Music was exclusively his politics

An interview with Halina Szpilman, widow of Władysław Szpilman

17 October 2014

Filip Mazurczak

Roman Polański’s 2002 film “The Pianist” received a plethora of well-deserved awards, including three Oscars and the coveted Palm d’Or at Cannes, and has since become a staple of historical cinema. It shows the Nazi occupation of Warsaw – the first bombs falling on the city in 1939; the herding of the city’s Jewish population into a ghetto, its liquidation and brave but tragic uprising; the city-wide Warsaw Uprising, when Varsovians stood up against the occupying Germans while the Red Army sat on the other side of the Vistula, urging them to fight while consciously failing to aid them; and the subsequent destruction that bruised Poland’s capital more than any city during the Second World War – through the eyes of Władysław Szpilman, a Polish pianist of Jewish ancestry, who survived due to good luck, a strong will to live, and the help of brave and selfless people.

Polański himself was a guest at the Szpilmans’ house when he was in Warsaw for the Polish premiere of his 1999 horror The Ninth Gate starring Johnny Depp, with music written by compatriot Wojciech Kilar, a friend of the Szpilman family. Ms. Szpilman recalls Polański and her husband chatting and joking for hours, yet the latter never thought about making a film about him. In fact, he wasn’t even aware of Szpilman’s wartime experiences.

Subscribe

Democratic security comes at a price. What is yours? By subscribing or donating now gain access to analysis, forecasts and scenarios by leading analysts and reporters who monitor democratic risks and develop policy debate from Central Europe on Central Europe.

IndividualVAT included

€4/month €40/year

See all details

  • Access to all articles
  • Download all reports
  • Monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only)
  • Weekly newsletter with most important highlights
  • Free delivery of two select hardcopies of Visegrad Insight reports (annual subscription only)
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitation

CorporateVAT included

€99/month €999/year

See all details

  • Access to all articles for all team members (up to 10 users)
  • Download all reports
  • Monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • Once a year an on-demand tailored policy brief report (annual subscription only)
  • Personal invitations to Visegrad Insight Breakfasts with an exclusive group of diplomats, decision-makers, think-tankers and foreign correspondents in the region
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only)
  • Weekly newsletter with most important highlights PLUS a first-month mention in the newsletter (annual subscription only)
  • Free delivery of up to 20 select hardcopies of Visegrad Insight reports
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access PLUS a mention in four episodes (annual subscription only)
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitations to all corporate users (annual subscription only)

Donation

Choose your contribution

See all details

  • Access to all articles
  • Download all reports
  • For every donation above 10 euros monthly foresights and risk analysis delivered by e-mail
  • One on demand tailored policy brief report for every donation above 600 euros
  • Invitations to select special events organised by Visegrad Insight for every donation above 99 euros
  • Free invitation to one editorial board discussion to participate in deciding on the future direction of the Visegrad Insight (annual subscription only with a minimum value of 1 euro per month)
  • Weekly newsletter with the most important highlights PLUS a mention in the newsletter for every donation above 25 euros
  • Delivery of a select report for a donation above 30 euros
  • Free Visegrad Insight Podcast access PLUS a podcast mention for every donation above 25 euros
  • Visegrad Insight social media community groups invitation

Can I receive an invoice?

Yes. You will receive a receipt immediately after purchase and a VAT invoice upon request. The subscription amount includes tax. In case of a donation, there is no tax.

Are my credit card details safe?

Yes. The payment is processed by STRIPE www.stripe.com entrusted also by Amazon, Zoom, Booking.com and used by other global NGOs and businesses in the world. We do not store your credit card details.

How modify or cancel my subscription?

At any moment you can manage your subscription and account details. Sign in to modify or cancel.

Newsletter

Weekly updates with our latest articles and the editorial commentary.