Leopold Kleinman-Kozłowski, a pianist, composer, and actor who was called “the last klezmer of Galicia,” has died.
Kleinman-Kozłowski died on Mar. 12 in Krakow at the age of 100.
He was born on Nov. 26, 1918, in Przemyślany, which was Polish at the time and is now in Ukraine. Members of his family — including his grandfather Pejsach and father Tzvi Herman — played in klezmer bands.
During World War II, he lived in the ghetto in Przemyślany, and then in a forced labor camp in Kurowice. He fought in the partisan unit, and then in the ranks of the Polish Army, reaching Berlin.
After the war, he settled in Krakow, where he studied at the State Higher School of Music. He was the music director of the Army Song Festival in Kołobrzeg. In 1968, as a result of an anti-Semitic campaign, he was released from the army.
He worked as a music director at the Jewish Theater in Warsaw. He was a music consultant for the award-winning movie “Schindler’s List,” in which he played a cameo role.
He was active on stage almost to the end of his life. In recent years, he performed in venues such as Klezmer Hois in Krakow and at the Jewish Culture Festival in Chmielnik.
Kleinman-Kozłowski received numerous awards and distinctions for his artistic activity, including the Medal for Merit to Culture “Gloria Artis,” and the title of honorary citizen of Krakow.