When Andrzej Szpilman was 12, he furtively rummaged through a chest high on a shelf of a closed wardrobe in his Warsaw home. Inside the closet, he found 10 copies of a book and, recognizing his father as the author, hid one in his third-story bedroom. "I read it and received a shock," said Andrzej Szpilman, 46, a dentist and record producer who immigrated to Germany in 1983.
The book was "Death of a City," his father, Wladyslaw's, grittily brutal, dispassionate 1946 memoir of hiding in and around the Warsaw Ghetto. Since Roman Polanski turned the book into a searing film, "The Pianist" -- which won four National Society of Film Critics Awards and is up for two Golden Globes on Sunday -- Szpilman has become one of the best-known Holocaust survivors in history.