Jan Kowalski - Instytut Pileckiego

Permanent exhibition "Called by Name" / The commemorated

Jan Kowalski (1906–1943)

Commemorated in 2022.

Commemorated on 14 June 2022 in Poświętne

He lived with his wife Ludwika in the village of Helenów near Stanisławów. The couple had two sons. Their farm was 4 kilometers away from the farm of Józefa and Józef Dmoch, whose history and deed left a tragic imprint on the lives of Jan and Ludwika Kowalski.

In 1943, Józef and Józefa Dmoch decided to hide ten Jews on their farm. The family prepared a hiding place for them in their barn and provided food. At the time, Jan Kowalski served as the deputy head of Helenów village.

In July 1943, the Germans arrived at the Dmochs’ property. Some of the Jews were shot, six managed to escape, and two were arrested along with Józef and Józefa Dmoch. On their way to the Gestapo station in Radzymin, the Germans arrested also Jan and Ludwika Kowalski, “as a consequence of collective responsibility”. Jan, as deputy head of the village, was assigned responsibility for what was happening in the village.

The captured Jews were shot without trial, and the two couples were subjected to interrogations and cruel beatings. After a few days, a sentence of death by firing squad was issued. The sentence was carried out on 15 July 1943. Jan Kowalski, Józefa Dmoch and her husband Józef were killed. Ludwika Kowalska was exonerated and released following an intercession by Józefa.

The bodies of the victims were buried in a common grave in a forest near Radzymin.

Jan Kowalski was commemorated by the Pilecki Institute on 14 June 2022 in Poświętne.