playing for life


"Bach, Baroque -- and Bonsai," Michael Levin's long 1983 New York Times article about Leipzig, was written following his initial 1982 trip there with Anna and Hirsch after the  interviews below were conducted.  It was a gateway to eventual creation of Papers, Please - A Twentieth Century Odyssey, the web-based source-book from which Two Pianos is drawn.  The first page of that article, plus its full text from the NY Times archive, are here.

Chapters below from Papers, Please reflect the Levins' pertinent interviews with Anna and Hirsch Bieler, recorded on cassette tapes 1978-1981 in Elkins Park PA and Palm Beach FL. Interviews with Halina Neuman were recorded 1980 in her NYC apartment and Central Park. Interview tapes were transcribed, edited, and corrected or augmented by Anna and Hirsch through 1985. Decades later these transcriptions were  re-edited and annotated after reviewing the original tapes.

Some links below have been de-activated for security and copyright reasons.  If you's like to learn more, please contact us for information on how to access the Papers Please source-book.
Book II (1926-1933)
Part 2. Mein Leipzig

Chapter 87.  ANNA ARRIVES  Leipzig:  1926 - East Jew meets German Jews, as Rebecca’s contacts pave the way

Chapter 89.  “IT WAS FIERCE COMPETITION”  1926 -- : Anna Burstein at the Mendelssohn Conservatory

Chapter 90.  BETWEEN ŁODZ AND LEIPZIG  1925 -- : Halina Neuman comes reluctantly to Leipzig -- “a very boring city”

Chapter 102. MATCHMAKERS 1927 – 1931: Anna and Hirsch: A Sort of Courtship

Book III (1933-1945)

Part 1: Enter Adolf

Chapter 112.   1933: UNDER HITLER  Anna and Hirsch: Early effects on daily life and thought

Chapter 117.  TWO PIANOS  1934 - 1936:  Anna and Halina perform ‘for Jews only’ at the Leipziger-Jüdischer-Kulturbund

Chapter 118.  DARKNESS DESCENDING  Leipzig, April 1933:  Halina Neuman Schulsinger: a romantic cynic surveys the scene

Part 3: In Darkness:
A. The Third Reich snares Anna and Hirsch's friends

Chapter 142a.  HALINA AND JOLA SCHULSINGER   1938 - 1939Expelled from Leipzig to Poland

Chapter 142b.  IN EXILE  1938 - 1942:  Halina and her family in Soviet Poland, Russia and Warsaw

Chapter 158.  CATCH AND RELEASE 1943-1945: In, out, and away from the Warsaw Ghetto and the camps

Book IV (1945--)  

Part 2: Afterwards

  Chapter 180.  HIRSCH AND ANNA

    Rich Lives, Rounded

  Chapter 183.  HALINA: A fiercely independent arc