The Pianist

by Wladyslaw Szpilman | History |
ISBN: 0753817195 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingFifnawing of Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on 7/26/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
22 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingFifnawing from Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, July 26, 2006
blurb: "The powerful, bestelling memoir of a young Jewish pianist who survived the war in Warsaw against all odds, alongside moving extracts from the diary of the German officer who saved his life."

I will offer this as a bookring:

BettyBoekwurm (Porto, Portugal - ship Europe)
boirina (Areia, Portugal - ship int'l)
Elsita (Almada, Portugal - ship int'l)
darkpunkangel (Barrie, Canada - ship int'l)
aunt-sophie (Gatineau, Canada - ship int'l)
Miss-Owl (Sydney, Australia - ship int'l)
glauber (Carol Stream, IL, USA - ship int'l)
Plinius (Schiedam, Netherlands)
Hellehond (Utrecht, Netherlands)
janna2 (Castricum, Netherlands)
monalisaa (Den Haag, Netherlands)
violoncellix (Groningen, Netherlands)
EmEli (Leiden, Netherlands, would like to read before February)
Enitnaj (Tilburg, Netherlands)
franaloe (Den Burg, Netherlands)
dutch-book (Heerenveen, Netherlands)
Eline64 (Zoetermeer, Netherlands)
AnnevO (Rotterdam, Netherlands)
saskia74 (Tilburg, Netherlands)
Suzy26 (Delft, Netherlands)
bumbelbee (Haarlem, Netherlands - ship int'l) <=== book is here
Ashleigh4985 (Edinburgh, UK - ship pref UK)
mazzlestar (Leeds, UK - ship pref Europe)
katacs (Szeged, Hungary - ship Europe)

back to Fifna (Voorburg, Netherlands)

This ring has now started, but new participants are still welcome!

Journal Entry 2 by wingFifnawing from Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Sent the book on its way to BettyBoekwurm today!

Journal Entry 3 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Monday, August 07, 2006
It has arrived! Thanks Fifna.

I can't wait to start reading!

Journal Entry 4 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Sunday, August 20, 2006
An amazing book, without a doubt.

A touching view of all the good and the bad that man can do. Of the evil and goodness in men during the wort of times. And of the courage, endurance and resistance of one man. What striked me most was the tone in which Wladyslaw Szpilman tells us of his plight, as if he was just an observer and not the main character.

Amazing! Thank you for sharing. I'll be passing this to Boirina soon.

Sent on the 23/08/06

Journal Entry 5 by boirina from Mallorca - Calvià, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Thursday, August 24, 2006
The book got here today.

Journal Entry 6 by boirina from Mallorca - Calvià, Illes Balears/Islas Baleares Spain on Wednesday, September 20, 2006
The book left for Elsita today.
Just a kick note to say that reading books like this makes me wonder about two things. One is the ability of human beings to survive and cope with just about anything and still have feelings... :) The other is the ability of human beings to hurt other human beings beyond what's believable... :(

Journal Entry 7 by Elsita from Almada, Setúbal Portugal on Monday, September 25, 2006
Received today.
Thanks again, boirina, for the etiquetes :))

Journal Entry 8 by Elsita from Almada, Setúbal Portugal on Saturday, October 21, 2006
Just read it. I also saw the movie based in this true story and cried a lot.
The part I really apreciate, because I didn't saw it in the movie, was the diary of Captain Wilm Hosenfeld, because I never read the version of a german.

Going to darkpunkangel asap.

Journal Entry 9 by darkpunkangel from Barrie, Ontario Canada on Monday, November 27, 2006
Thanks Elsita (thanks for the postcard too), arrived today. Looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 10 by darkpunkangel from Barrie, Ontario Canada on Friday, December 08, 2006
A well written book, but it's ashame that this actually happened. I also saw the movie in french, and I don't have a peference to either. The movie was well done and it visualized what was written in the book. It's nice to hear survivor stories but it is sad to hear about innocent lives being destroyed.

Thanks Fifna for including me in this ring, I'm going to PM aunt-sophie and send this book out as soon as I get an address.

Journal Entry 11 by darkpunkangel from Barrie, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
The book is now on its way to aunt-sophie.

Journal Entry 12 by rem_VSP-560485 on Friday, December 15, 2006
The book just reached me. I'll read it as soon as I am done with the book I am currently reading.

Journal Entry 13 by rem_VSP-560485 on Thursday, January 04, 2007
A moving tale of strength and courage. I thought the movie by R. Polanski was pretty faithful to the spirit of the book. Thank you for sharing it via this bookring!

I contacted Glauber, who'd like to switch places with the next person. So I am going to mail the book to Miss-Owl this weekend.

Journal Entry 14 by Miss-Owl on Sunday, January 28, 2007
Picked up today from my po box...

... or should I say, rescued from the evil clutches of Australia Post.

My po box had been empty all month (very uncharacteristically), and it took A GREAT DEAL OF PERSISTENCE before I could persuade a member of staff to check the back room for me. Lo and behold, SEVEN books had been sitting there, and I had received NO notifications!!!

Sorry, still cranky. Please be patient with my reading time as I obviously have seven bookrings to go through!

Journal Entry 15 by Miss-Owl on Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Finally finished! Thanks, Fifna, for your patience with me & my bookring debt (see entry above).

A thoroughly moving story & I shed many a tear. I think the impact left at the end was made even stronger by the fact that I didn't know till the epilogue that Szpilman had actually written this so recently after the end of the war. I'd actually attributed the dispassionate tone of the account to the fact that many years must have between living and writing.

Part of what made me really sad too was the self-awareness, the articulateness and finally the tragedy of Captain Hosenfeld's story. This book really deserves to be widely read, so those of us who have been lucky enough not to live through those horrors can appreciate the lives of those who did.

Thank you for the ring, Fifna. I'm sending this on when I receive the address.

Journal Entry 16 by glauber from Carol Stream, Illinois USA on Monday, May 07, 2007
May 7, 2004: It's here, thanks! Looking forward to reading it.

May 14, 2007. This was a quick read. Outstanding book, everybody should read it. He describes the horrible events or the Holocaust in an incredibly cool, even-headed way. Not a depressing read, but a life-affirming one. Thank you, Fifna, for organizing this ring. I'll contact Plinius for address and send it on as soon as i can.

Released 13 yrs ago (5/18/2007 UTC) at Controlled Release in Controlled Release, A Bookcrossing member -- Controlled Releases



Mailed to Plinius, in The Netherlands, using air mail (first class).


Journal Entry 18 by Plinius from Schiedam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, May 23, 2007
! I was looking forward to this book, thanks for sending Glauber!
Just let me finish another ringbook...

Journal Entry 19 by Plinius from Schiedam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, June 04, 2007
What struck me most was the detached way Wladyslaw Szpilman tells his story - a survival mechanism that worked rather well: the foreword by Wladyslaw's son suggests that he was able to connect to people and to music after the war. Not a mean feat!

Journal Entry 20 by Hellehond from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Saturday, June 09, 2007
Received the book yesterday. Thanks, Fifna, for sharing and Plinius, for sending.

Journal Entry 21 by Hellehond from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Sunday, June 24, 2007
I read many stories about the Shoah. This is one of the best, because its style. The writer acts like an observator, and that way the descriptions of the brutalities and the cruelties are very convincing and living.
I'll give the book to Janna2 on july 1st at the meeting in Castricum.

Journal Entry 22 by wingjanna2wing from Castricum, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Monday, July 02, 2007
Totally forgotten I am a participant in this ring, till yesterday during the Castricum-meeting. The entries are promising ......

Journal Entry 23 by wingjanna2wing from Castricum, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I've read a lot of books about the terrible things that happenend during World War II in the ghetto of Warsaw, but I think this is one of the best. The detached style in which the book is written makes a deep impression: how is it possible someone wrote about these things in this way just after the war, someone who lost all his family? The author has to be a very very strong man.
I also think it very good that the book also shows the other side in the diary fragments of Wilm Hosenfeld. This part of the book shows again that we have to look at a person not at a whole people.

Fifna, thanks a lot for making a ring of this book and Hellehond for taking the book to the Castricum-meeting.

The next reader is Monalisaa. Within an hour from now I bring it to the post.

Journal Entry 24 by monalisaa from Rijswijk (ZH), Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, July 27, 2007
I found the book in the mailbox the day before yesterday. I''ll read it as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 25 by monalisaa from Rijswijk (ZH), Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Sunday, September 16, 2007
Alas, I'm not as enthusiastic about this book as the other ringreaders. The story didn't really catch me, maybe owing to the detached style. And, I suppose because Szpilman is an amateur writer, the book didn't strike me as a nice literary piece of work either. I found the extracts from the diary of captain Hosenfeld quite interesting, though, so I'm glad I finished the book after all.
Thanks for sharing, Fifna. I'll send the book to violoncellix as soon as I have the address.

Journal Entry 26 by wingvioloncellixwing on Thursday, September 20, 2007
Today the book arrived. At the moment, there are a few ringbooks waiting that arrived almost at the same time, so it may take a few weeks.
Looking forward, though, also because I just arrived from a week in Warsaw, where the story takes place

Journal Entry 27 by wingvioloncellixwing on Saturday, January 12, 2008
The book begins as follows: I began my wartime career as a pianist in the Café Nowoczesna, which was in Nowolipki Street in the very heart of the Warsaw ghetto. By the time the gates of the ghetto closed in November 1940, my family had sold everything we could sell long ago, even our most precious household possession, the piano. Life, although so unimportant, had none the less forced me to overcome my apathy and seek some way of earning a living, and I had found one, thank God. The work left me little time for brooding, and my awareness that the whole family depended on what I could earn gradually helped me to overcome my previous state of hopelessness and despair.

My working day began in the afternoon. To get to the café I had to make my way through a labyrinth of narrow alleys leading far into the ghetto, or for a change, if I felt like watching the exciting activities of the smugglers, I could skirt the wall instead.

Written in a detached tone of voice, the book is impressive and engaging. The author was a professional pianist and an amateur writer, but he could draw a very good picture and also effectively described the sounds of the horrible events around him.

I couldn’t help thinking of all the Warsaw streets that now, after 60 years, bear the same names and are placed in the same locations as their destroyed precursors did. Sometimes a bit of rubble of a ghetto wall can still be seen, included in a newer apartment block. However often I return there and however many modern buidings are raised and in spite of the lively city culture having returned, it remains a sad city to me.

I would recommend two other accounts written very shortly after the Second World War, moving in different ways: the Diary by Jozef Hilel Borensztajn (see for the Dutch Bookring) and Star children (Sterrekinderen) by Clara Asscher-Pinkhof, see

I was most touched when listening to Szpilman's interpretation of Chopin's nocturne in C sharp minor, on

Thank you, Fifna, for sharing this book as a ring.

Journal Entry 28 by EmEli from Voorschoten, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Another book to add to the slowly growing ring-pile. Luckily I still have some time to read it before I go to the play in February!
Thank you. :-)

Journal Entry 29 by EmEli from Voorschoten, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Monday, February 11, 2008
What an impressive story. I find it very hard to imagine that these events really did happen and not even that long ago...

Edit 12-2: Gisteren naar de brievenbus gebracht.

Journal Entry 30 by wingEnitnajwing from Tilburg, Noord-Brabant Netherlands on Tuesday, February 12, 2008
In the mail today! Thanks for sending it EmEli. And your card is just so right :-)
Will have to wait for a little while, before I'll be able to read it!

Journal Entry 31 by wingEnitnajwing from Tilburg, Noord-Brabant Netherlands on Thursday, February 21, 2008
Today I finished this book. It's almost unbelievable, the way Szpilman writes about his experiences during the Shoah, especially when you realize that he wrote his story almost immediately after the ending of the war. His story was touching and at the same time almost written from a distance...
Anyway, thank you for letting me read this book, Fifna!
I'll send the next one a pm!

Journal Entry 32 by franaloe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Monday, February 25, 2008
Yup! Arrived today. Thanks for sending Enitnaj!

Journal Entry 33 by franaloe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Friday, March 14, 2008
I think this might be one of the few cases in which the movie is better than the book. Allthough I feel strange making this statement, because I haven't even seen the movie. However, the (true) story was touching, but the distant way of writing just made it hard for me to be really caught by what was happening. I think that if all the emotions and terrible things that happened were brought in a more intense way, this book would have left me crying....
Anyways, thanks for sharing the book! I will try and watch the movie soon, to see whether my statement is true or not. I am sending the book to dtuch-book today.

Journal Entry 34 by dutch-book from Heerenveen, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Monday, March 17, 2008
Last Saturday I received this book. I'm really curious about it. Can't wait to read it.I hope it's really touchy. The book gives me such a good feeling, even before I read a letter.

Journal Entry 35 by dutch-book from Heerenveen, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Saturday, November 22, 2008
I discovered I want to read this book in Dutch rather than in English, that's why I'm going to send this book unread to the next participant. And then I'm going to get this book in my library and will let everyone know what I thought of it.
Anyway, sending the next participant a PM.

Journal Entry 36 by dutch-book from Heerenveen, Fryslân (Friesland) Netherlands on Monday, December 01, 2008
Book is traveling to the next participant.

Journal Entry 37 by Eline64 from Zoetermeer, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Tuesday, December 02, 2008
I had forgotten that I signed in for this book. So it was kind of surprise when I found it today with the mail. Thanks Dutch-Book for sending it to me.
Unfortunately I have got one myself so I will send this book to the next participant.

edit: 19-12 send to annevo

Journal Entry 38 by AnnevO from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, December 20, 2008
Found this book in the letterbox today. Thanks!

Journal Entry 39 by AnnevO from Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Friday, January 16, 2009
Finally found time today to journal this book. I do think the story is amazing, yet very sad. I liked the references to the different musical pieces Szpilman used to play.

The book is on it's way to Saskia74.

Journal Entry 40 by saskia74 from Tilburg, Noord-Brabant Netherlands on Saturday, January 17, 2009
het boek is vanmorgen aangekomen, bedankt voor het opsturen AnnevO en de leuke kaart!

25/02 sorry for the delay! It is a impressive book to read, to read how he has survived the war... I can really reccomand this book!

02.03 the book is on it's way to suzy26

Journal Entry 41 by wingSuzy26wing from Delft, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Arrived by mail today. Thanks for sending it, saskia74.

Journal Entry 42 by wingSuzy26wing from Delft, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This sure is a harrowing, heartbreaking tale if ever there was one. I have read stories about concentration camps and about the Warsaw ghetto before, but the atrocities committed by the Germans/Ukrainians/Lithuanians never cease to shock me. I find it amazing that Wladyslaw Szpilman managed to survive this ordeal, living in constant fear and having nothing to eat or drink but the tiniest piece of moulded bread and foul water for months on end. But the most amazing thing of all is that it didnot make him bitter or full of hatred for the people who did this to him. He even includes extracts from the diary of the German who saved him in his book. You might say: okay, there was one good German, but there were so many Germans who acted as beasts, taking newborn babies from their mothers and smashing them against the wall, for instance, so why lay the emphasis on one good German? But then I realized that maybe this was the only way for Szpilman to deal with everything that happened. Even though he had seen more than enough proof that people can act like atrocious beasts under certain circumstances, he had to believe that there are also good, self-effacing people around and he wanted to focus on that rather than on the bad. Impressive.

Thanks for ringing this book, Fifna. I will PM bumbelbee for her address.

Update 13/3/2009: book is on its way to bumbelbee.

Journal Entry 43 by bumbelbee from Haarlem, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I received the book yesterday and will start reading as soon as possible, I'm halfway through In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, another bookray. But I promise to hurry up so I can start in this one!

Journal Entry 44 by bumbelbee from Haarlem, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Friday, March 27, 2009
I finished the book a couple of days before and sent it allong to Ashleigh4985 yesterday.

I found the book impressive and because of the detached writing style the book wasn't too gruesome. If felt I could read the book easier because of this and be able to think the story and the events better through. If the book had been more emotional written, I would problably me more swept away, but I'd also have less understanding of what was happening.
Having that said, it never seizes to amaze me how people react to a war. I find it hard to grasp that people are able to endure such horrors and that others are able to see people as animals and to treat them even worse. This book made that painfully clear again.

All in all I'm glad to have read it, thanks for this ring Fifna!

Journal Entry 45 by wingFifnawing from Voorburg, Zuid-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, June 18, 2009
Unfortunately this book has been lost in the post :-(
However, ApoloniaX has kindly offered her copy in order to continue the ring:
Thank you very much ApoloniaX!! I hope the rest of the participants enjoy the book too.

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