2/2 Vera Gran: The Accused, by Agata Tuszynska. Hardcover Deckle Edge.

Oct 01, 2019, 12:09 AM
Image: The photo presents Wiera Gran, a singer, at her home in Paris, taken on November 11, 2003 by Jerzy Placzkiewicz. Ms Gran is holding one of her posters. It is from her Alhambra Cabaret performances. On that occasion, Ms Gran presented 17 posters of her artistic activity both in Poland and in France to Mr Płaczkiewicz.  Вера Гран в Париже, 2003 год.   *Permissions: see below.
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Vera Gran: The Accused, by Agata Tuszynska.  Hardcover Deckle Edge.  
       The extraordinary, controversial story of Vera Gran, beautiful, exotic prewar Polish singing star; legendary, sensual contralto, Dietrich-like in tone, favorite of the 1930s Warsaw nightclubs, celebrated before, and during, her year in the Warsaw Ghetto (spring 1941–summer 1942) . . . and her piano accompanist: W³adys³aw Szpilman, made famous by Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning film The Pianist, based on Szpilman’s memoir.
        Following the war, singer and accompanist, each of whom had lived the same harrowing story, were met with opposing fates: Szpilman was celebrated for his uncanny ability to survive against impossible odds, escaping from a Nazi transport loading site, smuggling in weapons to the Warsaw Ghetto for the Jewish resistance.
        Gran was accused of collaborating with the Nazis; denounced as a traitor, a “Gestapo whore,” reviled, imprisoned, ultimately exonerated yet afterward still shunned as a performer . . . in effect, sentenced to death without dying . . . until she was found by Agata Tuszyñska, acclaimed poet and biographer of, among others, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel laureate (“Her book has few equals”—The Times Literary Supplement).
        Tuszyñska, who won the trust of the once-glamorous former singer, then living in a basement in Paris—elderly, bitter, shut away from the world—encouraged Gran to tell her story, including her seemingly inexplicable decision to return to Warsaw to be reunited with her family after she had fled Hitler’s invading army, knowing she would have to live within the ghetto walls and, to survive, continue to perform at the popular Café Sztuka.
        At the heart of the book, Gran’s complex, fraught relationship with her accompanist, performing together month after month, for the many who came from within the ghetto and outside its walls to hear her sing.
        Using Vera Gran’s reflections and memories, as well as archives, letters, statements, and interviews with Warsaw Ghetto historians and survivors, Agata Tuszyñska has written an explosive, resonant portrait of lives lived inside a nightmare time, exploring the larger, more profound question of the nature of collaboration, of the price of survival, and of the long, treacherous shadow cast in its aftermath.
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*Permissions: Source: Own work and collection of Jerzy Płaczkiewicz.  I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following licenses: w:en:Creative Commons attribution share alike  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. You are free: to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work; to remix – to adapt the work - Under the following conditions: attribution – You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. share alike – If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same or compatible license as the original.