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."
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
Wolf Biermann added to Szpilman's memoirs:
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
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.