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Wladyslaw Szpilman
Please vote to return to collections (Voting Results will appear on Right Sidebar).
    (December 5, 1911-July 6, 2000)
    Born in Sosnowiec, Poland
    Classical pianist and composer
    Pianist for Polskie Radio (1935-39)
    Musical director for Polskie Radio (1945-63)
    Survived World War II by hiding in Warsaw
    Wrote the memoir 'Death of a City'
    Portrayed by Adrian Brody in 'The Pianist' (2001)
    His name has an awkward 'szp' combo.
    The music he composed is little known outside of Poland.
    His life story enabled statutory rapist Roman Polanski to win an Oscar.
    While he and his family were about to board the train to the Treblinka concentration camp, a Jewish policeman recognized him and yanked him out of the crowd.
    The rest of his family (mother, father, two sisters and a brother) died at Treblinka.
    He was playing a Chopin nocturne for Polskie Radio when the German invasion forced the station off the air; when the station resumed broadcasting six years later, he opened with the same piece.
    He went to the head of the Polish secret police in an effort to save Wilhelm Hosenfeld, a German officer who had helped hide him.
    His memoirs are remarkably dispassionate and free from bitterness.
    He wrote, 'One of the Poles who helped me first told me, 'I was an anti-Semite, but not anymore.' Then he went on to risk his life by hiding me.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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