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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32Jews and Music-Making in the Polish Lands$
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François Guesnet, Benjamin Matis, and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781906764739

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781906764739.001.0001

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Władysław Szpilman’s Post-War Career in Poland

Władysław Szpilman’s Post-War Career in Poland

(p.219) Władysław Szpilman’s Post-War Career in Poland
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 32

Filip Mazurczak

Liverpool University Press

This chapter draws attention to Władysław Szpilman, who was the focus of Roman Polanski's critically acclaimed and commercially successful 2002 film adaptation of the bestselling memoir Smierc miasta. It looks into Szpilman's harrowing portrayal of the cruelty of the Holocaust and the German occupation of Warsaw, including his inspiring depiction of human kindness amidst absolute evil. It also discusses Szpilman's key role in Polish classical and popular music after the war, in which he's considered as one of the most important figures in twentieth-century Polish music. The chapter provides an overview of Szpilman's contribution to Polish music, with a particular focus on the period beginning in 1945. It reviews archival and secondary sources and interviews with Szpilman's widow and son, which brings to light the enormous contribution of the man dubbed the “Polish Gershwin” and the “Polish Cole Porter” by leading composers.

Keywords:   Władysław Szpilman, Roman Polanski, Smierc miasta, Holocaust, German occupation

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