(a.k.a. Pola Kowner)
14.3.1902 Lodz - 27.8.1944
Born Pessa Lewi, the
youngest child of of Benjamin
and Faiga Lewi. The youngest
sister of Maita (Lewi) Hochenberg, Wowo Lewi, Lola (Lewi) Adler, Mendel Lewi, Dawid Lewi, Rachel (Lewi) Adler, Regina (Lewi) Rubinek.
Wife of Ilia Kowner and mother to Leon and Nina
She grew up in Lodz and studied in Krakow.
Pessa Kowner was exterminated by the Nazis in August 1944.
She was forty two years old.
Pessa Kowner, c. 1935
"My Mother, Pessa (Pola),
played the piano and spoke several languages such as Polish,
German, French, Russian and Yiddish. Highly elegant in
her style as she would sometimes wear a vail and used
Chanel 5 perfume. My mother and my father used to go
biking in their vacations across Poland.
"Unlike her other siblings
she went to a secular education. She graduated the doctorate
program in humanities in the Jagiellonian university,
Krakow. She studied there together with Zina Kowner, who
introduced her to her brother, Ilya Kowner. They married
on 12.5.1926 in Lodz.
"In 1927 I was born, and eight years later, in 1935,
my younger sister Nina was born.
" I remeber mother being very active and a fighter
in the good sense.
"During the ghetto's
first two years my mother opened a laundry in our small
apartment. I helped her a lot and would carry the laundry
to distant places in the ghetto where we would heat up
the vat and then I would carry it back. Later on, due
to the high inflation it didn't make sense to go on working
the laundry. Later on, she found the almost impossible
job in a factory kitchen and would give her personal ration
for the sake of us, her children."
"At the end of August
1944 Ghetto Litzmannstadt was being evacuated and we were
among the 70,000 people who were sent by trains to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
We were a few thousand people in that freight train and
that included my parents, my sister and me. The train
arrived inside the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. At first they
a separated between the men and the women. My father and
I, we passed the selection and stayed within the temporary
"A year later I met a friend who survived the war
and she told me that the S.S. doctor took out her mother
and Nina and ordered them to the death side and herself
and my mother to the living side. Nina yelled and our
mother, Pola, jumped to the death side. That was the last
day in the life of my sister Nina and my mother Pessa Kowner."