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Violin That Saved Dozens of Musicians From Nazi Germany Played at the Lincoln Center

Joshua Bell playing the Huberman Strad violin. Photo: Twitter

Polish-Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman helped save over 60 European Jewish musicians from the Nazis during World War II when he held auditions for a philharmonic orchestra in pre-state Israel. They traveled with him and together they made up the founding members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Many of the members today wouldn't be alive if it weren't for Huberman's rescue mission, which is why Joshua Bell, a Jewish violinist and now the owner of Huberman's very famous 300-year-old violin, feels grateful to honor his memory.

The Huberman Strad violin — named after Polish-Jewish violinist Bronislaw Huberman, one of the instrument’s earlier owners, whose visit to Israel in 1929 inspired the founding of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (then known as the Palestine Philharmonic) — will be played by Grammy-winner Joshua Bell, its current owner.

Bell, whose Russian-Jewish great-grandparents emigrated to Israel, said, “When I perform in Israel with the Israel Philharmonic, I am always touched to think how many of the orchestra and orchestra members are direct descendants of the musicians Huberman saved from the Holocaust — with funds raised by concerts performed on the same instrument I play every day.”

Huberman auditioned musicians from all over Europe during World War II and managed to get exit visas for 60 of them to settle with their families in pre-state Israel...

“This was an instrument meant to be played, not just admired,” said Bell, who sold his own Strad to help pay for the famous violin.

 

Tags: Inspiration

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