profession quite rare among women in the first half of the twentieth century; in Lviv, she was the only female working in the field of hematology. Due to the anti-Semitic campaign of the mid-1930s, she was forced to leave academia and set up her own private laboratory (on ul. Fredra 4) near the private office of Dr. Groer and the Szkocka café. Her husband, Jan Lille, belonged to the wealthy middle-class milieu of lawyers and judges, graduated in law and had a private practice. From the early 1930s, the couple lived in a seven-room apartment, which after the establishment of Soviet rule became the property of the state. In the autumn of 1939, two families of members of the military and civilian administrations moved into the Lilles’ apartment; the rooms where Jan Lille used to work were turned into a dormitory for students of the Vocational Mining School, the company was closed. While the dormitory was finally evicted with the help of Dr. Groer, the two mentioned families remained with the Lilles till the beginning of the Nazi occupation.

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Vul. Sichovykh Striltsiv, 19 – university building (former residential)

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1. Оля Гнатюк, Відвага і страх (Київ: Дух і Літера, 2015), 496.
2. Grzegorz Hryciuk, Polacy we Lwowie 19391944, Życie codzienne (Warszawa: Książka i Wiedza, 2000), 430.

Inna Zolotar
Translated by Andriy Masliukh