Composer Biography Paper: Wladyslaw Szpilman
"I played Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor. The glassy, tinkling sound of the untuned strings rang through the empty flat and the stairway, floated through the ruins of the villa on the other side of the street and returned as a muted, melancholy echo. When I had finished, the silence seemed even gloomier and more eerie than before. A cat mewed in the street somewhere. I heard a shot down below outside the building - a harsh, loud German noise."
- Wladyslaw Szpilman
Polish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman "was born 5 December1911:
Sosnowice, Poland. He dies July 6, 2000". (Andrzej Szpilman) Szpilman was a pianist known throughout Europe when Hitler's army invaded Poland in September of 1939. During a Polish radio performance as Nazi tanks roll into Warsaw. Unmarried and still living with his parents, brother and two sisters, Szpilman was a man of mild disposition and few political interests.
He loved his music. But he's Jewish, and, caught in the crush of psychotic race hatred.
First, like all the Jews in Warsaw, Szpilman was forced to wear a Star of David on his sleeve and forbidden access to most public places. Restrictions were placed on his income. Then, he and his family were evicted from their comfortable, middle-class apartment and crowded into two rooms in a Nazi-created Jewish ghetto along with all the other Jews in the city. They were forced to do manual labor for German companies. And then they were packed into boxcars headed for Treblinka. In a miracle of happenstance, a Jewish policeman collaborating with the Nazis saved Szpilman moments before he was aboard to the death train. "From 1945 to 1963 he held the position of Director of Music at Polish Radio. During these years he composed several symphonic works...