Władysław Holcman was born on March 18, 1916 in in Łódź, Poland. His father, Mojżesz Holcman, (June 20, 1879-May 1942) was a merchant and his mother, Sara Wajnberg Holcman, (December 27, 1888-1942) was a housewife. Władysław is the oldest of four children: Władysław Holcman (1916- ), Kazimierz Holcman (September 1, 1917-1945), Anna Hanka Holcman (October 29, 1920- ), and Jechezkiel Jerzyk Holcman (April 20, 1925).
In November 1939, Władysław Holcman and his girlfriend, Fela Krepel, fled Poland to the Soviet administered area. They visited Fela’s uncle in Maniewicze, and later moved to Łuck, where they married on December 27, 1939. The young couple volunteered for labor and was sent to Stavropol. For a short time, Władysław Holcman studied at a Polytechnic in Moscow, then in Kuibyshev, Soviet Union, (Kuybyshev; now Samara, Russia). In August 1941 Władysław was sent to work in an ozocerite (mineral hydrocarbon wax, used in making electrical insulation) mine in Yaypan, Uzbekistan. Fela and Władysław Holcman lived in Shorsu, Uzbekistan until the end of the war. Their son, Jurek Holcman, was born there on October 7, 1945. In 1946 the Holcman family repatriated to Poland and settled in their hometown, Łódź. Their daughter, Liliana Holcman was born there in 1950. Twenty years later, in 1970, Fela and Władysław Holcman and their children left Poland for Denmark, where they currently reside.
Kazimierz Holcman (September 1, 1917-1945) immigrated to Uruguay in 1936, where he joined his paternal uncle. He died in 1945.
Anna Hanka Holcman (b. October 29, 1920) immigrated to Belgium and later moved to Grenoble, France where she studied. She survived the war posing as an Aryan with the help of false identification papers.
Jechezkiel Jerzyk Holcman (b. April 20, 1925) was forced, together with his parents, into the Łódź ghetto. Jerzyk survived several concentration camps including Auschwitz, Gusen, and Mauthausen.
Władysław’s parents perished in the Holocaust. Mojżesz Holcman died in the Łódź ghetto in May 1942. On September 8, 1942, Sara Holcman and Renia Rachela Golkowa (Władysław’s aunt) were arrested during the so called “Gehsperre action” in the Łódź ghetto and were deported to the Chełmno killing center, where they both perished.