Fran “Fay” Malkin was born in the spring of 1938 in Sokal, Poland (now Ukraine). In 1941, shortly after the Germans invaded the Sokal region, the Gestapo shot and killed 400 of Sokal’s Jewish men, including Fran’s father. Fearing for their lives, Fran’s remaining family fled to the home of a Polish Catholic woman named Francisca Halamajowa, who hid them in the hayloft above her pigsty for two years while passing off as a Nazi sympathizer. Worried that the child’s inconsolable crying would reveal their hideout, the adults tried to silence Fran with poison. Miraculously, she survived.
In 1949, Fran moved with her family to the United States, where she went on to become a successful real estate broker. In 2007, she returned to Sokal with her cousin, filmmaker Judy Maltz, to film No. 4 Street of Our Lady, a documentary about the rescue. By the end of the war, only 30 of Sokal’s 6,000 Jews had survived, half of them rescued by Francisca. The film draws on excerpts from a diary kept by Fran’s uncle Moshe Maltz, and incorporates testimonies from Fran, other rescued Jews, and Francisca’s two granddaughters as they reconnect on a journey back to Sokal.
In this online public program we will be joined by Fran Malkin, her daughter Debbi Schonberger-Pierce, and filmmaker Judy Maltz for a discussion of No. 4 Street of Our Lady 13 years later.