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The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45

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The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting was resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman's account of the years inbetween, of the death and crue The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting was resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman's account of the years inbetween, of the death and cruelty inflicted on the Jews of Warsaw and on Warsaw itself, related with a dispassionate restraint borne of shock. Szpilman, now 88, has not looked at his description since he wrote it in 1946 (the same time as Primo Levi's If This Is A Man?; it is too personally painful. The rest of us have no such excuse. Szpilman's family were deported to Treblinka, where they were exterminated; he survived only because a music-loving policeman recognised him. This was only the first in a series of fatefully lucky escapes that littered his life as he hid among the rubble and corpses of the Warsaw Ghetto, growing thinner and hungrier, yet condemned to live. Ironically it was a German officer, Wilm Hosenfeld, who saved Szpilman's life by bringing food and an eiderdown to the derelict ruin where he discovered him. Hosenfeld died seven years later in a Stalingrad labour camp, but portions of his diary, reprinted here, tell of his outraged incomprehension of the madness and evil he witnessed, thereby establishing an effective counterpoint to ground the nightmarish vision of the pianist in a desperate reality. Szpilman originally published his account in Poland in 1946, but it was almost immediately withdrawn by Stalin's Polish minions as it unashamedly described collaborations by Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Poles and Jews with the Nazis. In 1997 it was published in Germany after Szpilman's son found it on his father's bookcase. This admirably robust translation by Anthea Bell is the first in the English language. There were 3,500,000 Jews in Poland before the Nazi occupation; after it there were 240,000. Wladyslaw Szpilman's extraordinary account of his own miraculous survival offers a voice across the years for the faceless millions who lost their lives. --David Vincent


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The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting was resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman's account of the years inbetween, of the death and crue The last live broadcast on Polish Radio, on September 23, 1939, was Chopin's Nocturne in C# Minor, played by a young pianist named Wladyslaw Szpilman, until his playing was interrupted by German shelling. It was the same piece and the same pianist, when broadcasting was resumed six years later. The Pianist is Szpilman's account of the years inbetween, of the death and cruelty inflicted on the Jews of Warsaw and on Warsaw itself, related with a dispassionate restraint borne of shock. Szpilman, now 88, has not looked at his description since he wrote it in 1946 (the same time as Primo Levi's If This Is A Man?; it is too personally painful. The rest of us have no such excuse. Szpilman's family were deported to Treblinka, where they were exterminated; he survived only because a music-loving policeman recognised him. This was only the first in a series of fatefully lucky escapes that littered his life as he hid among the rubble and corpses of the Warsaw Ghetto, growing thinner and hungrier, yet condemned to live. Ironically it was a German officer, Wilm Hosenfeld, who saved Szpilman's life by bringing food and an eiderdown to the derelict ruin where he discovered him. Hosenfeld died seven years later in a Stalingrad labour camp, but portions of his diary, reprinted here, tell of his outraged incomprehension of the madness and evil he witnessed, thereby establishing an effective counterpoint to ground the nightmarish vision of the pianist in a desperate reality. Szpilman originally published his account in Poland in 1946, but it was almost immediately withdrawn by Stalin's Polish minions as it unashamedly described collaborations by Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Poles and Jews with the Nazis. In 1997 it was published in Germany after Szpilman's son found it on his father's bookcase. This admirably robust translation by Anthea Bell is the first in the English language. There were 3,500,000 Jews in Poland before the Nazi occupation; after it there were 240,000. Wladyslaw Szpilman's extraordinary account of his own miraculous survival offers a voice across the years for the faceless millions who lost their lives. --David Vincent

30 review for The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gkavea

    The triumph of the human spirit, the strength of the human soul to find its way out of the darkness, the injustice, the never-ending nightmare, the ordeal of living in a world where absolute fear and beastly behaviour dictate everyone’s life. This is the life of a man, an artist, who experienced persecution, confinement, famine, disease. A man whose strength and faith defeated monsters. A pianist whose talent touched the heart of the enemy, except this enemy was different from the others, a kind The triumph of the human spirit, the strength of the human soul to find its way out of the darkness, the injustice, the never-ending nightmare, the ordeal of living in a world where absolute fear and beastly behaviour dictate everyone’s life. This is the life of a man, an artist, who experienced persecution, confinement, famine, disease. A man whose strength and faith defeated monsters. A pianist whose talent touched the heart of the enemy, except this enemy was different from the others, a kind soul among the vilest of people. Wladyslaw Szpilman lost his family, his work, his dream of playing a music that becomes the exaltation of the soul. He lived like a caged animal for six years, because of a madman’s idea of a perfect world. And he survived. His writing communicates his soul without melodramatic sentences or shocking details. His works flow like a perfectly performed Nocturne…. Rating and reviewing lose every meaning and importance when we refer to books such as this. I wish we were in a position to say that we need to look back and vow to ourselves that the nightmare will never be awakened again. I wish we could claim such a thing and actually believe that it won’t be a void wish...But there is always someone, there is always a ‘’chosen’’ leader that turns the world into a toy to pass the time… Szpilman’s ordeal and survival was depicted to perfection in the 2002 film by the great Roman Polanski, starring the impeccable Adrien Brody. They both won the Academy Awards in their respective categories.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    This is the first time I am reviewing a book that I have tried and failed to rate. How do I decide on a rating anyway? Should I judge the prose? the content? the author's style of presentation? his narrative voice? the quality of the translation? Do I even have the right to? Awarding a star rating to this man's unbelievably harrowing and miraculous tale of surviving a war which claimed the lives of 6 million of his fellow brethren for no reason at all, seems a more sacrilegious act than calling In This is the first time I am reviewing a book that I have tried and failed to rate. How do I decide on a rating anyway? Should I judge the prose? the content? the author's style of presentation? his narrative voice? the quality of the translation? Do I even have the right to? Awarding a star rating to this man's unbelievably harrowing and miraculous tale of surviving a war which claimed the lives of 6 million of his fellow brethren for no reason at all, seems a more sacrilegious act than calling Infinite Jest a bad book on Goodreads. So I choose not to. Wladyslaw Szpilman, a pianist working for the Polish radio station, takes us through the years of Nazi occupation of Poland and Warsaw, in particular, and the insensate violence that had the Jewish inhabitants of the city (the ones who were fortunate enough to be spared the concentration camps) living the most brutal and unforgiving of nightmares for a period of almost 5 years. Wladyslaw Szpilman Szpilman writes with a kind of unnerving indifference, as if this were someone else's tale of horrors he is narrating and not his own. It is obvious that since he had written this in 1946, immediately after the war, his senses may still have been numbed under the influence of the barbarous acts he had witnessed through the 6 years of the Occupation. His voice doesn't sound sarcastic, debilitated or even a little bit acerbic. Instead, he gives us a neat, uncluttered, unemotional, chronologically ordered account of events which saw him narrowly escaping certain death many, many times. But this is not just his story. A surprise awaits the unsuspecting reader at the very end, in the form of Wilm Hosenfeld, a Nazi officer who saved Szpilman's life in the last few months of 1944. An astonishingly mild-mannered, generous soul who not only kept the knowledge of Szpilman's existence a secret from the other SS officers, but saved him from certain death out of starvation and the unbearable cold. But true to the nature of war which justifies countering violence with more violence, Hosenfeld was taken as a prisoner of war when the Soviets finally recaptured Poland. He was tortured to death years later (1952) in some unnamed labor camp in the icy swathes of Stalingrad. His tormentors were especially cruel with him, angered by his claims of having saved the lives of many Jews and Poles during the Warsaw occupation. Which, of course, was nothing but the truth.* Wilhelm Adalbert Hosenfeld It goes without saying, while reading this book I had no sense of time or any movement around me, I had no idea whether it was still daytime or whether night had fallen. Turning over the last page, when I finally took note of my surroundings I discovered my pillow was half-wet with tears and that I had a dreadful headache. Some of the most poignant, haunting and reflective passages of the narrative are in Wilm's journal which was recovered years later and incorporated into Szpilman's memoir - "Evil and brutality lurk in the human heart. If they are allowed to develop freely, they flourish, putting out dreadful offshoots...." A mere German officer seems to have had the moral strength to admit - "Our entire nation will have to pay for all these wrongs and this unhappiness, all the crimes we have committed. Many innocent people must be sacrificed before the blood-guilt we've incurred can be wiped out. That's an inexorable law in small and large things alike." And yet the "great" Der Führer, in front of whom a vast Empire bowed down at one point of time, could only choose the coward's way out by committing suicide in the end. A million stars to the courage of Wladyslaw Szpilman, who aided the Jewish resistance in the Warsaw ghetto, disregarding the constant threat to his own life. A million stars to his unflinchingly honest attempt at looking back at a terrible past. A million stars for enabling the citizens of the world to read, know and derive lessons from the story of his life. A million stars to Wilm Hosenfeld for holding on to his conscience at a time when morality and compassion were in short supply. And a million stars to the triumph of the human spirit. (So you see the correct rating of this book should be 5 million stars which is beyond the scope of Goodreads.) *Wilm Hosenfeld was posthumously recognized as a Righteous among the Nations in 2009 by Israel. P.S.:- This review maybe updated after I watch the movie.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Violet wells

    You might say all of us owe our very existence to the lottery of chance that allowed our ancestors to survive the second world war. Maybe this is one reason I find it such a compelling subject. The margins of genetic survival were narrowed to a much greater extent than at any time in recent history. And of course if you're Jewish this was exacerbated a thousand-fold and more. If you were interned in the Warsaw Ghetto your chances of survival were about the same as any of us being struck by light You might say all of us owe our very existence to the lottery of chance that allowed our ancestors to survive the second world war. Maybe this is one reason I find it such a compelling subject. The margins of genetic survival were narrowed to a much greater extent than at any time in recent history. And of course if you're Jewish this was exacerbated a thousand-fold and more. If you were interned in the Warsaw Ghetto your chances of survival were about the same as any of us being struck by lightning in our lifetime. So one huge point of interest here, behind all the horror, is how did this man manage to survive? I can't answer this question. It doesn't appear to have anything to do with any quality he possessed that others didn't. He wasn't particularly intrepid or brave or robust physically, he wasn't inordinately wealthy, he didn't breach his ethics to survive. In fact, at times he seems almost comically inept as any kind of resistor, never highlighted better than when at the end of the war he goes to meet the Russian liberators dressed in a German military overcoat. (The woman soldier who shoots at him misses.) In some ways he reminds me of Primo Levi, another highly sensitive artistic man who you'd think wouldn't have the qualities to survive. I always remember his account of how he was captured as a partisan. His band didn't have a single weapon and were caught hiding in the kind of hideout children make. Surely the odds of someone so ill-suited to the deprivations and depravities of a death camp wouldn't last three months? There were several key moments when individuals who might easily have murdered Szpilman let him off the hook. Was it charm? He doesn't though come across as particularly charming. He doesn't get on with his brother and takes little interest in his sisters. He seems a bit of an introspective loner, unrealistic (he's often worrying about the health of his hands and the implications frostbite will have on his career as a pianist). It's as if he carried with him some untouchable quality that his persecutors recognised. That he was marked out to survive. There's always a kind of mysticism at work in these survival stories. To realise this is also to begin to understand the tragic phenomenon of survivor guilt. How hard it must be to be singled out as special when you know you're no more special than countless others who perished. Perhaps even harder to comprehend than the gas chambers are the personal and intimate acts of barbarity, especially the cold-blooded killing of children. In this regard the Ukrainian and Lithuanian SS are particularly monstrous. It's probably important to remember it wasn't only Germans who were sadistic killers. One horror they performed was to smash the heads of children against a wall by swinging them by the legs. I remember watching an interview with a Lithuanian guard who had participated in countless atrocities. His answer to every question was to tell the interviewer he couldn't possibly understand. He refused to apologise. As far as he was concerned he had paid his penance by spending ten years in a Russian gulag as if he considered what he did little more than an illegal act. He struck me as a completely worthless human being. And I couldn't for the life of me understand why fate had chosen to usher him safely into old age. The pathetic self-love this man must have possessed to believe his life was more important than the barbarous acts he performed beggars belief.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    There is no way for me to rate or review this book that would do it justice. Read it. Read it now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Merna

    I loved The Pianist for a number of reasons but the supreme reason goes to Władysław Szpilman's storytelling. Szpilman writes down the struggles which he endured in order to survive in Warsaw under the occupation of the Nazis. Władysław voice never grows bitter, neither do his emotions twist to constant abhorrence and it’s why, I find myself greatly respecting him. His story was in no means told to invoke hatred or disgust towards Germans. His intention was not to spit out political statements a I loved The Pianist for a number of reasons but the supreme reason goes to Władysław Szpilman's storytelling. Szpilman writes down the struggles which he endured in order to survive in Warsaw under the occupation of the Nazis. Władysław voice never grows bitter, neither do his emotions twist to constant abhorrence and it’s why, I find myself greatly respecting him. His story was in no means told to invoke hatred or disgust towards Germans. His intention was not to spit out political statements about WWII. As mentioned on the title of the book, it was solely based on his extraordinary true story to survive when the whole of Europe went into chaos. Not to forget, it was about his determination to live long enough so that one day he could hopefully achieve his dreams. Wladyslaw Szpilman was a Polish Jew born in Warsaw. He had three siblings and two loving parents. He was a talented musician growing up. He studied in Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw and then attended the prestigious Academy of Arts in Berlin before Hitler was in power. He then worked at a polish radio performing Jazz and classical music. But in 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland and developed a new general government which established a ghetto in Warsaw, specifically for Jews. Life for Władysław turned into a daily torture. Hunger and illness sweeped every corner of the streets in the ghetto. Senseless hate by the Nazis and unjustified murder led Szpilman to escape rather than await his death. However, survival behind the walls of the Warsaw ghetto proves to be as difficult as a rapid death. “Tomorrow I must begin a new life. How could I do it, with nothing but death behind me? What vital energy could I draw from death?” Szpilman, out of all odds, survived the six year war. Considering all he underwent, it did not leave him with a taste of vengeance and animosity. I thought at first that if I read more in-between the lines then I would catch some slight repugnance towards the Germans, but Władysław displayed none whatsoever. I was not the only one curious about this, so when the book reached the epilogue (written by a German poet Wolf Biermann), I finally had my answer, which strengthens my respect for Szpilman. “One thing strikes me; Szpilman’s emotional register seems to include no desire for revenge. We once had a conversation in Warsaw; he had toured the world as a pianist and was now sitting, exhausted, at his old grand piano, which needed tuning. He made an almost childish remark, half ironically but half in deadly earnest. “When I was young man I studied in music for two years in Berlin. I just can’t make Germans out…they were so extremely musical!” I will lastly talk about Captain Wilm Hosenfeld (who I can't help but include in my review). Captain Wilm appeared as if something out of a fairy tale: the one good guy among a sea of cruel men. Hosenfeld helped Szpilman survive when he was closest to his death. Captain Wilm is very much a hero with his capability to clearly draw the line between wrong and right when countless others in Germany were utterly and completely swayed by the Nazi Ideology. The book gives an extract from the diary of Hosenfeld. His opinion is straightforward and clear on how villainous he thought the Nazis were. “It is hard to believe all this, and I try not to, not so much of anxiety for the future of our nation, which will have to pay for these monstrous things someday – but because I can’t believe Hitler wants such things and there are Germans who will give such order. If it so, there can only explain: they’re sick, abnormal or mad.” Overall, you might/or might not pick up The Pianist, but if you’re still interested in the story then the film version of The Pianist is also a great insight of Władysław Szpilman's survival.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ines

    This is the tragic memory reported by the pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, about his survival inside the Warsaw Ghetto; about his unfortunate and yet miraculous encounter with german SS that saved him. I must be sincere, i have read this book many years ago, well before the famous related movie came out ( that i found marvellous and intimate and very faithful to the book). I decided to read it again with my 14 years old daughter due to her homework asked by her teacher for italian literature. The story This is the tragic memory reported by the pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman, about his survival inside the Warsaw Ghetto; about his unfortunate and yet miraculous encounter with german SS that saved him. I must be sincere, i have read this book many years ago, well before the famous related movie came out ( that i found marvellous and intimate and very faithful to the book). I decided to read it again with my 14 years old daughter due to her homework asked by her teacher for italian literature. The story of this book will go deep in your heart and soul, it is just a pity that the real feelings of the main character, Wladi, are kind of hidden to the readers, what he really felt during the last days of the Nazi emperor........ but at the end i asked myself, why, for wich reason Szpilman had to share his feelings with us ( future readers), that live in a safe, comfort and flawed world !? Memoria tragica riportata dal pianista Wladyslaw Szpilman della sua sopravvivenza dentro il ghetto di Varsavia e l'incontro fortuito e miracoloso di una SS che lo salvò., Devo essere sincera, l'avevo letto secoli fa, ben prima dell' uscita del film ( che ho trovato stupendo e ben fedele al libro). Ho deciso di rileggerlo insieme a mia figlia 14enne perchè richiesto dalla sua prof di Italiano. Una storia che entra nel cuore, purtroppo un filino arida nel trasmettere le emozioni e dei sentimenti vissuti dal protagonista in quei giorni devastanti della caduta dell' impero nazista., ma poi perchè mai avrebbe dovuto condividerle con noi belli, tranquilli e pasciuti!???

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    As always these books are so incredibly hard to read, not just to read but to understand how these cruelties could have ever happened. This book was different in that it was not only written by someone in Poland who survived the Holocaust, but someone who probably only survived because of the help of a German officer. Excerpts from this officer's diary are included in the back of the book as are explanatory notes tying everything together. The tome of the book is rather matter of fact, since it As always these books are so incredibly hard to read, not just to read but to understand how these cruelties could have ever happened. This book was different in that it was not only written by someone in Poland who survived the Holocaust, but someone who probably only survived because of the help of a German officer. Excerpts from this officer's diary are included in the back of the book as are explanatory notes tying everything together. The tome of the book is rather matter of fact, since it is written right after the war it was explained that it was written this way because the author could still not quite come to terms with the massive amounts of cruelty and lives lost. I never knew that although more Polish Jews were exterminated than elsewhere, some three to four hundred thousand Poles risked their lives to save Jews. After the war, the author continued to play piano in Poland. This was for a long time a banned book, I am glad that now everyone has the opportunity to reads this story.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dem

    The Pianist by Written immediately after the war by survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman. This book was suppressed for decades. The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and tells the story of the horrendous events that took place in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and the Jewish ghetto. This is quite a short book but it certainly packs a punch. You can almost feel the urgency of the writer to get his story down on paper and yet the story is told in such a way that you feel a confidence and a clarity th The Pianist by Written immediately after the war by survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman. This book was suppressed for decades. The Pianist is a stunning testament to human endurance and tells the story of the horrendous events that took place in Nazi-occupied Warsaw and the Jewish ghetto. This is quite a short book but it certainly packs a punch. You can almost feel the urgency of the writer to get his story down on paper and yet the story is told in such a way that you feel a confidence and a clarity that almost makes you feel connected . This is a story of one man's survival in a city devastated by war and how his will to survive keeps him alive. This first-hand account of the Jewish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, gave me a fantastic and important detailed insight regarding Warsaw, its people and the events leading up to the Warsaw Rising of 1944. I have read quite a few books on the War and the holocaust but this book looks at events from a completely different perspective and I found it very refreshing. “Every war casts up certain small groups among ethnic populations minorities too cowardly to fight openly, too insignificant to play an independent political part, but despicable enough to act as paid executioners to one of the fighting powers” (Quote from The Pianist). This is not an easy subject to read and yet I never felt the author set out to shock the reader but just to tell his story the way it happened to him. The one thing I did miss or thought the book lacked was emotion and I am not sure why this is, perhaps it’s the urgency to tell the story as it happened, perhaps it’s the terrible effects all the atrocities had on the author or perhaps not being a writer he is not able to convey emotion in his writing. Would I? if having enjured what this man went through be able to convey emotion. I really don’t think so. A captivating read that will certainly stay with me and I feel I learned a little more about this time in history.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mikey B.

    This book contains horrendous passages on the holocaust in Warsaw – the ghettoization of the Jewish people – and then their subsequent removal to death camps which happened to the authors entire family. What was most shocking to me were the random acts of killings that the author witnessed that could occur at any moment. No one was safe from brutality. I did find this book helped me to understand more the movie “Schindler’s List” such as the Jewish police that worked with the Nazis. As with most a This book contains horrendous passages on the holocaust in Warsaw – the ghettoization of the Jewish people – and then their subsequent removal to death camps which happened to the authors entire family. What was most shocking to me were the random acts of killings that the author witnessed that could occur at any moment. No one was safe from brutality. I did find this book helped me to understand more the movie “Schindler’s List” such as the Jewish police that worked with the Nazis. As with most autobiographies I did find certain omissions. For example, I still cannot understand how in the “umschlagplatz” (the rail station where Jews were gathered prior to embarkation to the death camps) the author became separated from his family. Who called out his name and physically grabbed him away from his family? This was a key turning point in his life. I found the two essays at the end of the book to be really interesting. After reading the diary excerpts from the German officer Wilm Hosenfeld, who can doubt that the German people did not know of the atrocities going on in Eastern Europe? The essay by Wolf Biermann is exactly how I felt about the book (from page 212) – “Readers will notice that although this book was written amidst the still smouldering ashes of the Second World War, its language is surprisingly cool. Wladyslaw Szpilman describes his recent sufferings with an almost melancholy detachment.” I would feel this to be a necessary coping mechanism for dealing with this most brutal period of the author’s life.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Śmierć miasta = The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45, Władysław Szpilman The Pianist is a memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman in which he describes his life in Warsaw in occupied Poland during World War II. After being forced with his family to live in the Warsaw ghetto, Szpilman manages to avoid deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp, and from his hiding places around the city witnesses the Warsaw ghetto uprising i Śmierć miasta = The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45, Władysław Szpilman The Pianist is a memoir by the Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman in which he describes his life in Warsaw in occupied Poland during World War II. After being forced with his family to live in the Warsaw ghetto, Szpilman manages to avoid deportation to the Treblinka extermination camp, and from his hiding places around the city witnesses the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1943 and the Warsaw uprising (the rebellion by the Polish resistance) the following year. He survives in the ruined city with the help of friends and strangers, including Wilm Hosenfeld, a German army captain who admires his piano playing. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه جولای سال 2014 میلادی عنوان: پیانیست : دفتر خاطرات سالهای 1939 تا 1945 میلادی؛ نویسنده: ولادیسلاو اشپیلمان؛ ژرژ پطرسی؛ تهران، انتشارات ماهی؛ 1393؛ در 228 ص؛ شابک: 9789642091980؛ موضوع: جنگ جهانگیر دوم - قتل عام یهودیان - سرگذشتنامه موسیقیدانان یهودی لهستان - قرن 20 م عنوان فیلم: پیانیست؛ کارگردان: رومن پولانسکی؛ تهیه‌ کننده: آلبرت س. رودی؛ نویسنده کتاب: ولادیسلاو اشپیلمن؛ نویسنده فیلمنامه: رونالد هاروود ؛ بازیگران: آدرین برودی؛ توماس کرچمان؛ فرنک فینالی؛ مورین لیپمن؛ امیلیا فاکس؛ موسیقی: ووچیچ کیلار؛ فیلم‌برداری: پاول ادلمن؛ تدوین: ؛ Hervé de Luze تاریخ‌های انتشار: 4 دسامبر، 2002 میلادی (آمریکا)؛ مدت زمان: 150 دقیقه؛ کشور: انگلستان، آلمان، فرانسه و لهستان؛ زبان: انگلیسی، آلمانی، روسی؛ ا. شربیانی

  11. 5 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    This memoir is simply one of the best ever written on the Warsaw Ghetto, and has a significant educational, historical, and literary value that the world should never forget. Szpilman, a Jewish classical pianist, played the last of his live music from Warsaw before Polish Radio went off the air in September 1939 as the Nazis invaded Poland. In a tone that is at once dispassionate and immediate, Szpilman relates the terrible horrors of life inside the ghetto. This book has a glaring clarity to it, This memoir is simply one of the best ever written on the Warsaw Ghetto, and has a significant educational, historical, and literary value that the world should never forget. Szpilman, a Jewish classical pianist, played the last of his live music from Warsaw before Polish Radio went off the air in September 1939 as the Nazis invaded Poland. In a tone that is at once dispassionate and immediate, Szpilman relates the terrible horrors of life inside the ghetto. This book has a glaring clarity to it, and he brings to life the banalities of this gut-wrenching existence that was heartbreaking, shocking, and unforgettable. He shows how Jewish residents of the Polish capital adjusted to life under the occupation, and there are times, when he describes with calm detachment devoid of fury the many corpses littered about the streets of the ghetto, and the daily public executions, that you feel he may still be shell-shocked. Hiding out in various buildings, after escaping a train ride to death, and working in a labour camp, there were many times when he thought this is the end, and even planned his suicide with the Nazis closing in. only for him to survive another day, another week, another month, and so on. What he endured is a testament to the human spirit, he simply found a way to keep going, while hell was everywhere around him. His writing I found his lucid prose had more in common with say Primo Levi than with the morally urgent style of Elie Wiesel, and Szpilman, all things considering, is a great observer of all the things going on around him, and leaves no doubt, this book will forever live on in the hearts and minds of those who have read it. The fact I'd seen the film many times over, didn't hamper the book at all. A masterpiece of non-fiction.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Missy J

    Monument of the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw today. I don't know how to write a review for such a horrifying account of what Wladyslaw Szpilman experienced as a Jew in Warsaw during the Holocaust. His writing is very dispassionate and precise, yet he really brought forth the horrors of the war and his daily life struggles with losing his family, hunger, stress, uncertainty and fear at that time. I was also very much inspired by how strong his instincts were in certain situations. It's incredible how d Monument of the Umschlagplatz in Warsaw today. I don't know how to write a review for such a horrifying account of what Wladyslaw Szpilman experienced as a Jew in Warsaw during the Holocaust. His writing is very dispassionate and precise, yet he really brought forth the horrors of the war and his daily life struggles with losing his family, hunger, stress, uncertainty and fear at that time. I was also very much inspired by how strong his instincts were in certain situations. It's incredible how during times of stress, our body can communicate with us so strongly in favor of survival. Often times, I had to stop and reflect how humans are able to do these cruel acts to each other. How could the soldiers follow and carry out those cold-hearted orders without any emotions or rationale? What makes the Holocaust especially gruesome is the systematic "war-machine" approach to exterminate certain peoples, in particular the Jews. Even though I've read my share of Holocaust-accounts (I went to a German school), I still get shivers thinking that everything described in the book actually took place in real life. Very thought-provoking and important read. Thank you Mr. Wladyslaw Szpilman for recording this down.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    I've read a lot about World War II, but I'd never fully grasped the complete destruction, the utter devastation of the city of Warsaw. Hitler was like a bratty child with a toy he'd rather destroy than share with anyone else. When he knew he was going to lose the war, he ordered that Warsaw be reduced to rubble. Among the ruins there was a Jewish musician named Wladyslaw Szpilman who had managed to survive for six years, and a German named Wilm Hosenfeld who saved Szpilman's life one last time. I've read a lot about World War II, but I'd never fully grasped the complete destruction, the utter devastation of the city of Warsaw. Hitler was like a bratty child with a toy he'd rather destroy than share with anyone else. When he knew he was going to lose the war, he ordered that Warsaw be reduced to rubble. Among the ruins there was a Jewish musician named Wladyslaw Szpilman who had managed to survive for six years, and a German named Wilm Hosenfeld who saved Szpilman's life one last time. I read this entire book in 24 hours. Szpilman wrote his account immediately after the war ended, so you can sometimes feel that sense of urgency, that need to pour everything out onto the page and purge himself so he could begin to recover and build a new life. He had a long career as a performer and composer, and died in 2000. The book also includes some excerpts from the diary of Wilm Hosenfeld. He didn't personally kill or brutalize anyone during the war, but he never flinched from the collective responsibility of the German people for what they allowed Hitler to do to the world. It was later discovered that Hosenfeld had also helped other Jews during the war. I hope he did finally get his tree on the Avenue of the Just in Yad Vashem.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    Please read the GR book description. There are different versions. Read this one: The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45. What is said is accurate.Rewriting what already exists and says what should be said is a waste of time. It is stated in the first paragraph that the author writes “with a dispassionate restraint”. This is correct too. I believe this explains why my rating is three stars. The information provided is clear and well presented, but not writt Please read the GR book description. There are different versions. Read this one: The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939–45. What is said is accurate.Rewriting what already exists and says what should be said is a waste of time. It is stated in the first paragraph that the author writes “with a dispassionate restraint”. This is correct too. I believe this explains why my rating is three stars. The information provided is clear and well presented, but not written with any special flair. How Wladyslaw Szpilmanhe gets saved is pretty darn amazing. You should read this book even if you have read many other Holocaust books about the Warsaw ghetto. Each survivor’s story is different. Reading this story will not be a repeat of that which you have read before. There are portions that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat—the suspense is gripping. Wilm Hosenfeld’s criticism of the Nazis is blatant. That he dares to express such negative views in writing, albeit in a personal diary, does surprise me. Did these diary entries actually exist? In any case, we are told so. Laurence Dobiesz narrates the audiobook very well, and so the narration I am giving four stars. It is clear and easy to follow. It is read at a good pace. The words are distinct. When I give a book three stars, it means I like it, it is worth reading and I recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    RJ Corby

    I became interested in reading "The Pianist" after seeing the excellent movie, directed by Roman Polanski, that was based on the book. After thoroughly enjoying the movie, I had very high hopes for this tome, and I was not disappointed. This book is a stunner, bringing to life the horrific conditions and brutality that Wladyslaw Szpilman endured to survive six years of Nazi brutality in Warsaw, Poland. What's truly amazing about this book is how Szpilman tells the story with a sense of detachment I became interested in reading "The Pianist" after seeing the excellent movie, directed by Roman Polanski, that was based on the book. After thoroughly enjoying the movie, I had very high hopes for this tome, and I was not disappointed. This book is a stunner, bringing to life the horrific conditions and brutality that Wladyslaw Szpilman endured to survive six years of Nazi brutality in Warsaw, Poland. What's truly amazing about this book is how Szpilman tells the story with a sense of detachment - the barbaric killing that he sees up close; his final moments with his family, when he realizes shortly after they are gone that will never see them again; his bearing witness to the piles and piles of corpses; and mindless executions for some minor infraction, etc. Szpilman writes it all in stunning, unforgettable prose. It baffles the mind how he was able to keep his wits about him and survive after suffering and witnessing such unspeakable horrors at the hands of such barbarians, and in the end his survival may well have hinged on the kindness of a Nazi Captain, Wilm Hosenfeld. The fact that a Nazi helped him live is too unbelievable to be fiction after all that Szpilman had witnessed and endured - it must be true, and this story is. The Pianist is a remarkable story that will be every bit as powerful hundreds of years from now. The Washington Post calls this book "historically indispensable," and that is right on the mark. The book sits along side Anne Frank's tome as required Holocaust reading. Adding excerpts of Hosenfeld's diary at the end of the book makes this read all the more powerful. Hosenfeld's story is an amazing one, which reminded me of Oskar Schindler, since he, like Schindler, did much to save many Jews. Hosenfeld's diary entries in the back of the book add much to the story and torpedoes the assumption that every single Nazi had no heart and enjoyed the killings (although an overwhelming majority did, in this reviewer's opinion). This book is invaluable to Holocaust scholars and World War II students alike. And since I watched the movie before I read the book, I can attest that the movie was right on the mark in terms of accuracy. Very highly recommended reading. (Orig. Review - Dec. '04)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    The Pianist is the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman and his remarkable story survival in Warsaw during the years of Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945. It tells how he survived against the odds , hiding in various parts of the city , before his life was saved by a German officer , who despised the Nazis brutality and genocide , a true righteous gentile , Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. Unlike many personal holocaust accounts , which are of concentration and death camps , this one is an account of life and death The Pianist is the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman and his remarkable story survival in Warsaw during the years of Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945. It tells how he survived against the odds , hiding in various parts of the city , before his life was saved by a German officer , who despised the Nazis brutality and genocide , a true righteous gentile , Captain Wilm Hosenfeld. Unlike many personal holocaust accounts , which are of concentration and death camps , this one is an account of life and death in the Warsaw ghetto. Szpilman describes life and death in the ghetto : the disease , the starvation and the Nazi mass murders of hundreds of thousands of men , women and children , including how the Nazis killed Jewish children , by seizing them by the legs and swinging their heads into brick walls. Next to Szpilman's account are moving extracts from Hosenfeld's diary. In his diary Wilm Hosenfeld described his conscience and his hatred of totalitarian brutality , describing the horrors of the French Revolution and the horrific atrocities of the Bolshevik revolution , who'se leaders and footsoldiers acted without compassion or conscience , believing in the totality and infinite importance of their causes. It was a war against Christianity and against descency , as was the Nazi war to destroy the Jews and other entire nations. He speaks of the total moral bankruptcy of Nazism and his disgust at it's rotten moral core and bloodthirsty savage evil. Hosenfeld was captured by the Soviets after the war and died seven years later in a hideous Soviet Gulag. Similarly voices of conscience have arisen from time to time against evil systems , such as Andrei Sakharov , who challenged the ultimate tyranny of the Soviet Union and more recently Mosab Hassan Yousef, son a Hamas terror chieftain and now an an apostle of truth and co-existence , who now condemmns Arab terror , and the war of destruction and hideous propaganda against Israel. In the epilogue by Wolf Biermann , Biermann describes how "everyone knows how horribly the infection of anti-Semitism traditionally raged among 'the Poles' , but few know that at the same time no other nation hid so many Jews from the Nazis. If you hid a Jew in France , the penalty was prison , or a concentration camp , in Germany it cost you your life - but in Poland it cost the lives of your entire family". Lastly Hosenfeld makes the plea that a tree is planted at Yad Vashem in the honor of Wilm Hosenfeld , among those of the thousands of other righteous gentiles honoured at the holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Negin

    This book is an amazing memoir of a Jew’s survival in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Szpilman does not sound at all bitter or angry. His writing is in fact rather detached and dispassionate. The reason may be is that he wrote it shortly after the war and was still suffering all the terrible after-effects and shock. The German officer’s diary was fascinating. What an incredible angel of a man. That’s all I have to say. The kindness of strangers so often brings me to tears. In fact, retelling his part of t This book is an amazing memoir of a Jew’s survival in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Szpilman does not sound at all bitter or angry. His writing is in fact rather detached and dispassionate. The reason may be is that he wrote it shortly after the war and was still suffering all the terrible after-effects and shock. The German officer’s diary was fascinating. What an incredible angel of a man. That’s all I have to say. The kindness of strangers so often brings me to tears. In fact, retelling his part of the story to my husband over coffee, had me sobbing. He's one of those special souls that I simply don't want to forget. I saw the movie ten years ago and I think that the movie version may be more powerful than the book, except that I don’t recall the German officer part being included. For me, that part of the book was extremely moving. I’d really like to see the movie again.

  18. 4 out of 5

    AMEERA

    best book talking about war I recommend it

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    Other children tried appealing to people’s consciences, pleading with them. “We are so very, very hungry. We haven’t eaten anything for ages. Give us a little bit of bread, or if you don’t have any bread then a potato or an onion, just to keep us alive till morning.” But hardly anyone had that onion, and if he did he could not find it in his heart to give it away, for the war had turned his heart to stone. The Pianist is a two hundred page memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman from Warsaw. He is a twent Other children tried appealing to people’s consciences, pleading with them. “We are so very, very hungry. We haven’t eaten anything for ages. Give us a little bit of bread, or if you don’t have any bread then a potato or an onion, just to keep us alive till morning.” But hardly anyone had that onion, and if he did he could not find it in his heart to give it away, for the war had turned his heart to stone. The Pianist is a two hundred page memoir of Wladyslaw Szpilman from Warsaw. He is a twenty-eight year old Jewish pianist of some renown around Warsaw at the outset of the war. We know from the intro that Szpilman somehow survives the war and pens the memoir in 1946 and continues on with his life and career in Warsaw afterwards. The Pianist is one of the most widely read holocaust stories and for good reason. So what is it that makes this memoir so exceptional? The truth. As with all of the holocaust, one can’t make up stories so cruel and heart wrenching. The storytelling is consistent and riveting throughout his six year experience. The perspective is unique because the story focuses exclusively on Warsaw. The largest number of Jews murdered by the Nazis came from here. The Pianist is ultimately a survivor story and is, by nature of the holocaust, an inherently dramatic read, it is largely a matter of getting the experiences down on paper in a lyrical story telling way. There is also an additional plot element that unfolds near the end of the book and continues in the epilogue, the story of a German soldier who Szpilman meets that makes this book even more special. 5 stars easy. One of the best memoirs that I have read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I just finished the last page of this Holocaust memoir during a rare silence in my house, which matched the spirit of this book and the sob in my throat. But, let me back up for a moment. I watched the movie "The Pianist" when it originally premiered and basically went into the fetal position as it ended and again pronounced "No more Holocaust movies for me." But, as our son is preparing to audition on piano for colleges in the fall, this movie came back to my mind, and I remembered that "The Pian I just finished the last page of this Holocaust memoir during a rare silence in my house, which matched the spirit of this book and the sob in my throat. But, let me back up for a moment. I watched the movie "The Pianist" when it originally premiered and basically went into the fetal position as it ended and again pronounced "No more Holocaust movies for me." But, as our son is preparing to audition on piano for colleges in the fall, this movie came back to my mind, and I remembered that "The Pianist" had a great love for the Romantics, as does our son. Maybe it would inspire him? So, we watched the movie again, and this time I started thinking, "Who was this guy? What's the source of information for the story?" Twenty minutes later, I had ordered a 3-CD collection of Wladyslaw Szpilman's music and his memoir. Here we are. Mr. Szpilman wrote his story directly after the war, and, as his son writes in the Foreword, "My father Wladyslaw Szpilman is not a writer." No, not exactly; yet his account of what happened to him, his family and his people in Warsaw, Poland from 1939 to 1945 pulls you in immediately and sucks everything else from the room. He was clearly in shock as he wrote it, and it often has the feel of an out-of-body experience, but it's what saves the reader from being completely and utterly destroyed by the details of this true story. At one of the ugliest (if not the ugliest) points in human history, when man felt certain that God had turned his face away, Szpilman's story represents a counterpoint of a man who seemed to have the intervention of the Divine at every corner. His story is unbelievable to the point of seeming fictional, and yet it's true. Compelling, numbing, mystifying, terrifying and strangely beautiful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Huether

    Wladyslaw Szpilman was a pianist in Warsaw Poland for the Polish Radio from 1945 to 1963. He also played on the Radio program before WWll. He and his parents, brother and sisters lived in the Jewish ghetto. His family all were captured and sent to the exterminations camps. Wladyslaw spent most of his time hiding in different flats in the ghetto. He had counted 30 times that soldiers had entered his flat. He often hid in the attic. Near the end of the war he was befriended by a German officer who a Wladyslaw Szpilman was a pianist in Warsaw Poland for the Polish Radio from 1945 to 1963. He also played on the Radio program before WWll. He and his parents, brother and sisters lived in the Jewish ghetto. His family all were captured and sent to the exterminations camps. Wladyslaw spent most of his time hiding in different flats in the ghetto. He had counted 30 times that soldiers had entered his flat. He often hid in the attic. Near the end of the war he was befriended by a German officer who asked him to play the piano. He played Chopin for him. The officer left him bread and jam and a mens coat and an elderdown blanket. After the war he was able to make contact with the officers family to show his gratitude.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Excellent book! Great info and reading. Definitely recommend this to everyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ram

    There were two scenes from holocaust movies that shocked me and I remember well but until reading this book was not sure from what movie they were: One is the scene where during a raid, the German soldiers burst into a room where Jews are living and they throw an old man with his wheelchair out of the window. The other is when the whole family are rounded in order to be deported to Treblinka and they buy one overpriced caramel chocolate from a boy and split it into six and eat it. Of course they we There were two scenes from holocaust movies that shocked me and I remember well but until reading this book was not sure from what movie they were: One is the scene where during a raid, the German soldiers burst into a room where Jews are living and they throw an old man with his wheelchair out of the window. The other is when the whole family are rounded in order to be deported to Treblinka and they buy one overpriced caramel chocolate from a boy and split it into six and eat it. Of course they were both from the movie adaptation of this book that I watched many years ago. This book impressed me in many ways. It is the amazing survival of the author, Władysław Szpilman, a Polish Jew in German occupied Warsaw. Beginning before the war and going through the bombing of Warsaw, the German occupation, the laws against Jews, the Ghetto, the liquidation of the Ghetto, the uprising of the Ghetto, the Warsaw uprising and its consequences (the Germans practically destroyed the city) and the liberation. It is a shocking story, but a story that needs to be told and heard. In this hellish world, there are some rays of light in the form of Poles and a German who helped the author and he owes them his life. One thing (among others) that impressed me is that on both sides of the holocaust there were normal people who were thrown in a completely un-normal situation. This gives us direction to understand the behavior of some of the people involved. Specifically the behavior of the Jews, to some extent the behavior of some of the Poles. The behavior and atrocities of practically all the Germans and the Poles, Ukrainians and Latvians that actively helped them has not justification. They were human animals that lost all sense of justice and humanity. I do recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the holocaust and specifically, first eye witness holocaust accounts.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Wladyslaw Szpilman was a trained pianist, a Pole, and a Jew, and in The Pianist, he explains how he survived World War II in the Warsaw Ghetto. It sounds like the sort of book you'd want your kids to read in high school, so I was surprised to learn that The Pianist was a "banned" book. You can believe the subtitle: this memoir of "one man's survival" is indeed extraordinary. The Jews within the ghetto were killed by the German police, they died of hunger, and they were gathered into cattle cars a Wladyslaw Szpilman was a trained pianist, a Pole, and a Jew, and in The Pianist, he explains how he survived World War II in the Warsaw Ghetto. It sounds like the sort of book you'd want your kids to read in high school, so I was surprised to learn that The Pianist was a "banned" book. You can believe the subtitle: this memoir of "one man's survival" is indeed extraordinary. The Jews within the ghetto were killed by the German police, they died of hunger, and they were gathered into cattle cars and taken to concentration and death camps. This last happened to Szpilman's family. Survivors did mount a resistance, and they too were killed. I'd read about all of these things before and had even seen many of them mentioned directly or indirectly in films, but Szpilman's account is nevertheless quite moving. Szpilman's son writes in the Foreward that his father must have been searching for answers while writing this book immediately after the war. However, Szpilman resists the urge to search for answers in his writing, choosing instead to share what he witnessed and endured. I think his account of the typhus epidemic will stay with me for a long time. Szpilman recalls that, at one point, as many as 5000 people died of typhus per month. Lice, he explains, were everywhere in the ghetto, and each louse could potentially carry the disease. Before he could come into his family's apartment, Szpilman's mother would inspect his clothing, remove the lice, and drown them in a bowl of spirits. In spite of precautions like these, the dead piled up in the streets faster than they could be taken away, and although this was the "modern age," it was still a time when you walked to work each day. Szpilman did, and this is arguably not the worst thing that he saw. I wonder whether anyone but a survivor could imagine the details Szpilman shares. For example, the disease was on everyone's mind, which we might expect. Szpilman goes on to explain how the poor wondered when they would die of typhus and the rich planned how they could obtain a vaccination against it. Though Szpilman did not come from a rich family, his profession did bring him into contact with that class. He explains how they would enter the cafe where he played and discuss business and their smuggling operations. They did not believe in charity, Szpilman explains, because "if you worked as hard as they did then you would earn as much too: it was open to everyone to do so, and if you didn’t know how to get on in life that was your own fault." Although we hear a similar refrain from the wealthy today, I was surprised to hear these statements coming out of the Warsaw ghetto in the midst of the Holocaust. Stories like these do little to add to our faith in humanity, do they. However, there are moments of great courage and compassion in this text. It is not uncommon to hear people consider what lessons or realizations we should take away from accounts like Szpilman's. Although our need to make sense of stories like these is understandable, perhaps our desire to find a simple narrative should give us pause, particularly in light of The Pianist's publication history. Szpilman published The Pianist in 1946, under the title "Death of a City." Szpilman's son explains in the Foreword how this book was not published again for another fifty years, saying only that the Soviet "authorities had their reasons" for rejecting it. Wolf Biermann's note in the Epilogue goes on to explain that books like this "contained too many painful truths about the collaboration of defeated Russians, Poles, Ukrainians, Latvians and Jews with the German Nazis. Even in Israel, people did not want to hear about such things." I was surprised to read this, but Szpilman's description of the Jewish police within the ghetto comes to mind. “You could have said, perhaps, that they had caught the Gestapo spirit. As soon as they put on their uniforms and police caps and picked up their rubber truncheons, their natures changed … That did not prevent them from forming a police jazz band which, incidentally, was excellent.” Szpilman's memoir contains many such moments of bitter irony. The Pianist is not a book that will allow us to sit comfortably with our easy answers to life's questions. For example, Szpilman was saved by a German captain near the end of the war. Captain Wilm Hosenfeld feels that God intended for them to survive "in this inferno for five years," but after the war he was detained as a criminal and sent away to die in a Soviet internment camp. I found The Pianist a remarkably powerful read. It is one of those rare memoirs that should not only be read because we'd like our children to learn Szpilman's experiences, but also because it is very well written. I recommend it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Karolina Kat

    It is not possible to evaluate a personal account of losing everyone and going through hell.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    The introduction to this book by Władysław Szpilman's son Andrzej reminds the reader that his father was a musician, not a writer. Despite this, The Pianist is a powerful memoir, perhaps all the more so because it is written in this honest, guileless way. It is a slim volume but includes all of the horrifying details of the Warsaw Ghetto that you may have seen in the film version of The Pianist, starring Adrien Brody. I was quietly pleased that the director Roman Polanski (himself a survivor of The introduction to this book by Władysław Szpilman's son Andrzej reminds the reader that his father was a musician, not a writer. Despite this, The Pianist is a powerful memoir, perhaps all the more so because it is written in this honest, guileless way. It is a slim volume but includes all of the horrifying details of the Warsaw Ghetto that you may have seen in the film version of The Pianist, starring Adrien Brody. I was quietly pleased that the director Roman Polanski (himself a survivor of the Krakow ghetto) did not embellish the original; indeed there was no need to exaggerate what was already incomprehensibly ghastly. The only difference I could see was when Szpilman's final hiding place is uncovered by Hosenfeld - in the film I believe Brody was wrestling with a pickle jar which rolled across the floor and was stopped by Hosenfeld's boot. In the book he is simply caught red-handed by the German Officer. The inclusion of Hosenfeld's diaries is an important one as it details his disgust with the Nazi regime, citing examples of previous regimes that have tried to control how people think and why they can never endure. He is horrified by the daily violence carried out nonchalantly by his fellow German officers. Either stupidly or bravely, he sends his letters to his family unabridged and in normal military post but somehow they are never intercepted. Szpilman clearly regrets not being able to save Hosenfeld from Soviet hands (he died following torture in a Soviet POW camp in 1952) but it is fitting that he and his son fought to have Hosenfeld remembered not only in this memoir but also in Yad Vashem. First-hand accounts like this never fail to move me, especially when our day-to-day lives are filled with "First World problems". Szpilman himself does not seem to know how on earth he kept going, and more than once had planned his own suicide to avoid being mistreated by German soldiers if he was found. I have no idea how he came out of the other side of this war - with his family murdered, Warsaw utterly flattened and goodness knows what mental health effects from 5 and half years of mistreatment and malnourishment. He hints that repeatedly going over his musical compositions in his head whilst utterly isolated in hiding may ultimately have kept him sane. Donald Trump, take note: the wall you would like to build to keep Mexicans away from US citizens is no different from the wall the Nazis built around the streets of Warsaw to keep the Jews away from Polish citizens. Next you will be building walls within US cities. These roads always lead to the same place.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Not a lot to say. The film by Polanski was awesome and I had this book in my collection for some years before I decided I was in the right frame of mind to read it. The inhumanity inflicted upon the Polish Jews was immense, utterly barbaric, and even with all the amount of holocaust literature there is today, I doubt if we can ever really fully comprehend what the Jews must have suffered in any way at all. Books help, film helps, pictures tell the tale in a visual way. But we can never ever hope Not a lot to say. The film by Polanski was awesome and I had this book in my collection for some years before I decided I was in the right frame of mind to read it. The inhumanity inflicted upon the Polish Jews was immense, utterly barbaric, and even with all the amount of holocaust literature there is today, I doubt if we can ever really fully comprehend what the Jews must have suffered in any way at all. Books help, film helps, pictures tell the tale in a visual way. But we can never ever hope to fully grasp the horrors, the barbarism, the unkindness, the evil that they must have suffered and experienced. Over the years, I slowly started to understand a lot more about Zionism and the creation of Israel post war. If it had been your family you witnessed being sent into a cattle wagon, being split up, loosing your family and loved ones, or even witnessing your children being ripped from your arms and shot or worse, then, if you have a shred of humanity in you, I think your compassion would speak to you loudly.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma McCaul

    It's hard to know what to write about this book as it is a story of survival that leaves one speechless. Like many, I read the book after seeing the movie. I saw it twice in the cinema; it was adapted to cinema with no changes to the original book. It is an amazing testament to man's will to survive. I remember at the time thinking, whatever so called 'problems' or challenges I was facing, they were nothing. I cannot imagine what it took for Mr Szpilman to go on with his life.

  29. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    I can definitely tell why this was made into a movie. It was full of sadness, betrayal, turmoil, frustration, and most of the book takes place with the protagonist in hiding in an attic! One of the best Holocaust books I've read because I truly expressed his emotions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Salam

    Oh humanity ! Stop doing what Hitler did to you .

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