Józef Sowa - Instytut Pileckiego
Józef Sowa (1902–1943)
Commemorated in 2020.
Józef Sowa was commemorated by Pilecki Institute on 16 June 2020 in Wierzchowisko.
He lived with his wife Franciszka and their five children in Wierzchowisko. Despite the great amounts of work to be done on the farm, he also worked as a carpenter and wheelwright. When the war broke out, he went to take part in the fighting. During the German occupation, he worked as a carpenter in the ghetto in Częstochowa. It was likely there that he met a family whom he would later hide on his own farm. In summer 1942, he and his son Eugeniusz built a solid shelter in their barn. Not long after, two Jewish families were housed in the hiding place. It is likely that as many as 7 people were hiding there at one time. The barn was also made available to partisans, who often spent the night there. On 1 September 1943, German soldiers appeared in the region, suspecting that Józef was hiding partisans. The whole family was led outside and was subjected to brutal interrogations and cruel beatings. Not even his sons were spared. Nobody confessed to helping partisans or Jews. However, the Germans found the hiding place during a search of the property, as well as the Jews and a partisan who committed suicide before they could take him. The Jews were dragged outside and nearly all of them were shot on site along with Józef and his wife, both of whom had been beaten unconscious. One Jew was kept alive and ordered to dig a pit for the bodies and cover them with lime. The Sowas’ children watched the whole scene. And it was not enough that their parents had been murdered, but their home and all the buildings on their land were burned to the ground.