Krakow

Leon Schiller

20 Jun 2018
Born in Kraków in 1887 he graduated from the city's Jagiellonian University with degrees in Philosophy and Polish Literature under his belt, before pursuing further academic titles at the Sorbonne in Paris. Having cut his teeth as a singer in Kraków‘s notoriously rowdy Green Balloon Cabaret (Zielony Balonik) he was to go on to become one of the most famous film and theatre directors of pre-WWII Poland. In a career that saw him tour widely across the country with a variety of theatre groups he is particularly famous for his staging of Adam Mickiewicz's masterpiece Dziady in Warsaw‘s Teatr Polski. Credited with directing over 29 dramas and a dozen or so vaudeville productions his life predictably went wrong with the German invasion of 1939. In revenge for the assassination of the Polish actor and Gestapo agent Igo Sym, Schiller was apprehended by the Nazis and held in Warsaw's infamous Pawiak Prison - of the 100,000 estimated Poles who passed through the prison's gates only 3,000 are known to have survived the war. Schiller was one of those, thanks in no small part to his sister, who paid a hefty ransom fee to ensure his release. Following WWII he became president of Łódź‘s National Drama School, before passing away in 1954.

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