An international sensation now available in English for the first time, The Violin of Auschwitz is the unforgettable story of one man’s refusal to surrender his dignity in the face of history’s greatest atrocity.In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvelously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin. . . . Imprisoned at Auschwitz, the notorious concentration camp, Daniel feels his humanity slipping away. Treasured memories of the young woman he loved and the prayers that once lingered on his lips become hazier with each passing day. Then a visit from a mysterious stranger changes everything, as Daniel’s former identity as a crafter of fine violins is revealed to all. The camp’s two most dangerous men use this information to make a cruel wager: If Daniel can build a successful violin within a certain number of days, the Kommandant wins a case of the finest burgundy. If not, the camp doctor, a torturer, gets hold of Daniel. And so, battling exhaustion, Daniel tries to recapture his lost art, knowing all too well the likely cost of failure. Written with lyrical simplicity and haunting beauty—and interspersed with chilling, actual Nazi documentation—The Violin of Auschwitz is more than just a novel: It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of beauty, art, and hope to triumph over the darkest adversity.From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Dec 31, 1997
This little novel tells a deeply moving story of survival and hope in the face of hatred and ugliness. Daniel is a young man who has been ripped from his life as a violin-maker, and the arms of his fiancee, and placed at Auschwitz. Those who are imprisoned nickname the camp "Hell." Daniel does woodworking until he fixes a violin for one of the prisoners, who plays for the commander. This catches the commander's attention and he orders Daniel to craft a violin.The process of returning to his beloved art also takes Daniel, for short periods, back to his old life. It gives him a reason to live in a world where death may have seemed a kinder option. Daniel's moments of beauty and joy with his violin are juxtaposed against the horrors of the camp: beatings, torture, starvation, degradation. It is an intense book that I had to set down at times. The effect of the Holocaust on the survivors, both at the time it occurred and fifty years later, was explored with heartbreaking insightfulness.How would you survive in a place where they had taken your family, freedom, home, your trade? Would you give up and, if you didn't, how would you find the will to get through? These are some of the many questions that came to me as I read this thought-provoking book. This is a story of survival, of the bonds of friendship which last a lifetime, of the triumph of creativity and beauty in a dark and depraved world. This little book takes you to the depths of hell, but also shows you the height of human potential.read more
A short but very emotional read.read more
When I was at school I read I Am David and it is a book that has stayed with me for years. I bought a copy as an adult and read it again - to me, it was just as moving despite my extra years. Perhaps even because of them. I have a feeling that The Auschwitz Violin will have a similar impact on the current generation.This is an incredibly moving tale of a violin maker - or luthier - who is interred in a Nazi camp during World War II. Although he tells the officials he is a carpenter by profession, a chance encounter leads to his real profession of luthier being revealed. I don't want to give too much about the story away - there is a real beauty in how it unfolds - but his talent brings him to the attention of some of the higher camp officials and a cruel bet means he needs to draw on everything he has learned in order to save his own life.The Auschwitz Violin is beautifully told from the point of view of a quiet, hard-working prisoner. Daniel shows a quiet strength - he is unwilling to be broken by the cruelty of the camp's guards or the barbarity of the rituals but he is also wise and knows when to speak and when to stay silent. This is a short book - a mere short episode in the life of Daniel - and is almost a snapshot of a barbaric and heartbreaking time; however, it is no less poignant for that. I thought this was an immensely touching read and I felt a real lump in my throat as I reach the book's conclusion. I know this - like I Am David - will stay with me for many years.read more
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