Applerepublic | ‘My Father, Szymon Laks’ Paris, 2012
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My Father, Szymon Laks

“My Father, Szymon Laks” is the first documentary film in the ‘Masters Revival’ series -dedicated to composers whose biographies and works have been affected by WWII and the Holocaust.


In the documentary ‘My Father, Szymon Laks’ our aim was to present a personal portrait of Szymon Laks and to give new life to his compositions.  By integrating his music with contemporary images we wanted to show the relevance of his works in the present day.




Szymon Laks (1901 – 1983) was a Polish composer, mathematician, violinist, conductor, writer, polemicist and fierce language purist. As a prisoner of Auschwitz, he became the head of the ‘Lagerkapelle’ – prisoners’ orchestra.  Szymon Laks’ book about his three years in Auschwitz, gave insight into the role music played in the German concentration camps.
Szymon Laks’ compositions combined classical music with blues, jazz, Polish and Jewish folklore. He also composed music for films and was one of the founders of the ‘Association of Young Polish Musicians’, in Paris.


Andre & Szymon


There is rich material waiting to be available for the general-public and we would like to make the following material available on–line:

Szymon Laks’ book about his three years in Auschwitz, titled – in French: “Musiques d’un autre monde”, written with René Coudy, 1948 – in English: “Music from Another World”, 1989 – in Polish: “Gry Oświęcimskie”, 1998.

His correspondence with some of the leading figures of the post-war cultural life in Poland and abroad – which included letters to Jerzy Giedroyc and Gustaw Herling-Grudziński.

His soundtracks composed for French films – an unknown number exist in the International Federation of Film Archives.


The recently-discovered screenplay ‘Man in the Know’, by Szymon Laks & Jean-Luc Terrex.

His literary polemics and commentaries: “Episodes, Epigrams, Epistles.” (1979), “Poloniki, Polemics, Politics” (1977), “Words and Anti-words” (1978), “Tarnishing the Holiness” (1980).

The family photo archives.

“My Father, Szymon Laks” was filmed in Paris in July 2012
Interviews by: Natalia Laska
Camera and Sound:  Grant Hennessy
Editing: Natalia Laska & Grant Hennessy
With kind thanks to:
Andre Laks, Julien Laks, Frank Harders-Wuthenow & EDA Records


We are looking for funds to complete the presentation of Szymon Laks’ achievements.  Any institutions or individuals supporting our project will be presented on our website if they choose.


Thank you for your contribution.