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Ludmilla Berkwic: Piano

Recorded Sound | Digitized | RG Number: RG-91.2307

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    Performed by Ludmilla Berkwic, a piano prodigy. Berkwic was recognized by Hans Frank, the Nazi’s governor-general of Poland, as the greatest Chopin pianist in Poland. She was given the honor to inaugurate the first ever Chopin Museum, which was established by Frank in October 1943 upon the suggestion of the Propaganda minister of Nazi Germany, Joseph Goebbels. Berkwic, whose Jewish origins were hidden from the Nazis, nervously inaugurated this historic museum by playing a Chopin Scherzo on Chopin’s original grand piano before an audience of Nazi officers and Polish citizens. This performance was recorded on film by the Nazis, which was then displayed in all movie theaters in Occupied Poland. With this type of exposure, Berkwic’s worst fears were realized and she was reported to the Nazis by a jealous Polish pianist as having a Jewish father (whose last name was changed from Berkowitz to Berkwic to escape the wrath of the Nazis).

    1. Prelude Op. 12 *7 (Prokofiev), 2. Passepied (Debussy), 3. Music Box (Friedman), 4. Etude Op. 25*1 "Harp" (Chopin), 5. Sonata (scarlatti), 6. Sonata (Scarlatti), 7. Fugue *2 (Bach), 8. Prelude *3 (Bach)

    Copyright 1999, Lupert Productions, Inc.
    Released:  1999

    Physical Details


    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    This archival media can only be accessed in a Museum reading room or other on-campus viewing stations.
    Copyright Undetermined
    Conditions on Use
    Owner of copyright, if any, is undetermined. It is possible this is an orphan work. It is the responsibility of anyone interested in reproducing, broadcasting, or publishing content to determine copyright holder and secure permission, or perform a diligent Fair Use analysis.

    Administrative Notes

    Recorded Sound Provenance
    Since 1992, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's music historian has collected historic sound recordings, published materials, interviews, and music related to the Holocaust and World War II.
    Recorded Sound Notes
    Musicologist's file contains: Insert attached to CD:

    It is rare indeed when a great composer is invited to attend a performance of one of his latest compositions played by a young piano prodigy. It is especially rare when two great composers are invited to hear their respective recent compositions played by the very same young prodigy.

    This piano prodigy was Ludmilla Berkwic, who at the tender ages of 14 and 16, played before Friedman and Prokofiev, respectively, to their amazement and delight. Ludmilla had included the very same pieces which she played nearly 75 years ago for the great Masters on the enclosed CD. Prokofiev's "Prelude" is the first selection, and Friedman's "Music Box" is the third selection.

    For more information, refer to
    Recorded Sound Source
    Bret Werb
    Record last modified:
    2024-02-21 07:29:41
    This page:

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