The Pianist: Study Guide
The Pianist Study Guide People Descriptions 1 . Wladyslaw Szpllman – a Polish pianist and classical composer that battled through life In Warsaw as a Jew. 2.
Father – the father of Wladyslaw Szpilman; taught music lessons as a Job 3. Mother – the mother of Wladyslaw Szpilman; taught music lessons as a Job 4. Reglna – the sister of Wladyslaw Szpllman; she had a Job as a lawyer 5. Hallna – the sister of Wladyslaw Szpllman; taught music lessons as a Job 6.
Henryk – the brother of Wladyslaw Szpilman; taught English as a Job 7.
MaJorek – delivers sacks of potatoes to city daily while smuggling ammunition underneath them . Czeslaw Lewlckl – a former colleague from the radio station; gives Wladyslaw Szpllman a bachelor flat to hide In 9. Mrs. Malczewska – brings Wladyslaw Szpilman supplies while he hides in the flat 10. Zbigniew Jaworski – a former colleague from the radio station; allows Wladyslaw Szpilman to stay with him for a while 1 1 -Helena Lewlcka – Mrs.
Jaworska’s sister-in-law; looked after Wladyslaw Szpllman when he was under ailment vocaoulary terms 1 . Parvenus – A person of obscure origin who has gained wealth, influence, or celebrity Sentence: The parvenus brush against the walls of the ghetto, blinded from the uthless annihilation that is taking place beyond them. 2. Agog – very eager or curious to hear or see something Sentence: The Jews were agog to discover whether the Germans had been defeated by France yet. 3.
Surreptitiously – to keep something a secret Sentence: The Jews smuggled the bread surreptitiously in order to stay alive. 4. Paradox – a statement that apparently contradicts itself and yet might be true Sentence: The thought of being sent into a gas chamber was paradox. 5. Billeted – lodged soldiers in a particular place (Ex: a civilian’s house or other nonmilitary facility) Sentence: The German soldiers were billeted in the buildings of Warsaw 6. Lieder – a type of German song Sentence: Szpilman and the other Jews listened to many lieder in the Caf©.
. 1ntelligentsia – intellectuals or highly educated people as a group Sentence: The intelligentsia tried to come up with a way to overthrow the German soldiers. 8. Uncanny – strange or mysterious in an unsettling way Sentence: The uncanny Jew that lived above us seemed to have a connection with the Germans. 9. Truncheons – short, thick sticks carried as a weapon by a police officer Sentence: The German soldiers beat the Jews wickedly with their truncheons, leaving hem with excruciating pain.
lempestuously – cnaracterlzea Dy vlolent emotlons or Denavlor Sentence: The starving Jew attacked another for his soup tempestuously. Timeline 1939: The execution of the first hundred innocent citizens of Warsaw 1940: Wladyslaw Szpilman begins his career in the Caf© Nowoczesna 1940: Paris falls 1942: The Szpilman family are moved to a camp via train while Henryk and Halina were left behind; Wladyslaw Szpilman escapes 1943: Germans enter the building Wladyslaw Szpilman is hiding in as he prepares to take his own life; escapes death yet again Comparison Chart
Szpilman’s Life Before the Holocaust Szpilman’s Life After the Holocaust In 1934, he tours Poland with US violinist, Bronislav Gimpel Writes a memoir about his Journey of survival through the holocaust in Warsaw of 1945, shortly after World War II. In 1935, he Joins Polish Radio, where he worked as a pianist performing classical and jazz music Resumes his Job at Polish Radio in 1945 after the war has ended I IY31, ne was a student 0T tne prestlglous Academy o where he studied the piano n Ber n, Germany, Receives an award from the Polish Composers Union in 1955 for composing 40 songs for children
In 1939, he was a celebrity and a featured soloist at the Polish Radio Retires from touring in 1986 and devotes his life entirely to composing His compositions included orchestral works, piano pieces, but also music for films, as well as around 50 songs, which were very popular in Poland Died July 6, 2000 When Wladyslaw Szpilman Escapes Death 1 . The police officer allows Szpilman, Henryk, and Father to live because Just like Szpilman, he is a musician himself. 2.
A police officer pulls Szpilman away from going aboard the train to his death and allows him to escape through open gates of the compound that led to the streets. 0n the verge of death with ailment, Helena Lewicka comes and takes care of Szpilman’s terrible condition, which gradually recovered his health. 4. As a woman was beating down Szpilman’s door and asked for the pass that he needed to live in the flat he was staying in, he pushed past the woman, ran down the stairs, reached the entrance, and ran out into the street. Journal Entry 1 16 August 1942 The day had finally come around for my family and I to be carried out at the collecting centre, yet only Henryk and Halina were passed as still fit to work.
Soon, Father, Regina and I were told to go back to the barracks.
Once we had arrived, the building was surrounded and the sudden sound of a whistle in the yard raided our ears. At this point, there was no use of struggling any more. I had done all I possibly could to keep my loved ones and myself safe but there was no use of trying to anymore. Hopefully at least Halina and Henryk would live better lives than the rest of us.
The Germans have control of our fate now and it had obviously been that way Trom tne outset. we tnrew on our clotnes quickly as snouts ana snots were broadcasted throughout the yard, urging everyone to hasten.
Mother had packed a mall bundle with anything that could be of use, and then we scattered down the stairs. From this point on I knew that our lives would be hanging from a branch of impetuous death. Once we had arrived at the Umschlagplatz, it was still quite empty.
People scurried around in search of any water that they could find. Decaying corpses blanketed the floor, encompassing the compound in a horrific aroma of death. Bereavement would soon be within our reach. As our lives slipped away from us, my family and I settled down comfortably awaiting the arrival of the train. But then, as I am waiting, I cannot believe my eyes!
In the new group for resettlement I see Halina and Henryk! Alas, all I have done to help protect part of my family has gone to waste; I had failed my family once again. Engulfed with grief, the train had finally arrived.
My family and I made our over to the train when someone had called my name and grabbed me by the arm. I cried out for Papa but all he did was wave goodbye to me. Terrified by being separated from all of them, the police officer tells me to make a run for it tempestuously. I took a glance at the open compound leading to the streets and dashed towards them. I had escaped death yet again. Journal Entry 2 June 1943
A couple of days ago, I had wondered whether or not the Germans were really going to come.
My nerves boiled with the thought of them arriving. Sometimes I wished they would have come as soon as possible. These torments were Just too much for me to suffer any longer. I was at a Breaking point! That night I had geared my way of suicide to hinging myself rather that Jumping off of the balcony. To me, this death seemed easier, Just a quiet and simple way to live this hell hole.
Without turning on the light, I scrutinized the room in search of something that could serve as a rope, and I finally had found one behind the bookshelf.
But then, at eleven on a Friday morning a few days later, as I was lying on the couch after an almost insomniac night, I heard shots going off out in the street. I scurried to the window and was suddenly alarmed by the amount of soldiers the flooded the entire width of the street. They shot chaotically at the crowd that was trying to flee. After a while, some SS trucks drove into, and surrounded a large section of the street that Just so happened to be the section where my building was standing as well. Groups and Groups of the Gestapo officers filed into all of the buildings in that section and brought men dews) out of them one by one.
They had entered my building too. On that note I was sure that the Gestapo officers would find my hiding place and my life would be over with. Before they made their way into my room, I pushed a chair over to tne DooKsnelT so tnat I could reacn tne plcture nook more easlly, prepared tne noose and walked over to the door to listen out for them. The Germans’ shouts echoed on the staircase a couple floors down. Half an hour later everything had quieted down again.
I looked out my window and was shocked in disbelief of what was going on. The blockade had been lifted and the SS trucks had driven away. The Germans had not come.