News Politics

Belongings of Holocaust survivor behind #ThePianist movie go for auction in Warsaw

The belongings of the Polish-Jewish composer Wladislaw Szpilman, whose life story served as basis for Roman Polanski's 'The Pianist' movie, will go under the hammer at the Warsaw-based Desa Unicum auction house. The auction is set to go ahead on Tuesday evening and will include a host of some of Szpilman's most personal belongings, including an art-deco style Omega watch and a Mont Blanc fountain pen, items which it is believed where purchased by Szpilman in the 1930s in Paris and which survived through the Second World War. It is thought that these items gave Szpilman hope of a better time as the horrors of the Holocaust unfolded. Desa Unicum's Auction Coordinator, Julia maternal said on Monday, "These things survived the entire war with him, forming amulets of sorts. These are items that reminded him of a better world, beyond the war. They cheered him up and reminded him of an intellectualist's life." Further items in the auction also include a Steinway and Sons piano from the 1940s, a Grotrian Steinweg pianino from 1956, various manuscripts, records, awards, signed photographs, amongst other items. It is thought that this is one of the first times that Szpilman's personal belongings were made available for a public viewing. Szpilman's life was made better known in popular culture through Roman Polanski's award-winning film, 'The Pianist' (2002), a film based on Szpilman's autobiographical book and Holocaust memoir from 1946. When asked about the concern of auctioned items becoming shuttered from public view, Andrzej Szpilman, the son of Wladislaw Szpilman, said that this has been an issue when items have been given away to museums before. He added that he believes that the items will continue to live on in the public eye due to expected value reached by the items. "If someone has to raise a promising sum of money for it, then it will be in promising hands," said Szpilman.

  • Duration: 05:19