Wladyslaw Szpilman is a gifted classical pianist born to a wealthy Jewish family in Poland. While Wladyslaw and his family are aware of the looming presence of German forces and Hitler's designs on Poland, they're convinced that the Nazis are a menace which will pass, and that England and France will step forward to aid Poland in the event of a real crisis. But as the German grip tightens upon Poland, Wladyslaw and his family are selected for deportation to a Nazi concentration camp. Refusing to face a certain death, Wladyslaw goes into hiding in a comfortable apartment provided by a friend. However, when his benefactor goes missing, Wladyslaw is left to fend for himself and he spends the next several years dashing from one abandoned home to another, desperate to avoid capture by German occupation troops.