Early life in wartime Poland
Born Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański in Paris on 18 August 1933, Polanski's childhood was to be shaped by the horrors of World War II. His Polish-Jewish parents returned to Krakow in 1937 shortly before the outbreak of World War II, and the family found themselves forced to live in the Krakow ghetto (pictured above in 1941). His mother and half-sister were sent to Auschwitz, where his mother perished, and his father was sent to a camp at Mauthausen. Polanski spent his boyhood alone, hiding from the Germans and being sheltered by a series of Roman Catholic families. He witnessed atrocities - at the age of six he saw an elderly woman shot dead in the street - and was reportedly once forced to take part in a cruel game in which German soldiers took shots at him for target practice.