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 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 SzpilmanSzpilman 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 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 HosenfeldIt 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 memoirEvil and brutality lurk in the human heart If they are allowed to develop freely, they flourish, putting out dreadful offshootsA mere German officer seems to have had the moral strength to admitOur 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 alikeAnd yet thegreatDer F hrer, 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. I loved The Pianist for a number of reasons but the supreme reason goes to W adys aw Szpilman s storytelling Szpilman writes down the struggles which he endured in order to survive in Warsaw under the occupation of the Nazis W adys aw 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 W adys aw 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 deathTomorrow I must begin a new life How could I do it, with nothing but death behind me What vital energy could I draw from deathSzpilman, 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 in between the lines then I would catch some slight repugnance towards the Germans, but W adys aw 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 SzpilmanOne 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 musicalI 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 wereIt 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 madOverall, 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 W adys aw Szpilman s survival. 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 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 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 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 important than the barbarous acts he performed beggars belief. There is no way for me to rate or review this book that would do it justice Read it Read it now. 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 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. 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 salv.,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 perch 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 perch mai avrebbe dovuto condividerle con noi belli, tranquilli e pasciuti 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 refreshingEvery 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 powersQuote 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 about this time in history. The Last Live Broadcast On Polish Radio, On September 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 , Has Not Looked At His Description Since He Wrote It In The Same Time As Primo Levi S If This Is A Manit 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 , 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 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 ,, Jews In Poland Before The Nazi Occupation After It There Were , 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 S mierc miasta The Pianist The Extraordinary Story of One Man s Survival in Warsaw, 1939 45, W adys aw SzpilmanThe Pianist is a memoir by the Polish Jewish pianist and composer W adys aw 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 2014 1939 1945 1393 228 9789642091980 20 Herv de Luze 4 2002 150. 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 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.
Polish pianist, composer and memoirist Szpilman is widely known as the protagonist of the Roman Pola ski film The Pianist , which is based on his autobiographical book recounting how he survived the Holocaust In November 1998 W adys aw Szpilman was honoured by the president of Poland with a Kommandor Order with a Star of Polonia Restituta.
- 222 pages
- Śmierć miasta
- Władysław Szpilman
- 12 July 2019 Władysław Szpilman