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When Warsaw fell to the Germans on September 28, 1939, effectively ending Polish resistance, it is now estimated that there were about 3.5 million Jews living in Poland. When the war ended, some 200,000 were still alive. Among the survivors were film director Roman Polanski and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman. Polanski, now in his seventies, was a young boy, while Szpilman, who died in the year 2000 at the age of 88 in Warsaw, was in his thirties.

Like the rest of the Jewish survivors, both men had good luck, determination, and the help of others. If a Pole was caught hiding a Jew not only was he or she killed, but so was the entire family. Nonetheless, heroic Poles hid Jews, including Polanski and Szpilman. Polanski was from Krakow, while Szpilman, who was a pianist and composer, was from Warsaw. The two men first met in Los Angeles in 1967, and then, many years later, in Warsaw. At this time Polanski optioned Szpilman's account of his wartime experience for a film. The first version of...

Keywords

Hiding Place Polish Radio German Officer Railway Siding Fast Music 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

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