Władysław Gomułka was born on 6 February 1905 in Białobrzegi Franciszkańskie village on the outskirts of Krosno, into a worker's family living in the Austrian Partition (the Galicia region).
United States, where each had emigrated in search of work in the late 19th century, but returned to occupied Poland in the early 20th century because Władysław's father Jan was unable to find gainful employment in America. Jan Gomułka then worked as a laborer in the Subcarpathian oil industry. Władysław's older sister Józefa, born in the United States, returned there upon turning eighteen to join her extended family, most of whom had emigrated, and to preserve her United States citizenship. Władysław and his two other siblings experienced a childhood of the proverbial Galician poverty: they lived in a dilapidated hut and ate mostly potatoes.