The Pianist, by Wladyslaw Szpilman…I give it five Stars!
The Pianist is the poignant and courageous story of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s determination to survive the WWII Holocaust, during the time when the German Occupation began in Warsaw, Poland. Szpilman was a pianist, a Jew, but most importantly, he was a human being, who was caught up in events he never dreamed possible. He was a gentle man, an artist, a pianist whose hands were his lifeline. The film is visually graphic with details, and we sit horrified as we watch those events unfold. The book, on the other hand, is more overwhelming and filled with details that the film did not convey, and, again, we sit horrified, as Szpilman’s words paint unspeakable atrocities and images before our eyes. We learn about the German Officer who helped him survive the last days of the German Occupation (and who has been recognized as Among The Righteous).
We are privvy to the German’s own journal, which in itself, is testimony to the atrocities forced on the Jews. The book gives us insight into this aspect that the film did not touch on. The book is a testament to Szpilman’s inner strength and courage…to his determination to start life over, once more, after the war ended, in his native city, where he lived out the rest of his life.
I keep rereading portions of this book, because I can’t let it go. It has a permanent place in my collection of books on the human condition, and books on Judaism.
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