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Benjamin Z. Kedar tells in his article how Hosenfeld tried to aid persecuted Poles and Jews, and also to help a communist German soldier, who had been in the concentration camps. He employed some of them in the sports stadium that was under his command. In his interrogation in Russian captivity, he later gave the names of four Jews he had saved - among them "Wladislaw Szpilman, a pianist in the Polish Radio orchestra."

Wilm Hosenfeld was taken captive by the Soviets on January 17, 1945. Despite many people pleading his case and Szpilman’s efforts to help him, the Soviets refused to believe that he was not involved in war crimes.

According to Benjamin Z. Kedar Hosenfeld suffered his first stroke in 1947 and thereafter spent long periods in the infirmaries of the prison camps. He continued to hope that he would be released, but in 1950 a military court in Minsk sentenced him to 25 years' imprisonment.

Wilm Hosenfeld died in a prisoner camp near Stalingrad on August 13, 1952, at the age of 57, due to hard conditions in prison and brutal interrogations.

Wolf Biermann added to Szpilman's memoirs

"He had been tortured in captivity because the Soviet officers thought his claim to have saved a Jew a particularly lie. He then suffered several cerebral strokes. By the end he was in a confused state of mind, a beaten child who does not understand the blows. He died with his spirit utterly broken."

Wladyslaw Szpilman lived in Warsaw until his death July 6, 2000, a few months before the filming of The Pianist began. He was 88.

Many, many people around the world, including Andrzej Szpilman, has been demanding, for years now, that Yad Vashem honor Wilm Hosenfeld as a Righteous Among the Nations: non-Jews who risked their lives in order to rescue Jews. To date, more than 20,000 men and women, including family members who shared in the rescue of Jews, have been recognized.





Louis Bülow ©2009-11
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