Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Someone sent me this video today:

Violin maker Amnon Weinstein painstakingly collected and restored violins that were used by Holocaust victims, and here they're played at a 2008 concert in Jerusalem; one of the victims was a 12 year old boy who smuggled explosives in his violin case - these explosives were used against German troops in Eastern Europe.

Hatikva ("The Hope") is the Israeli national anthem. The melody is based on a Renaissance era Italian song, La Mantovana - from the Renaissance onwards this melody appeared in a number of different folk songs across Europe from Scotland to Poland; it was also used by the 19th-century composer Smetana in his piece, Vltava or Die Moldau - one of a group of several symphonic poems he wrote in tribute to Bohemia, his homeland (the Vltava is a river that runs through Prague).

Think of the music played on these violins prior to the Holocaust - klezmer and other folk music for instance; their owners might have once played the melody of La Mantovana on them in one form or another (or if they were classical musicians, maybe they performed Vltava in a concert hall). In any case these instruments, which were in pieces (at least one of them found buried in a concentration camp) are whole again, a legacy from the people who owned them and made music on them.


Lucy said...

It sounds extraordinary. I'm on tiny computer without sound just now, I'll come back to this.

naida said...

Wow, that is amazing that he collected these violins and has restored them to make this lovely and sad music. What a beautiful tribute.

HKatz said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting (and thanks to Lucy too - I saw your comment before it got lost in blogger's recent outage).

this lovely and sad music.
An interesting way to describe it - it's written in a minor key. Beautiful, hopeful, enduring through all sadness :)

Relyn said...

This is a beautiful, inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it here.