The story of the survival of a small group of Jews in the sewers of Lvov, aided by a Polish sewer worker called Leopold Socha
, has been made into an Oscar-nominated film called In Darkness, directed by Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland.
It was Socha, a Polish Catholic sewer worker, who made their survival possible.
Initially bringing them food and supplies for money (paid by Ignacy on behalf of the group) he
continued to do so long after the money ran out.
risked everything, his
own wife and child included.
In the film and Chiger's memoir, Socha
comes across as a fascinating, complex, ordinary and heroic man. "We always call him the angel," Chiger says.
took extraordinary risks for them on a daily basis.
came, my mother told him but he
was too afraid to go to the pharmacy.
It would look suspicious.
went away and returned unexpectedly an hour later with the ingredients for a Jewish remedy made with eggs and sugar called kogel mogel.
"It was more than one kilometre each way and you had to crawl through a tiny tunnel," she
had carried four eggs in a handkerchief in his
teeth to keep them safe, manoeuvring the whole way on his
knees and elbows.
was afraid it would be too late if he
waited until the next day.
Another time, when Chiger stopped talking because of the trauma, Socha
carried her through the tunnels, opened a manhole and let her catch a glimpse of the world above, to show her that it was still there, that she would walk in it again soon.
brought the group out of a manhole into ravaged Lvov where a small crowd had gathered.
Of a Jewish population of 150,000 just three nuclear families had survived.
The Chigers were one of them.
"My brother was so little he
had forgotten how real life looked," she
remembers of that day.