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The Auschwitz Violin

by Maria Angels Anglada

This novella is not so much a tale of the holocaust but more a testament to the strength of the human spirit. It is too slim to flesh out the characters or provide depth to the background detail, but nonetheless the power of the storytelling should not be underestimated, with the brutality of Auschwitz balanced by a poignant musical tale. Using simple prose, the inclusion of real-life extracts from Nazi documents is an effective tool.

Extract

Then Ingrid put a finger to her lips, and it began. He remembered it all, note by note. He could sing it now if need be. Just the night before he had been thinking how few composers could make a violin sing. They forgot about the melody, the complicity that used to exist between musician and luthier. But tonight all three musicians 'sang'. The novelty, the surprise, had made the first movement fly, but when the violin solo began the second movement, he tried to recall—as he listened, unconsciously retaining every note—where he had heard that sound. After all, this was a trio playing with an unfamiliar woman, and Climent’s piece had not yet been performed in public. With a flash Bronislaw realized: the woman was playing Daniel’s violin, the Auschwitz violin! He was certain, he didn’t need to be told.
Translated by Martha Tennent

Parallels

The Savior by Eugene Drucker
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
 

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