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The Pianist

By: Sam Tuneblom

     Yitzhak Heller (Itzhak Heller)- Itzhak Heller was a Jew living in the ghetto at the time Wladek was there. Itzhak worked as a Jewish policeman and offered a job to Wladek but he declined because he said that he had another job which is playing the piano. There are many instances where he pops up in the movie. In one part of the movie, he is able to sneak out Henryk after Waldek sees him. Later in the movie when they are all in the line  to get on the train to Treblinka Yitzhak pulls Wladek out of the line and saves his life

       Wladek Szpilman (Wladyslaw Szpilman)- Wladek is the main character in the movie The Pianist. He goes from a wealthy pianist to someone who has nothing fighting for his life. he plays piano and over the time in the ghetto, everything is taken away from him. He is a strong character considering the condition that he is in and the trouble he goes through. He is an intelligent person when he needs to hide or stay out of trouble.


      Thomas Kretschmann (Wilm Hosenfeld)- a German officer who hides Wladyslaw Szpilman. When he goes to scan a house for life he finds Wladyslaw. Wladyslaw plays the piano for Thomas he, changes his mind and decides to spare him. He then gives Wladyslaw his jacket to keep warm. In the end, he ends up behind barbed wire where the Russians kept him and asks a Jewish survivor leaving the camp to ask Wladyslaw to come and save him

       Henryk- Henryk is a Brother of Waldek, In the beginning of the movie he is listening to the radio for any broadcasts. He hears that Great Britten and France have declared war on Nazi Germany. when Yitzhak offers Henryk a job with the police he disagrees with having Jewish police and rather go to his job of selling books in the street. He gets arrested and is able to sneak information to Wladek.

       Dorota- Dorota is the wife of Michal, and is a freind of Wladek. She is a singer and meets Wladek when their radio station was bombed at the beginning of the movie. More into the movie Dorota and her husband help Wladek by hiding him where the Germans couldn't find him, and she checked on him until she had to move out of Germany.

       Michal Dzikikiewicz- Michal is Dorota's husband and he hides Wladek. When Wladek first goes to his home his wife Dorota first answers the door and is surprised to see him. Then when Michal comes in he tells Wladek that they can't move him to the hiding place, so he stayed at his house. after that, he hid Wladek it an "abandoned" house and it was locked from the outside so no one thought that anyone was in there. He frequently checks on Wladek and gives him food and what he needs. He got a friend, Antek Szalas to take care of Wladek. He eventually moves and we do not see him again. 

       In the next scene, Wladek is playing the piano at a dinner and a person at a table made him stop to see which coins he had been real or fake.    


         The movie starts off with pictures of warsaw. After that, there is a scene of Wladek playing the piano and gets bombed. When Wladek goes to his house his family tells him that they are moving out of warsaw. They get into an argument about if they should move or if they should not. Wladek believes that if he were to die he would prefer to die in his own home. after they decided they were going to stay in warsaw they counted up their money and had five thousand and three zlotys which according to the german laws you can only have two- thousand zlotys in their homes. they decide to put the money in the father's violin and an expensive watch under a flower pot. 

      Later in the movie, Wladek officially meets Dorota for the first time. When the go to get some coffee the door says no Jews on it. Jews were not allowed in public parks. After they did not allow them to be in a park they sent them to the Warsaw ghetto, the Germans made them walk in shame through the streets to the ghetto. When they get to the ghetto they look out the window and soon there is a wall with barbed wire surrounding them. In the ghetto, their family had a lot of trouble getting money, after a whole day of working Henryk was only able to get 3 Zlotys. That day Yitzhak came to their house to hire Henryk and Wladek for the Jewish police, but they both declined the offer. 

       In the next scene, he went to Mr. ziskins house to find out how he can help him. when he gets to the house Mr. zisken is printing newspapers, and he explains to Wladek why they are printing the newspapers. At dinner, they Wladek and Henryk were having an argument over a tie when a nazi car pulled up to the apartments, and since it was after cerfue they had to turn the lights off. when the Germans went into the apartments across the road they found one family having dinner so they made them stand up. When they stood one of the elders in the house could not stand so the Germans picked him up and threw him out the window. The other people were brought outside, and they ran and the Nazis shoot all of them.

      later at night, they were taken to a different sleeping place. Just as they were setting up a German officer burst into the bunk room and told them all to go outside and line up. they called Henryk and Halina and took them somewhere else. The next day, they had to go to the quart yard and there the met up with Halina and Henryk. They were all marched in a line onto a train. Then Yitzhak pulled Wladek out of the line to save him. Then Wladek went to Mr. Ziskin's house and found them all dead. After that Wladek hides under a stage until nobody is there.

       The next day when Wladek is playing the piano his sister comes in to tell him that Henryk had been captured by the police. When Wladek heard the news he went to where they took him and he talked to Yitzhak and bribed him to let Henryk go. When they let him go Henryk was mad that Wladek went to Yitzhak to get him out. When Wladek went to get Henryk some food he told them that you would be deported if you did not have employment. Wladek was able to get employment for everyone in his family except his father. But when he sees Majorek, Majorek offers his father a job.

       After that Wladek gets a job, he goes outside and is taking down the wall of the Ghetto because they took most of the people out, there he sees Dorota and her husband. Wladek saw a friend who told him that they sent someone to spy on the trains and that they had people on the train to Treblinka and that no food has ever been seen on that line. When they go back to work planes fly over causing Wladek to drop bricks which one of the German officers sees and whips Wladek. later that day one of the Germans went on the scaffolding and told the Jews to come to him. He said that he has heard the rumors that they thought the Germans liked to move them. So what he did was let them take potatoes and bread for everyone. Wladek is on duty of getting the potatoes ready and he finds guns in them.

       The next night the Germans beat them and claim they are celebrating new years and they make them sing to humiliate them. The next day Wladek sneaks out with the Poles and finds old friends, who bring him to a hiding place. after that, he is taken to a hotel where he is watched by someone else. while he is there someone from a different part of Ghetto shoots a German and they fight for hours until the Germans bring in a cannon and shoot the ghetto and then line up everyone who was inside and shoot them. after that, the owner of the complex tells him that he has to go that the germans are going into all the houses and taking all the Jews in hiding. he gave him an address to go to in an emergency. Wladek went to the house where he found Dorota and her husband who the next day took Wladek to the hiding spot that was prep for him. There he met Antek Szalas who took care of him. He stayed there for a while with care, then Dorota and her husband had to move, so they were leaving Wladek. 

       At the end of the movie, the Jews from the camp were released and the Germans were inside the barbed wire and Wladek went back to playing the piano on the polish radio.

       Wile he was staying at the hiding spot an uprising happened and people attack the Germans and drew them out of the town. After that, the Germans brought in a tank and shot the building so Wladek had to go outside and hide. He hid in an attic of a bombed building. Then one of the days a German found him, he asked him what he was doing and what he did. Wladek told him that he was a pianist and the German had him play. After hearing him play he had a change of heart and decided to let him live. When the Russians were pushing in the German brought Wladek food so he could live and gave him his coat. when the Russians came they thought he was a Nazi because of the coat but they realized he wasn't so they let him live.

       In the later section of the movie, he goes to various hiding places. One of the hiding places was in a basement behind a bookshelf with ammunition in it. After that, he hides in a hotel where he is right near the ghetto wall where they held the attack aginst the Germans marching in the street. Another one of the hiding places was in an abandoned apartment across the street from a German hospital. He was near the German buildings. He was in the same Building that they bombed the German hospital from. Towards the end of the movie he stayed in the attic of a German Building, that is where the German officer found him, that was the last setting of the movie took place.

       The movie starts out in a recording studio He is in a soundproof room and when they are bombed he goes down the stairs which is where he meets Dorota for the first time. After that, he goes to his house in Warsaw, he has a radio there that Henryk is listening to for other stations. In the living room, the mom and her daughter were cleaning the window. When they are debating where to hide the money Halina says they should hide the money under a flower pot by the window. 


       In another scene, they are standing next to the road next to a bombed building as the Germans walk by. Later in the movie, they are in the Ghetto, in the ghetto, there are poor apartments and a wall surrounding them. The streets are filled with people and stands that are selling food. In one part of the ghetto, there is a railroad crossing with people playing music and that is where the Germans mocked them and made them dance. In a later part of the movie, they added a wood bridge over the railway. Below the bridge, two Germans were filming the Jews crossing it. 

       In my opinion, I think that "The Pianist" is a great movie. It tells the story of the ghetto really well, how the Germans would kill adults and kids for no reason at all. In the ghetto, one of the German's would whip the Jews, and he said that they were celebrating new years. They really showed how life was like during WWII for Jews, and how they slowly lost everything. How Wladek went from a lot to nothing and then went back to having simple rights and how it did not change him he went back to what he liked. It showed the differences between the Camps and the Ghettos.


       In my opinion, I think that if you get the chance you should watch "The Pianist". It was a great movie and showed how Wladek and all the other Jews went down and down to nothing with no belongings and how no matter how hard they try they can't exterminate everyone and that they will go back to their way of life no matter what they do. It also shows you how hard they tried to make them look like the good side. They also show how they tried to cover up what they were doing by burning the buildings like the hospital and the Ghetto. It shows you also how scary things can get like when they threw the man out the window. overall I think that this movie is a great movie that gives a lot of information and I will suggest this movie to anyone old enough. 



Compare/Contrast to Holocaust 

       This campaign was different from the holocaust for many reasons. One of them is that they targeted different people, the Holocaust focused on Jews and the Al- Anfal focused on Kurds. Another difference was that the Al- Anfal was only in Iraq as the Holocaust was all over Europe. Unlike the Holocaust the Al- Anfal was not based on a previous war, and they did not start a war because of it even though the Kurds pressed the UN. Both the Holocaust and the Al- Anfal Campaign were terrible mass killings of certain people, and they are similar in some ways and different in other ways. 

            The an-Anfal genocide lasted from 1986-1989, It was against the Kurdistan of Northern Iraq. They used chemical weapons against the Kurds, about 180,000 Kurds were killed, mainly women and children. It was characterized as gross violations of human rights (HRW). This campaign destroyed their economy and their infrastructure. The genocide took place during the Iraq and Iran war. The Genocide was not because of the war between Iraq and Iran. 

About the Genocide 

       The Al- Anfal campaign was very different from the holocaust but it has some similarities. One of the similarities is that they tried to hide what they were doing so that no one would find out. In the Holocaust, they tried doing that by burning everything. But in both the Holocaust and the Al- Anfal campaign people found out what they were doing to the people they were trying to exterminate. Just like the Holocaust, they took away basic rights like food, clothing, and belongings. Like the Holocaust, they killed a lot of women and children

"Introduction: GENOCIDE IN IRAQ." Human Rights Watch. N.p., n.d. Web.


 Benvenuto, Jeff, Rachel Jacobs, and John Lim. "Al-Anfal and the Genocide of Iraqi Kurds, 1988." Rutgers–Newark Colleges of Arts and Sciences University College- Newark. N.p., n.d. Web.