Professional photographer Josh Aronson and writer Denise George deliver a beautifully researched work of nonfiction about the tragedy of Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the biography of Bronislaw Huberman, a world-famous violinist.
His story begins in Poland, where he was born to poor Jewish peasants. Once the child exhibited musical talent, his father drove him to become an acclaimed prodigy. The book follows Broni’s career as he achieved great success in the world of music — including the bestowal of a Stradivarius violin by the emperor — as well as his love affairs and the painful history of Europe during the First World War and its aftermath. As anger in distress mounted in Germany, Broni began to realize the potential application of his talent, wealth, and contacts to try to relieve some of the suffering that surrounded him.
In the 1930s Hitler came to power in Germany, promising a bright future to the despondent people. This promised feat would be accomplished, in part, by ridding Germany of its Jews and taking their often valuable property.
And here the book takes off. Huberman, hearing that over 8,000 Jewish musicians have been fired from their jobs, is deeply disturbed. He takes a trip to British Mandate Palestine and is impressed by the rigor and love of music he finds in the settlements. Deeply moved, he lights upon the idea of creating a world-class orchestra of Jewish musicians in the Holy Land. He begins to audition players, raises money, reconstructs a concert hall, and secures permission for his group to enter Palestine.
Though a large number of gifted Jewish musicians refused to leave Germany with their families to go to Palestine, certain that the terrifying anti-Semitism of the Nazis would soon blow over, Huberman did eventually triumph with a grand opening concert — conducted by the great Toscanini — of what would become the Israel Philharmonic, one of the greatest ensembles of the world.