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Oral history interview with Marian Filar

Oral History | Accession Number: 1997.A.0441.34 | RG Number: RG-50.462.0034

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Filar, Marian
interview:  1994 September 05
interview:  1994 November 16
interview:  1995 June 16
3 sound cassettes (60 min.).
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Gratz College Holocaust Oral History Archive
Record last modified: 2022-06-23 09:49:26
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