In March the Nazis confiscate Tomasz Panufnik’s collection of instruments. After Andrzej intervenes at Gestapo Headquarters, the instruments are returned.

At the beginning of the year, Panufnik resumes composing. He writes Five Polish Peasant Songs and finishes his Symphony No. 1.

In October Panufnik and Witold Lutosławski begin to work as a piano duo. The two composers play arrangements of classical and jazz music, as well as their own compositions from time to time, in Warsaw’s artistic cafés.

Sometimes, for fun, we performed jazz, particularly Duke Ellington and the best of the Americans, dangerously including the music of blacklisted Jewish composers such as Gershwin. Sometimes, to avoid boredom as we performed day after day, we would throw away caution in a different way and improvise our own jazz pieces, totally unrehearsed. Before starting, we would draw a diagram indicating tempo and harmonic progression in a given number of bars. From this tiny scrap of paper, we would spontaneously invent melodies, counterpoints and rhythmic patterns, taking staggering risks, terrifying each other by tearing away in flights of wild imagination, yet never giving away the secret to our audiences that we were improvising rather than performing carefully written and rehearsed music.

With Iwaszkiewicz and LutosławskiWith Eugenia Umińska and Witold LutosławskiWith friends



The duo Panufnik – Lutosławski appears in the 'U Aktorek' cafè.

Panufnik works on his Symphony No. 2.

He meets Stanisława Litewska, widow of a cavalry colonel, and moves in with her.

Staszka was as kind as she was attractive, very feminine,somehow retaining her beautiful full contours when the rest of us were scraggy from near starvation. She was an extremely gifted cook, able to create miracles with the miserable scraps of food we could obtain. Before long, I moved in with her and her two young daughters, helping her in her financial difficulties by sharing costs; benefiting also from her quiet spare room with a piano. We could not think of a future together in such impossible times when no future at all seemed the only rational prospect, but we found real comfort, even joy together; an escape from the blackness of our surroundings.



The duo Panufnik – Lutosławski moves to the 'Sztuka i Moda' cafè at Królewska Street No. 11.

On 22 March Panufnik and Lutosławski perform in Lublin.

Panufnik composes his Tragic Overture.

I have therefore very little time left for writing music, and that part of my mental faculties which previously used to be engaged in composition concerns itself now with the greatest diligence in matters such as the necessity of buying a stove and fuel for the winter, buying potatoes, pickling cabbage – i.e., things which I always knew to come from somewhere but never considered from where, and therefore I do not have 'the correct addresses' for them.

Panufnik's 'Kennkarte'Panufnik's 'Kennkarte'



In January Andrzej Panufnik’s brother, Mirosław, who was a member of the resistance, is rounded up in a manhunt, but fortunately quickly released. His wife dies of tuberculosis in June of that year.

Mirek’s problems and responsibilities were not, alas, limited to his patriotic activities. In 1943, his wife Maria’s tuberculosis recurred. To pay for doctors, medicine and strengthening food, we had to sell my beloved Bechstein (it had to be the piano, as nobody seemed to want my father’s violins). But effective medicine was no longer available, and the sanatorium in the Tatra Mountains which had seemingly cured her before had been taken over for use by Germans only.

The only hope was the dilapidated hospital in Warsaw. I fetched a dorożki and helped my brother carry Maria down from our flat. Her face was grey and she coughed continuously as we carried her. After three months, she died at the age of twenty-four, when little Ewa was only six. It was a heart-breaking blow for my brother, but strangely enough, his agony strengthened him spiritually, making him even more fanatical and fearless in his struggle for Poland’s freedom and independence.



The Underground Musicians’ Union commissions Panufnik to compose Four Songs of the Underground Resistance, which includes Warsaw Children.

19 March sees the first performance of Panufnik’s Tragic Overture, with the composer conducting, at a concert organised by the Central Welfare Council at the Warsaw Conservatory.

Rehearsing Tragic OvertureRehearsing Tragic Overture

Panufnik’s Symphony No. 2 is performed at the next concert organised by the Central Welfare Council.

On 3 July Andrzej Panufnik leaves with his mother for Brwinòw near Warsaw.

The Warsaw Uprising starts on 1 August.

Panufnik’s brother, Mirosław, dies under the rubble of the family home in the centre of Warsaw on 16 September.

After the fall of the Uprising, Panufnik succeeds in removing his father’s instrument collection from the ruins of Warsaw.

Flames and smoke were billowing out – we were almost too late. Fortunately the cellar we used on the other side of the house still seemed smoke-free. I rushed in. The heat was unbearable. I kept groping my way as fast as I could down the long, dark corridor, steadying myself against the hot walls so that I did not fall. Amazingly, Governor Fischer plunged into the oven-like situation after me. At last we reached the door of our cellar. By the faint light penetrating through the tiny ground-level windows, I saw my father’s instruments, all forty of them packed neatly in their cases, just as he had left them.



On 16 January the Panufniks reach Zakopane, after a journey lasting five days.

At the beginning of March Andrzej Panufnik leaves Zakopane for Krakòw, where he begins work for the Polish Army’s Film Unit.

Certificate of the Polish Army Film ProductionPanufnik's identity card

In May Panufnik reaches Warsaw. He buries his brother’s body at the Powązki cemetery and learns that the manuscripts he had left in Warsaw were destroyed.

Panufnik’s mother dies after a long illness on 7 July, broken-hearted at the news of her other son’s death,.

Panufnik reconstructs some of the scores of compositions destroyed in Warsaw: Piano Trio, 5 Polish Peasant SongsTragic Overture and Symphony No. 1 (which he eventually destroyed after performance).

In November Panufnik is appointed second Conductor of the Kraków Philharmonic.

Of course none of us would even consider the possibility that the Poland which was being reborn might be governed by any body other than an ordinary coalition of parties – surely the Allies would never allow anything else to happen... And so, we did not take our contacts with the new authorities too seriously in the early stages.

Certificate from the Kraków PhilharmonicIn the 1940sAt the offices of the Polish Music Publishers



On 3 May Panufnik is appointed Director of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.

Panufnik's identity card

At the end of May the composer travels to the West (to return at the beginning of November), where he conducts concerts (in London at the festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music and in Paris with L’Orchestre National), as well as trying to obtain music scores for the orchestra of the Warsaw Philharmonic.

Press releasePress release

In September and October Panufnik is in Switzerland, where he conducts a number of concerts and has a meeting with Constantin Regamey.

In December Panufnik again travels to the West, making an appearance as a conductor at the Zurich Tonhalle.

On my return to Poland (...) I was strongly attacked by the Ministry of Culture for supporting 'Fascist' composers who lived abroad. I returned their attack with equal intensity, unable to tolerate the ludicrous implication that anyone who by choice lived in any country not designated a 'socialist paradise' was automatically a Fascist. For the time being, they bowed to my anger, and their mouths snapped shut.

By now I was caught in a quasi-official role as Poland’s leading conductor, and was frequently shunted abroad by the Ministry of Culture. Of course it was not too displeasing to escape temporarily the food shortages and drabness of Warsaw and to make music with foreign orchestras.



Panufnik conducts concerts in London, Paris and Copenhagen. He composes Circle of Fifth for piano, as well as DivertimentoLullaby and Nocturne for orchestra.

(...) theories apart, I had to know if I could still compose at all. I began tentatively to improvise on the piano, exploring harmonic, melodic and rhythmic ideas, gradually making additional searches to extend some purely pianistic possibilities. Even three years after my daily wartime performances, my fingers were still in good running order, and I was able to juggle with technique without difficulty. Before long, to my great relief, musical ideas, orchestral as well as pianistic, began to surge into my imagination. I decided to stay for the moment with the piano and to compose a cycle of twelve studies.



In January and February Panufnik travels on a concert tour to Germany; he appears with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

The cover of the programme Programme for the concert in Berlin Press release

In August the composer takes part in the International Congres in Defence of Peace in Wrocław.

In November he is elected Vice President of the Polish Composers’ Union.

Together with several of my fellow composers, I was chosen by the Minister of Culture to join the governing body of the new Composers’ Union. Before I had even a chance to hesitate, I was harangued by a Ministry official to the effect that it would be to my advantage to abandon my 'ivory tower' (a critical label frequently applied to creative artists in the Soviet Union). In view of all that I had been trying to do for Polish music in general, while others – for understandable reasons –had remained at home composing, it did not seem a fair criticism. Moreover the pressure was unnecessary, because I genuinely wanted to work for the newly created Composers’ Union.



In April Panufnik’s Sinfonia Rustica is awarded the first prize in the composers’ competition organised to celebrate the Chopin Anniversary.

Press release Receiving first prize for Sinfonia Rustica

In August, at the infamous Łagów conference, Panufnik’s Nocturne is severely criticised as ‘unsuitable for the broad masses’.

On 3 October, Hommage à Chopin, commissioned by UNESCO to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of Chopin’s death, has its first performance in Paris.

As I had feared, this event [the Łagów conference], despite its lightweight appearance, had crushingly confirmed the new policy; that music now had to be of political significance. It had further hammered home the final tin-tack in the coffin of music for music’s sake.