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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15Focusing on Jewish Religious Life, 1500-1900$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774716

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Władysław Szpilman The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939–1945

Władysław Szpilman The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939–1945

Chapter:
(p.497) Władysław Szpilman The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939–1945
Source:
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15
Author(s):

Gary Fitelberg

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.003.0039

This chapter covers Władysław Szpilman’s memoir, The Pianist. The book is a testimony to the power of music, the will to live, and the courage to stand against evil. In 1939, Szpilman, a young Warsaw pianist, played Chopin’s nocturne in C sharp minor live on the radio while German shells exploded outside so loudly that he could not hear the piano. The war cast Warsaw into the horror of occupation, the ghetto, the rounding up of Jews, the uprising, and the evacuation of the city — events that killed most of Szpilman’s friends and all of his family. Incredibly, he survived among the ruins of his beloved city. Szpilman’s life was saved by a German officer, Wilm Hosenfeld, who heard him playing the same Chopin nocturne on a piano found among the rubble. That officer died in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp, but he left behind a diary expressing his fierce despair at the barbarity of National Socialism. Extracts are published in the book for the first time, along with Szpilman’s memoir.

Keywords:   Władysław Szpilman, memoir, book review, Wilm Hosenfeld, The Pianist, music, Warsaw, piano

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