Ewa Kotowska - Instytut Pileckiego

Permanent exhibition "Called by Name" / The commemorated

Ewa Kotowska (~1889–1943)

Commemorated in 2020.

Ewa Kotowska was commemorated by Pilecki Institute on 4 June 2020 in Sterdyń.

She lived with her husband Józef, their sons Czesław, Stanisław and Kazimierz, and their daughters Stanisława and Anna at a colony in Paulinów. The family had its own farmland, which they all worked together to keep. They also helped out at the Paulinów estate. By autumn 1942, there were many Jews hiding in the nearby forest, most of whom were refugees from the ghetto in Sterdyń. The Kotowskis and their children gave them temporary shelters and shared their food – soup, pancakes and bread. The Jews they helped were acquaintances from before the war. One of them, Szlojme Ruskielenke, had even sat on the same school bench as Czesław. Shortly before the tragic events of February 1943, Szlojme appeared at the Kotowski house in the company of an unknown Jew. Both men received bread. That same unknown man returned to their house on 24 February, when the German soldiers undertook a merciless pacification of Paulinów. Early in the morning, Ewa Kotowska heard gunshots and managed to tell her son Czesław to run to the estate and find something to keep him busy there. She wanted as few people at the house as possible. Shortly after the Jew-provocateur arrived, three German soldiers came and began to interrogate her and search the house. Ewa was at home with her husband Józef and their daughter Stanisława at the time; both of the parents were shot and their house was plundered.