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Kotlewski family collection

Document | Not Digitized | Accession Number: 2015.610.1

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    Consists of documents and photographs related to the Holocaust experiences of Dr. Moses and Teofila Vorshirm Keitelman (later Marian and Teofila Kotlewski), originally of Mielec, Poland. The documents relate to the Keitelmans' pre-war education, including Moses' training as a doctor and Teofila's as a X-ray technician. Includes post-war documents related to the family's name change to "Kotlewski," the name they used during the war, and Moses' name change to "Marian." Includes wartime and post-war photographs of the Kotlewskis, their sons George and Adam, life in Wrocław, and photographs taken with the Strójwąs family, who hid Marian and Teofila during the war.
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Deena Kotlewski and Adam Kotlewski
    Collection Creator
    Marian Kotlewski
    Moses Keitelman was born in Mielec, Poland, in 1907. He trained as a doctor, graduating in 1934. In 1938, he married Teofila Vorshirm, who was born in Mielec in 1909 and received a masters degree in German literature. They lived in Kraków and Mielec. When the German army invaded Poland, Moses was called up, but by the time he met his unit, they were already disbanding. He and Teofila decided to flee east, settling in Włodzimierz (now Volodymyr-Volynsʹkyĭ), which was on the Russian-occupied part of Poland. Moses got a job in a hospital working with infectious diseases. One of the nurses in the hospital, Irena Zientalowa, had a brother who worked for the railways and let Irena know that the German SS were coming. The Zientalowa family gathered Moses, Teofila, and several other Jewish doctors and their wives and hid all 12 of them at the family's farmhouse outside of town. They remained there for the rest of the war, cared for by the Strójwąs family who rented the farm from the Zientalowa. The group hid in the cellar for one and a half years, only occasionally able to come out. In 1944, after the Russian army liberated them, Teofila gave birth to their first son, Jurek (now George). Moses and Teofila moved to Kraków, where Teofila gave birth to a second son, Adam, and then to Walbrzych (in the region of Silesia) and subsequently to Wrocław, where Moses became director of the city hospital, even though he was not a member of the Communist Party. Moses decided to permanently change his name and his family's name to the names they used during the war. Moses became "Marian" and the family's name changed from Keitelman to "Kotlewski." He took the middle name "Keit" as a connection to his family name. The family remained in Poland until 1956, when Moses moved to Israel. Teofila and the children joined him later. In 1960, the family moved to the United States on the MS Augustus.

    Physical Details

    1 box

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The Kotlewski family donated this collection to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013. Deena Kotlewski, the daughter of George and granddaughter of Marian and Teofila, donated part of the collection, and Adam Kotlewski, Marian and Teofila's younger son, contributed the remainder.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 13:41:21
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