Music is an international language that does not need translation. The power of music is huge and can heal. Musicians are the purveyors of the power of music and some carry that power within their souls.
Heroes come in many guises. One such hero was Bronisław Huberman. Huberman was a child prodigy who amazed the world. At the age of 9 he played Brahms’ complicated concerto for violin – in front of the composer himself. Apparently Brahms had sat in the back of the enormous concert hall so that if he was upset with the playing of the nine year old boy he could leave without being noticed. Instead, when Huberman began to play Brahms’ jaw dropped, He was transfixed through the entire performance.
Huberman went on to be hailed as the world’s greatest violinist. When the Nazis came to power in 1933 Huberman foresaw the horror awaiting Jews. He went to Palestine and decided to create a national symphony orchestra made up of the best Jewish musicians in Europe. Between 1933 and 1936 he hired 70 musicians, bringing them AND their families to Palestine. All told, he saved at least 800 Jews from death. The inaugural concert of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (then known as the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra ) was in 1936, conducted by Arturo Toscanini.
Huberman played a Stradivarius which was stolen from Carnegie Hall in 1936. Huberman died in 1947 and the violin was relinquished in 1987. Fifteen years after that violinist Joshua Bell bought it for close to 4 million dollars.
Huberman’s story is told in the movie, Roy Mandel: The Return of the Violin – YouTube . It is an incredible, moving film weaving together the lives of Huberman and another great man, Sigmund Rolat. Rolat and Huberman were both born in Częstochowa, Poland. Both men are heroes. Huberman saved hundreds of lives and built a symphony orchestra. Rolat, a survivor, has created cultural festivals, educational programmes, created employment and breathed new life into Germany and Poland.
The message from this extraordinary movie resonates with the message of heroism. Each of us has the ability to make the world a better place. To make the world a better place we have to remember the past and recognize the present. Beautifying the world with music, art, good deeds and helping those around us will help create a better reality. Each of us can use our resources and our awareness to right a wrong whether it is big or small.
Have a wonderful day, and let’s make the world a better place.
2 responses to “Huberman, Stradivarius and Renewal”
Lovely. I read your blog and watched the film of Huberman’s violin. Very moving.
I’m so glad you liked it, Atara, and that you watched the movie, too. I thought the movie was amazing.