In September, 1939 Wladyslaw Szpilman played a live performance of the Chopin Nocturne in C# minor on Polish radio. One hour later, the German bombing of Warsaw shut down free Polish broadcasting for six years. The 2002 movie, The Pianist, depicts this beautiful and heart wrenching story.
A Polish, Jewish pianist, Spzilman received his early musical training at the Chopin School of music in Warsaw, and completed his studies at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. In 1933 he returned to Poland where he earned a well deserved reputation as a performer and composer.
After the Nazi take over, Szpilman and his family, along with thousands of other Jews, were driven into the Warsaw ghetto. He continued to play piano at cafes and nightclubs, and managed to keep his family from starvation. In 1942, large scale deportation of the Jews to the death camps began. As his family was loaded into the train, Szpilman was pulled to safety, but he never saw his parents or siblings again.
Outside the ghetto walls, Szpilman had to remain in hiding. His survival depended on the faithfulness and generosity of others. Some came through for him, others did not. By 1945, Warsaw was largely destroyed and abandoned. The former pianist was forced to move from one dilapidated building to another scrounging for food. That winter he came face to face with the Nazi officer who was to save his life. You can read more about the heart breaking story of Wilm Hosenfeld here.
Szpilman survived the war and returned to work at Polish radio, as well as composing and performing. His autobiography brought his story to the rest of the world and shows how beauty and goodness survive even amongst the most unspeakable atrocities and cesspools of human cruelty.
A little over a week ago Suze nominated Good, Beautiful and True, for the One Lovely Blog award. My heart was touched that someone else found loveliness on my blog, and felt that it could only be because I strive to reflect the loveliness that is so abundant, but so overlooked in the world. Soon after, a performance of the C# minor nocturne played on the car radio. The stories of Szpilman and Hosenfeld are one small part of that, the beauty of the human heart and soul, created in the image of God, that deserve to be honored.
This WWII story also resonated with week 3 theme in the kindness challenge, incorporating kindness into everyday life. Most of us do not face the moral dilemma of a Nazi officer in the Warsaw ghetto, but we do face hundreds of choices every day, and we are called to do the best we can with the life and times we are given. Do we look for the good in others? Do we honor that everyone around us is worthy of life, love and dignity, despite our failings and differences? Do we take the time to know and understand others, or do we rush to snap judgments about them? Do we take the time to listen to others and to help them, even when it is hard or uncomfortable for us?
1 John 4:20-21 “ Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
Here is a clip of Szpilman playing the same Chopin piece in his home in 1997. The video won’t play on this blog, but if you click on the play button, then on the “watch this video line” it will take you directly to YouTube. Watching the man who underwent so much suffering and also received so much kindness, play the same piece that he performed in 1939, stirs my heart and soul.
I want to thank Suze for nominating me. Her blog, Obsolete Childhood, is full of humor and reflection. Please give her a visit and a quick “hello”.
The rules (I have seen different versions on different sites): Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them. Share 7-15 facts about yourself. Nominate 9-15 bloggers you admire. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know.
Facts and Contradictions about me:
- I am a member of a Southern Baptist Church.
- I drink wine.
- I prefer white wine, my favorite is Chardonnay.
- I cover my hair at church and prayer meeting.
- I also practice yoga and wear yoga pants
- I read the Bible daily.
- I am also reading a translation of the Tao Te Ching.
- I believe Jesus is the way, and the truth and the life.
- I don’t think western Christianity has all the answers.
- I think there is beauty and truth found in many cultures and religions and that we should learn from each other.
- I don’t think I am ecumenical, because I believe Jesus is the only way of salvation.
- I wish there was a place in this world for a Bible believing Christian, who practices yoga, and who thinks that Christians could learn a lot about love and compassion from yoga philosophy and Buddhism.
- I often wonder if the thoughts above make me double minded.
- I wish that I could talk about the above more freely at church.
- I seek to live out my faith by my love. (Great song here.)
I have recently nominated many lovely blogs for the The Liebster Award and the 3 Day Quote Challenge. I don’t want to inundate folks with new messages, but if you are reading this, and I listed you previously, please also consider yourself nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award.
Two gorgeous blogs that also share about classical music:
A shout out and nomination to some more favorites:
To the nominees: I know these awards are not everyone’s cup of tea, so please don’t feel any pressure to respond or accept. All of your blogs bring light and loveliness into my day:)
**Sources (not already linked to above):
#7 Day Daily Post Challenge: Keepin’ on with day 11