The Auschwitz Violin

I have been wanting to read this book for a while now and as I am going to visit the camp in a couple of weeks I thought now would be the perfect time. I had expected this story to be a sad one, due to it’s setting but it was actually more about hope and the power of music.

When playing in Poland in 1991 Regina meets a fellow musician who is interested in her beautiful violin. After the concert she meets with the man and tells him all about how the violin came to be and how she ended up with it.

Imprisoned in Auschwitz Daniel is dealing with a brutal and unpredictable life. However having told them he was a carpenter he feels fortunate to be able to work in the house of the sadist commandant and have a few extras. One evening after an incident with musicians playing for a party Daniel reveals that is in fact a violin maker. The commandant then gives him the task of making him a beautiful violin that should rival a Stradivarius and Daniel begins to have a little more hope. Working on the violin gives him something to carry on for and he take pleasure in his work and how it distract him for the cruel situation he is in. Later however he finds out that there is a bet going on between the commandant and the doctor over how long it will take him to finish for a case of Burgundy wine.

Back in 1991 we learn about what happens in the end and how Regina came to have the violin.

The book is very short and I can’t decide if it is missing something or not. The idea is a lovely one, that the task is what keeps him going in unimaginable circumstances but I felt like it could have been a bit more powerful. However there are some very beautiful sentences within the story and I think that I appreciate that it is not a story about how terrible the war was but it is about how humans can be saved by having passion for something.

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