Klezmer musician Leopold Kozłowski dies aged 100
PR dla Zagranicy
Polish musician Leopold Kozłowski has died in the southern city of Kraków, aged 100.
Leopold Kozłowski, pictured in 2007. Photo: Fenek89 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
He was the last active klezmer musician trained in the pre-war tradition. He was also an actor, and his original name was Kleinman.
He was born in 1918 near Lviv, now in Ukraine, into a Jewish family with a long-standing musical tradition. Most members of his family perished during the Holocaust.
Having escaped from a German labour camp, in which he spent several months, Kozłowski fought in Jewish partisan units and subsequently in Polish Home Army units.
He studied piano performance in Lviv and conducting in Kraków, where he settled after the war. He served as conductor and musical director of a military orchestra for over two decades. He was also active as an actor and composer of incidental music for the theatre and of film soundtracks. He was the musical consultant for Spielberg’s Schindler’s List.
Kozłowski worked closely with the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw. Foreign tours took him to many countries, including Israel. He received numerous awards for promoting Jewish culture and protecting Jewish heritage.
He once said in an interview: "Music saved my life ... Music gave me strength. Hitler destroyed Judaism, but not its music. It lives forever."