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Wladyslaw Szpilman Essay

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Wladyslaw Szpilman. The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945. (New York: Picador, 1999). [ISBN: 978-0-312-26376-8]

The Pianist is the story of Wladyslaw Szpilman’s experiences leading to up, and throughout the German invasion/occupation of Poland. He writes an emotional autobiography about his trials, and experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. Throughout his journey, Szpilman must attempt to navigate the rapidly changing political and social situation in Warsaw. He gives us an overview (highlighting the important events) of his family’s journey from a Jewish family of moderate standing (thanks to his exceptional piano playing) stripped of their possessions, their home, and finally each other. Within all of this turmoil, Szpilman survives every danger and ordeal to document his journey after the Russian Army at the end of World War II liberates Warsaw.

Throughout the story, the focus remains limited to what is happening inside the Warsaw Ghetto, and the immediate area in Poland. Most of what is reported to the author in the writing comes secondhand from outside the Ghetto sourced from rumor and hearsay. This fact highlights the stress and uncertainty within Warsaw prior to the German occupation, which is a substantial sub-plot
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With the rise of deportations and resettlements rising throughout the book, he goes to great lengths to acquire work passes that will add value to his family members as the Germans consistently look for new reasons to deport, and gas most of the Jewish population of the ghetto. (p.104) This is highlighted throughout the book as there are numerous statements made about German cars arriving at many different houses, at different times to either kill or remove the residents. These add to the theme of uncertainty that is a major tone throughout the book that I touched on earlier in my
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