Polish writer to discuss controversial Warsaw Ghetto singer


By Rachel Brichta
Jan 12, 2012

Agata Tuszynska

 

Contact: Marysia Ostafin
Copernicus Endowment
University of Michigan
Phone: 734.647.2237
E-mail: copernicus@umich.edu

The Copernicus Endowment is please to host the Polish author Agata Tuszynska on January 24 at 4:00 PM for a lecture titled, “Wiera Gran: A Singer, A Collaborator? The Other Side of Polanski’s Pianist.” Wiera Gran, the legendary chanteuse from the Warsaw Ghetto, whose singing was accompanied by Wladyslaw Szpilman, the hero of Roman Polanski’s film, The Pianist. Gran and Szpilman both escaped the Ghetto and survived the Holocaust, but while the pianist achieved fame and was applauded for his strength and bravery, the singer was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, spending her final years isolated, embittered, and suspicious of everyone.

Tuszynska will speak about her book, Accused: Wiera Gran (forthcoming in English), and about the interviews she conducted with Ms. Gran – only after gaining enough trust to get the singer to open up to her. The author will also reflect on how research for this book was motivated by her own personal history. Until she was 19, the author was unaware that her own mother was Jewish and a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto.

PLACE: 1636 International Institute, 1080 S. University Ave., Ann Arbor

SPONSORS: Copernicus Endowment; Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; Frankel Center for Judaic Studies

WEB LINKS:   www.ii.umich.edu/crees/copernicus and www.ii.umich.edu/crees/events

The Nicolaus Copernicus Endowment was established in 1973 to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the great Polish astronomer’s multifaceted genius. Initially created with the cooperation of students, faculty, and Polish-Americans of Michigan, the Copernicus Endowment is sustained today by the energy and financial assistance of hundreds of individual supporters. The principal goal of the Endowment is to enable faculty appointments, programming, and student fellowships in Polish studies. Income from the Endowment makes the Annual Copernicus Lecture possible, and ensures the continued scheduling of public events dedicated to advancing a deeper understanding of the people, culture, and politics of Poland.