My name is Wladyslaw Szpilman, born on 5 December 1911 in Sosnowiec to Estera Rapaport and Samuel Szpilman.
During the Second World War I was persecuted by the German regime because of my Jewish origin. In 1940 I was incarcerated with my family in the Warsaw ghetto. In 1942 my parents, two sisters and brother were taken from the Umschlagplatz [the place where Warsaw's Jews were kept until their deportation] and deported, probably to Treblinka, where they were murdered. By a series of coincidences I managed to escape from the Umschlagplatz, and later from the ghetto, and to reach the "Aryan" side of Warsaw. I lived there, hidden by many Poles, until the Polish uprising in Warsaw on 1 August 1944. I was helped at that time by: Janina Godlewska, actress…., Andrezej Bogucki – actor…., Czeslaw Lewicki – orchestra conductor…., [all were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations in 1978].
….After the Warsaw revolt broke out on 1 August 1944, all the Poles were ordered to leave the city, and any kind of help from Poles, especially in the parts under German control, became impossible. Since then I had been living alone in the ruins of destroyed Warsaw, without food, without water and without warmth. Around November 15, a German officer found me in a house on Aleje Niepodleglosci 221. It was Captain Wilm Hosenfeld from Thalau. This officer actively supported me by helping me find a hiding place in the attic of the German general command of Warsaw, and by providing me with a blanket, a coat; supplying me with food over a lengthy period; as well as extending moral and personal support until his departure from Warsaw in mid December 1944. Any help to Jews at that time was punished with death. Without his help I wouldn’t have survived. Unfortunately my efforts to free this officer from Russian captivity after the war were unsuccessful, and he died in a camp in Stalingrad in 1952.
Later I learned from letters and personal contact with other persons rescued by him and their families, that Wilm Hosenfeld helped other people. It was especially Leon Warm, who had jumped from the train to Treblinka. Hosenfeld provided him with false papers, and employed him at the Warsaw sport facility. Similar help was extended by Hosenfeld to several members of the families of Cieciora (the survivor's son is nowadays Polish vice-consul in Hamburg), as well as other people and small Jewish children during the entire war (as early as September 1939). Captain Hosenfeld proved to be a heroic person and opponent of Fascism, and deserves to be awarded.