The Pianist: The Extraordinary Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw 1939–45 by Władysław Szpilman

Books & Boots

At the edge of the compound, where one of the streets ran into it, there was an unoccupied space. Everyone was giving this spot a wide berth, never lingering there but casting glances of horror at it. Bodies lay there: the bodies of those killed yesterday for some crime or other, perhaps even for attempting to escape. Among the bodies of men were the corpses of a young woman and two girls with their skulls smashed to pieces. The wall under which the bodies lay showed clear traces of bloodstains and brain tissue. The children had been murdered by a favourite German method: seized by the legs, their heads swung violently against the wall. Large black flies were walking over the dead and the pools of spilt blood on the ground, and the bodies were almost visibly bloating and decaying in the heat. (The Pianist, page 99)


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