I decided not to see this movie, even though I like Adrian Brody, because I was afraid it would be too creepily violent and would haunt my dreams. I realize that I am lucky even to be able to attain such distance from the horrible things that happened to Poland during WWII.
Szpilman was a Jew in Warsaw during the time when nearly the entire Jewish poplulation of Warsaw was killed or removed to concentration camps, or fled. He remained behind, starving and hiding and lived to tell the story of his time there. He was no hero, just mostly lucky, and did what he needed to do to survive. His descriptions of coming out of his hiding place to find that he was one of the only people still living in Warsaw as it was being bombed into oblivion is one of the more evocative partsof this book.
This book, reprinted from the version that was released in Germany a few years earlier, also contains a small bio of the German soldier who did not report him and in fact brought him food while he was hiding in a Warsaw attic. That soldier was tortured and killed later in thew war, but his family contributed a photo and a small bio bringing just a bit more depth and nuance to the overall collection of stories that make up the Shoah.