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This timeline aims to clarify relevant events and political forces

active during and after Chopin's lifetime.




Birth of Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin in Żelazowa Wola, Poland

In Chopin’s time, Poland did not exist as a state

Poland was a territory partitioned by Russia, Prussia and Austria


The Congress of Vienna transfers the Grand Duchy of Warsaw to Russia

Tsar Alexander I becomes King of Poland


Grand Duke Konstantin, brother of Tsar Alexander I of Russia, appointed Commander-in-Chief of Poland's armed forces and installed at Belvedere Palace in Warsaw


Chopin hailed as second Mozart in home town of Warsaw


Chopin plays at Belvedere Palace, possibly for the feared Grand Duke Konstantin

Poland becomes police state



Chopin plays regularly for Grand Duke Konstantin


Chopin plays for Tsar Alexander I and receives diamond ring in appreciation


Rule of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia



Tsar Nicholas I of Russia crowned King of Poland

Chopin's first trips outside Poland to Vienna, Prague, Dresden

Chopin debuts in Vienna, playing Variations on ‘Là ci darem la mano’  and Rondo à la Krakowiak Op. 14  

    **‘Là ci darem la mano’ final variation is in style of Polonaise. Polonaise and Krakowiak are

        national dances of Poland, underlining Chopin's Polish heritage while he lived under

        Russian rule

Chopin returns to Warsaw

Books are censored by Tsar Nicholas I



Grand Duke Konstatin suspects Chopin of being conspirator due to secret police reports

Chopin travels to Dresden, Prague, Vienna

Uprising of Polish insurgents against Russia

Tsar Nicholas I orders all Poles to return to Russian-occupied Poland under penalty of imprisonment


Chopin leaves Vienna for Linz, Salzburg, Munich, Stuttgart

Chopin denied Russian passport to London

Chopin obtains Russian visa, allowing travel only to Munich

Chopin acquires French passport to "London via Paris" in order to reach Paris

September 8 - Uprising suppressed by Russian Empire

September 11 - Chopin settles in Paris, never to return to his homeland again

and refuses to apply for Russian passport

December 7 - Composer Robert Schumann writes 'Hats off, gentlemen, a genius' in Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung


Chopin's first concert in Paris

His fame as pianist, teacher and composer increases throughout Europe and beyond


Chopin joins Polish Literary Society in Paris - a political meeting place


Prince Adam Czartoryski sets up Polish government in exile at Hotel Lambert, Paris

Chopin frequent guest of Prince Czartoryski

Chopin attends meetings with political operatives

Chopin gives concerts for exiles


Tsar Nicholas I orders Warsaw University and Music Conservatory shut down

Chopin obtains French passport and French citizenship

While visiting parents in Carlsbad, Chopin is under surveillance by Metternich (Austrian Empire)


Composer Robert Schumann writes, regarding Tsar Nicholas I, if "this powerful and autocratic monarch of the north knew the danger of the enemy he has in the works of Chopin (...) he would ban his music. Chopin's works are cannons buried in flowers!"


Tsar Nicholas I invites Chopin to become "Pianist to the Imperial Russian Court"

Chopin declines offer, saying his sympathies are with those who fought with Polish resistance in 1830 Uprising



Chopin's last concert for Polish exiles

In his last days, with sister Ludwika by his side, Chopin told her to have his heart

      removed after death and returned home to Warsaw to be buried in the family cemetery

Death of Chopin in Paris

Chopin's funeral at Church of the Madeleine draws over 3,000 mourners

Heart encased in urn is smuggled past border by his eldest sister, Ludwika, and eventually

       interred at Church of Holy Cross, Warsaw



Rule of Tsar Alexander II



Russian troops destroy piano Chopin had played as child prodigy in Warsaw, throwing it out  second story of his sister Izabella's apartment in Zamoyski Palace, in symbolic revenge for failed assassination attempt against Tsar Alexander II's Viceroy of Poland, Friedrich Wilhelm Rembert von Berg




Rule of Tsar Alexander III



Rule of Tsar Nicholas II


50th anniversary of Chopin’s death

Tsar Nicholas II's favored singer, Polish prima donna Adelaida Bolska, requests monument to Chopin to be placed in Poland. Severe punishment possible for her request, but permission granted  

Choice and funding for best design of monument takes many years



Chopin Monument competition won by Wacław Szymanowski

Design planned for erection on centenary of Chopin's birth in 1910, but execution delayed by controversy about design, then outbreak of World War I

1914 - 1918

World War I


Poland regains independence after more than 100 years of foreign rule 

Establishment of Second Polish Republic with pianist Ignacy Jan Paderewski as its new Prime Minister



Chopin Monument placed in Łazienki Park, Warsaw


1st International Chopin Piano Competition founded

Competition held in 1927, 1932 and 1937. 1942 cancelled due to occupation

Competition resumes in 1949, 1955, 1960...every five years to present day



Fryderyk Chopin Society with Fryderyk Chopin Museum established in Warsaw



Name changed to Fryderyk Chopin Institute established in Warsaw



Fryderyk Chopin Institute adds Collection of Photographs, Recordings to its Library


September 1 - Poland invaded and occupied by Hitler's forces

September 17 - Eastern Poland invaded and occupied by Russia



May 31 - On orders of General Government Chief Nazi Hans Frank, Chopin Monument in Łazienki Park is blown up, cut into small pieces, melted down and used to make weapons

Chopin monument is the first monument to be destroyed by Germans because of its symbolic significance








All small and big copies of the Chopin monument in Poland destroyed 



October 5 - General Government Chief Nazi Hans Frank orders ban on performances, teaching, collecting, or publishing of Chopin's music and other Polish composers.

Chopin is played often in Germany during the occupation, but not allowed in Poland


January 30 - Polish clandestine Information Bulletin commented "the city is divested almost completely of intellectual entertainment. In place of [...] symphonic concerts, we have concerts in cafés, where it is not allowed to play Chopin, Paderewski or Moniuszko. Absolute uncertainty...Every now and then haphazard roundups occur. Planned arrests, of individual people or en masse continue, behind them the specter of Auschwitz looms more or less distinctly."


Is this a trick?

The ban on playing Chopin's music is not only lifted, but Nazi authorities exert pressure on Polish musicians to perform previously forbidden music -- but --

Polish musicians choose not to play this repertoire at non-collaborationist cafés

1942-43  (approx. dates)

General Government Chief Nazi Hans Frank, Hitler's personal lawyer, murderer, criminal, convicted of genocide -- not only a fan of Chopin's music, but a pianist who often gives Chopin recitals 

Frank invites generals and Wehrmacht officers, SS and Gestapo executioners to his Chopin recitals in Bruhlowski Palace, Warsaw


April 19 - May 16: Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising

Courageous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising begins after German troops and police enter ghetto to deport surviving inhabitants

Germans crush uprising and leave ghetto in ruins

13,000 Jews killed in ghetto

50,000 ghetto survivors are captured and taken to concentration camps


October, Krakow - New Chopin museum exhibition and Chopin concerts in Krakow organized by General Government Chief Nazi Hans Frank 

Attempts to draw Chopin into Germanic circle by claiming Chopin had Germanic roots 


August 1- October 2: Warsaw Uprising

63-day heroic struggle to liberate Warsaw from Nazi/German occupation

60,000 insurgents from Home Army (Armia Krajowa), Polish underground resistance movement

As result, Hitler orders destruction of Warsaw

85-90% of Warsaw destroyed

200,000 civilians killed 

15,200 insurgents killed

700,000 civilians expelled from Warsaw

15,000 insurgents sent to labor camps

55,000 sent to concentration camps


September 9 - Poland's most cherished relic, Chopin’s heart, encased in urn,  is at risk during bombing of Church of the Holy Cross, where it is interred

German chaplain and lover of Chopin's music, named Schultz, suggests Polish priests remove heart and have it protected during war

Ceremony is officiated by Nazi war criminal, General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, where the urn of Chopin's heart is given to Archbishop Antoni Szlagowski and transferred to Milanówek, a suburb of Warsaw

Heart kept safely for remainder of war


End of WWII

Ceremony of return of Heart of Chopin to the partially rebuilt Church of Holy Cross, Warsaw

Fryderyk Chopin Institute reopens on Warsaw's Zgoda Street


Occupation of Poland by Russia

Many members of Poland's Home Army are hunted down, captured or killed by the Russians


After difficult search, complete copy of Chopin Monument for reconstruction discovered



Fryderyk Chopin Society with Museum, Library, Photographs and Recordings moves to Ostrogski Palace, Warsaw

Museum hosts piano recitals and Chopin competitions


Fryderyk Chopin Museum established with two branches: Birthplace of Frédéric Chopin, at Żelazowa Wola and Chopin Family Parlor on Krakowskie PrzedmieścieWarsaw


May 11 - Chopin Monument re-built and returned to Łazienki Park

1958-Present Day

Chopin concerts played in Łazienki Park every Sunday from April to September


1980 -1989

Solidarity Movement - first independent labor union contributes to fall of Communism


Fall of Communism in Poland

Establishment of Independent Polish State after 40 years of Communist rule





Chopin statue Lazienki Park rebuilt.jpg
Chopin statue being dismantled and eventually taken to be melted down. 1940.jpg
Chopin statue Lazienki Park taken down.jpg
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