Smierc miasta (The Death of the City)

  • Władysław
  • Szpilman
  • Warszawa
  • 1946
  • personal accounts
  • yes
  • no
  • Polish
  • A pianist, worked for Polskie Radio (Polish Radio), lived with his parents, brother and two sisters in Sliska Street. In the ghetto he was a pianist in Nowoczesna café in Nowolipki Street, later in a café in Sienna Street for 4 months, and finally in Sztuka café in Leszno Street. In August 1942, with his whole family, on the work detail near the Umschlagplatz, where the belongings of the deported were sorted. On 16 August after the selection he went to Uschlagplatz with his parents and siblings. Wladyslaw was pushed out from the line at the last moment. His whole family was deported. He worked on a work detail demolishing the walls of the big ghetto. He got a life number. Lives in a collective room in Gesia Street. He helped tidying up the Judenrat yard, building the SS barracks in Mokotow, a villa for the SS chief in Ujazdowskie Avenue and flats for the SS officers in Narbutta Street. From November 1942 lives in Kurza Street. He spends January action on work detail in Narbutta Street. On 13 February 1943, he didn't return to the ghetto and started to hide on the 'Aryan side.' He lives in the painting studio, later in the same house for two days at engineer Gebczynski's place at Noakowskiego Street No. 10. From the end of February 1943 he hides in studio in Pulawska Street, from where he must escape on 12 August. He is hidden by his friends for a week, later, thanks to Mrs Lewicka he moves to the room in Niepodleglosci Avenue. He witnesses the Warsaw uprising there. He escapes from the half-burnt building on 13 August and hides in an unfinished hospital building in Niepodleglosci Avenue, starving. 30 August he comes back to the ruins of the burnt house in Niepodleglosci Avenue where he had hidden before. He stays there until mid-November 1944, runs from Germans and finds a hideout in Sedziowska Street. German staff is soon placed there. Szpilman, surprised by an officer, plays the piano at his request. The Austrian officer helps him to hide secretly from Germans and gives him food. Szpilman lived there to see the liberation.