The Kobylanski Family

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Story of Rescue - The Kobylanski Family

In March 1938, after Austria’s annexation by the Reich, Lola Holdengraeber, a pianist married to a lawyer, left Vienna in the company of her daughter Rita. They settled in Lvov and from there, in 1942 they escaped to Tarnów where the two women found shelter with their pre-war friends, the Kobylański family.

Lola and Rita did not stay long in the Kobylańskis’ small flat, where they were kept out of sight of visitors, so that no-one would even suspect the Kobylańskis of having company. The family always treated them like guests and served them first at the table. Mieczysław, who was twenty-two and employed by the nearby metal works, obtained Aryan papers for the mother and daughter, rented a flat for them and procured a job for Lola at the SS officers’ canteen. Thanks to his efforts, the Holdengraeber women were able to start an independent life.

After some time, Lola was arrested for conspiracy and taken to Auschwitz where she perished. The orphaned Rita once again sought help from the Kobylańskis. Thanks to a trusted priest, Mieczysław was able to obtain a baptismal certificate for the girl, who stayed with the Kobylańskis until July 1943 when a relative was found who took her to Lvov. After the war, Rita immigrated to Canada. She treasured her bond with the Kobylański family and remained in touch with her benefactors.


  • Gutman Israel red. nacz., Księga Sprawiedliwych wśród Narodów Świata, Ratujący Żydów podczas Holocaustu, Kraków 2009