Sobol Jozefa

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Story of Rescue - Sobol Jozefa

Before the war, Józefa Sobol lived in Lvov in Wołyńska Street. In the same street there lived the Chamajdes family: Melech (born 1888) and Miriam (nee Libman) (born 1897) with their three children: two sons and daughter Roza (Rózia). The oldest son Samuel (born 1918) was married to Regina and worked as a barber. Józefa often visited the Chamajdes family home.

In April 1941, Samuel was drafted into the Red Army and disappeared without a trace. The younger brother escaped from Lvov in the summer of 1941. The Chamajdes family was forced to move to the ghetto, where Roza’s parents were killed in one of the “actions.” Józefa, who still lived in Wołyńska Street, made her living from doing odd jobs, sewing and making sweaters. Roza visited her old friend who fed and supported her. In a 1986 statement, Józefa wrote: “I decided to put my own life at risk in order to save her because as a young woman she could start a family in the future.” Józefa was also visited by her other Jewish acquaintances whom she fed and tried to help.

In late 1942, Roza hid in Józefa’s house and Józefa helped her to get a baptism certificate in the name of Helena Moskwa. At that time, Sobol was “constantly blackmailed and persecuted, particularly by the German and Ukrainian military police – they often searched her flat, claiming that she was hiding a Jew. I did not break down and I kept Roza alive.”

Two weeks later she organised transport for her to Sarniki Górne (Stanisławów Province). Roza started to live in the house of Maria Dmytrówna, an acquaintance of Józefa’s, who was the only person there who knew of her origin. In 1986, Józefa Sobol recalled: “No one among people living there knew that Roza was a Jew except for the lady she lived with. I would like to note that Roza was clever enough not to betray herself by the Zionist appearance or a way of speaking or accent.” Roza sewed for local people and Sobol visited her to make sure she was not in danger or hungry.

Sobol’s help was selfless. In her 1985 statement, her charge stressed: “Józefa never demanded any compensation from me; what she did was because of her love of neighbour.” Soon after the liberation, Sobol took Roza to Lvov. Roza spent a few months in Sobol’s flat in Wołyńska Street. She never found any of her close ones. In a local Jewish committee she met Salek Szajnd, whom she married soon.

Being a Jehovah’s Witness, Józefa got arrested. After her release due to poor health, Sobol stayed at the Sznajd family and then was repatriated to Poland and settled down in Jarosław. Meanwhile Roza with her husband and daughters first went to Poland and then in 1957 to Israel, where she settled down in Haifa. Roza exchanged letters with Sobol and supported her financially.

In 1986, the Yad Vashem Institute granted Józefa Sobol the title of Righteous Among the Nations.


  • Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego, 349, 523