The Kozlowski Family

enlarge map

Story of Rescue - The Kozlowski Family

During the Nazi occupation Anna and Józef Kozłowski were living in Kolbuszowa together with their seven children. They were very poor. As a result of military activities, their farm was ruined and they only had their old barn left. They stayed at the house of the sister of Józef. Anna Kozłowska was bedridden since the beginning of the occupation and she remained sick for the rest of her life.

In the fall of 1943 a relative asked the Kozłowskis if they would take in two Jews from Kolbuszowa – escapees from a Nazi labor camp. In spite of the poor conditions they were living in, the Kozłowskis sheltered the Jews. That is how the 33-year-old Jakub Plawker and the 16-year-old Maniuś Notowicz settled in their house.

In November 1942 Jakub and Marian managed to escape from the labor camp together with a big group of prisoners. Plawker came from a big merchant family from Kolbuszowa. He lost his whole family in the war: his wife, son and five sisters (only his older brother who fought in the Anders Army survived). Marian was the son of the well-known lawyer Osias Notowicz, killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau. His mother Ida, his sister Niunia and his brother Leon were probably killed in the extermination camp of Bełżec.

Right after they had escaped, Jakub Plawker and Maniuś Notowicz were offered help by Michał Bajor, a Polish farmer thanks to whom they were able to hide in a forest near the village of Brzezówka for a few months. They soon had to find another shelter because of the hunger and the risk that someone would find their hiding place.

The Kozłowskis built for them an underground shelter in their barn: they covered the entrance with boards and hid it with straw and hay. They used to share everything they had with the Jews. A young girl, Maria Snopkowska, used to help them and bring food to the hiding place. Jakub and Marian would sometimes leave their shelter at night, in order to breathe some fresh air and to bathe in the nearby small river Nil.

During the hiding, there were many dangerous moments, like in May 1944, when a group of German soldiers was lodged in the barn of the Kozłowskis for 3 days. The constant fear affected the health of Anna and Józef.

The Kozłowskis had been hiding Plawker and Notowicz until the liberation in July 1944. After the war Jakub converted to Catholicism and stayed in Poland. He adopted the name Jan Płaszczyński. Known to all inhabitants as “the last Jew of Kolbuszowa”, he passed away in 1997. Maniuś Notowicz – at present Max Notowitz – emigrated to Germany in 1947. Afterwards, he left to the US and settled in Memphis together with his family.

The Kozłowskis remained in close contact with Jan Płaszczyński until their death but they never saw Max Notowicz again – he only visited Poland in 1997.

See more about the Kozlowski family.


  • Archiwum Ambasady Izraela - Materiały opracowane w związku z uroczystością wręczenia medalu i dyplomu honorowego „Sprawiedliwy wśród Narodów Świata” 4 kwietnia 2011 r. Annie i Józefowi Kozłowskim