Oral History Interview with Marian Filar

Marian Filar, born in 1917 in Warsaw, Poland, describes being a member of a musical and religious Jewish family; being a child prodigy and a noted concert pianist and teacher; his father, who was a manufacturer; his grandfather, who was a rabbi; studying at the Warsaw and Lemberg conservatories and graduating from Gymnasium in Warsaw; fleeing to Lemberg (L'viv, Ukraine) in September 1939 following the German invasion; graduating from the Lemberg Conservatory in December 1941 and joining his family in the Warsaw Ghetto; working with a labor group taken outside the ghetto to a railroad workplace in Warsaw West; the severe beatings by S.S. guards and his rescue by a Polish railway man; his solo performance and other symphony concerts in the ghetto by Jewish musicians, often playing music by forbidden composers; deportations from the ghetto in 1942 and 1943, including his parents and siblings; being deported to Majdanek in May 1943 after the ghetto uprising; being beaten and enduring starvation; volunteering for a labor camp in Skarzysko-Kamiena, where he received aid from a fellow worker who was Polish; being moved to Buchenwald in August 1944 and housed in a tent camp with Leon Blum, Deladier, and other prominent politicians and clerics; being moved next by train to Schlieben, near Leipzig, to work in a bazooka factory; a Polish kitchen maid giving him extra food; how his piano playing impressed the German civilian camp supervisor and he was transferred to an easy job to protect his hands; being sent with other prisoners by train to Bautzen and then on a death march to Nixdorf (Mikulášovice) in Czechoslovakia; being liberated and performing in concerts through Western Europe and touring Israel, playing with the Israeli Philharmonic during the war in 1956; immigrating in 1950 to the United States, where he played with many American orchestras; heading the piano department at Settlement Music School in Philadelphia, PA; joining the faculty at Temple University; retiring and teaching privately; and judging international piano competitions.

Date: 09/05/1994
Interviewer: Edith Millman
Interviewee: Marian Filar
Language: English
Subject: Concentration camp inmates.
Death march survivors.
Death marches.
Forced labor.
Holocaust survivors--United States.
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Poland--Personal narratives.
Jewish ghettos--Poland--Warsaw.
Piano teachers.
World War, 1939-1945--Concentration camps.
World War, 1939-1945--Conscript labor.
World War, 1939-1945--Deportations from Poland.
Men--Personal narratives.
Geographic Name
Europe, Western.
L'viv (Ukraine)
Leipzig (Germany)
Mikulášovice (Czech Republic)
Philadelphia (Pa.)
Poland--History--Occupation, 1939-1945.
Skarzysko-Kamienna (Poland)
United States--Emigration and immigration.
Warsaw (Poland)
Warsaw (Poland)--History--Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 1943.
World War, 1939-1945--Campaigns--Poland.
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw Ghetto
Lublin-Majdanek concentration camp
Skarżysko-Kamienna concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp
Schlieben concentration camp
Bautzen concentration camp
Mikulášovicem, Czechia
Zeilsheim Displaced Persons Camp
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