Later might be too late – The story of Mrs Kotwica, a Righteous Among the Nations

April 26, 2020

90-year-old Maria Kotwica received a private concert a day before passing away. Such stories do not happen often. But once they happen, they become amazing life lessons.

Less than a week ago, Jonny Daniels, the founder of “From the Depths” – a foundation dedicated to preserve the memory of the Holocaust – went on a round trip journey of almost 1000 miles from Warsaw to a tiny town near the Polish-German border to visit and provide food for the Righteous – Maria Kotwica. The journey was a part of the initiative he undertook not only to provide the necessary supplies, food but also to talk, visit and give love to heroes recognised as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews during the Second World War. However, this particular trip was different and unforgettable because of the events that followed.

“I strongly deliberated putting the trip back to later in the week because of all that’s happening over the next few days with Holocaust Memorial Day, but something pushed me to make the trip, so I went”  – Jonny Daniels told the British Poles portal. In order to add something extraordinary to this visit, he also asked his friend, a well-known electric violinist Grzegorz Karnas “MagnetiG”, to join him and play for the 90-year-old. Although Maria was not in good health and conversation was not possible, the delicate sound of the violin brought a lot of visible joy to her.

Posted by Jonny Daniels on Monday, April 20, 2020


As simple people living on a farm, this woman and her family risked their lives to save three Jews – Izrael Karten, Julia Karten and Emanuel Krauthamery. Maria said that despite the great fear, they had no heart for abandoning them. And therefore, they were hiding Jews, even though German patrols were going around the village all the time.

Grzegorz, not knowing it was a “goodbye” song for Maria, played the moving and meaningful “Spring” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”. It was not just music, but something much more, because when words are not enough, emotional and heart-warming sound speaks deeper.

After a day, Jonny learned that “Spring” was the last song Maria had heard. At the age of 90, the Righteous passed away with peace, gratitude and memory for her amazing life that saved so many others.

At the funeral, Grzegorz played not what he had planned but what flowed straight from his heart. And so finally, after an amazing Ave Maria, a peaceful Barge (Barka) was heard – full of hope and calmness, the favourite song of Pope John Paul II. Maria was farewelled in love and gratitude for the example she gave to the world.

“Today we’ll be off together,
Fishing hearts in the sea of the souls,
With the net of your truth,
And the word of real life.”

In such moments it is worth to slow down the pace and think where and why we are going so fast. This story teaches that sometimes despite everyday matters and duties chasing us, it’s good to do something meaningful, something for others. So do not plan, do not wait, do not wonder because then it might be already too late.


Maria Kotwica, Rest In Peace.

Author: Małgorzata Dmitruk

Pictures: Jonny Daniels

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