Henryk Wars

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Title

Henryk Wars

Birth Date

1902-12-29

Birthplace

Warsaw

Death Date

1977-09-01

Occupation

composer, arranger, conductor, lyricist

Biographical Text

He received a solid Conservatory education in piano, composition, and conducting under the most illustrious of Warsaw’s musicians, but his true calling was popular music. He wrote for cabaret, revue and film. Countless of his beautiful and memorable songs were destined to be come instant hits. Performed by the best singers of the time, these songs were loved and hummed by not just by audiences in interwar Poland, but also by their children and grandchildren. In the late 1920s Wars started to work as pianist and composer with revue theaters; from there he developed a relationship with the most important Polish recording company Syrena, for which he served as a musical director. He also organized several vocal groups, performing close-harmony in the style of The Revelers (one of these groups, the Wars Choir, included Aston and Faliszewski). By the beginning of the next decade, as the fist fully synchronized sound films appeared in Poland, he started to compose for film. He wrote music for 52 films. Among the dozens of his melodious and brilliantly fashioned tangos, shimmies, and foxtrots, were “Sex Appeal” and “Ah, How Pleasant It Is!” Wars volunteered in the Polish army during the 1920 war with the Soviets; in 1939 he again served in the military, was captured by the Germans and escaped from a transport. He reached the Soviet-occupied zone of Poland, and in 1941 became the director of musical ensembles associated with the Polish Army in the USSR; and after 1942 he traveled in the Polish Army of General Anders, from the Middle East to Monte Cassino. In 1944 he made the first recording (as the pianist for Adam Aston) of the song “The Red Poppies on Monte Cassino,” composed during the battle and destined to become one of the most cherished Polish war songs. After the war he left Poland for the United States. In Los Angeles, he was eventually able to rebuilt his career and write music for nearly 40 American movies.

Bibliography

Lerski, Tomasz. Syrena Record: pierwsza polska wytwórnia fonograficzna; Poland’s first recording company, 1904-1939. New York; Warsaw: Editions Karin, 2004.

Associations

the Wars Choir
ZAiKS

Deathplace

Los Angeles

Birthname

Henryk Warszawski

AKA

FRASKA
Henry Vars

Collection

Citation

“Henryk Wars,” Jewish Life in Interwar Łódź , accessed January 30, 2023, https://jewish-lodz.iu.edu/items/show/64.