Andrzej Panufnik was born in an apartment in a block at Father Skorupka Street (which at that time was called Sadowa), and lived there until the outbreak of the Second World War. Here, in the very centre of Warsaw, he spent his childhood and his youth. It was from the roof of that block that he watched the events of the first days of the war in 1939.

Each day on the roof, I had an astonishing view of the explosions all around us, flames from burning houses in our neighbourhood and feathers from burst cushions and pillows, fluttering densely on currents of air like snowflakes. It would have been a magnificent sight, but for the human suffering and loss.

The house was bombed on 16 September 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising. Andrzej’s brother, Mirek, died under the rubble. However, the valuable collection of violins kept in the cellar survived.

With parents and brother