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Violin, bows, case and accessories recovered from Łódź ghetto and played in DP camps by a Polish Jewish musician

Object | Accession Number: 2010.472.1 a-t

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    Violin, bows, case and accessories recovered from Łódź ghetto and played in DP camps by a Polish Jewish musician

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Violin, case, and parts recovered from the Łódź ghetto in Poland and played by Henry Baigelman after the war. The instruments were hidden in an attic by Henry's brother David in the summer of 1944 after they learned that the Germans were going to destroy the ghetto. They were recovered by his brother-in-law after the city was liberated by the Soviets in January 1945. Two violins were recovered: this one and 2010.472.2; one was played by Henry in the ghetto; the other originally belonged to Henry's cousin. Henry was a professional musician in Łódź when Germany occupied Poland on September 1, 1939. He and his family were imprisoned in the Łódź (Litzmannstadt) ghetto where he and David performed with the orchestra. On June 10, 1944, Himmler ordered the ghetto destroyed. David hid the family instruments. On August 4, 1944, the family was deported to Auschwitz where they were separated. Henry was transferred to Kaltwasser, Flossenberg, and Altenhammer concentration camps. In Altenhammer, the camp supervisor had a violin; Henry played for him and received extra rations. On April 20, 1945, the prisoners were sent on a forced march and were liberated on April 23 by the US Army. Henry traveled to Cham, Germany, where he organized a band, The Happy Boys, that performed in displaced persons camps. Henry and 2 nephews were the only family members who survived the Holocaust. Henry married and emigrated to the United States in 1949.
    Date
    use:  before 1944 August-after 1945 May
    recovered:  after 1945 February
    Geography
    recovery: Litzmannstadt-Getto (Łódź, Poland); Łódź (Poland)
    use: displaced persons camps; Germany
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Estate of Henry Baigelman
    Markings
    a. violin bridge, center, stamped, purple ink : (illegible) / AUBERT
    b. violin case, base interior, on sticker, gold ink : BUILT LIKE A FORTRESS / Lifton / MADE IN USA
    j. box lid, exterior top, stamped within border, gold ink : Old Kent / De Luxe / Resin / VIOLIN VIOLA CELLO / REG TRADE MARK / THE SUPERTONE ROSIN FOR THE ARTIST BOW / MADE IN U.S.A.
    k. box lid, exterior top, on sticker, printed, black ink : Wabash / PROFESSIONAL ROSIN / MADE IN U.S.A.
    m. mute bottom, engraved : ELTON
    n. tweezers, interior, engraved : GERMANY
    s. envelope front, upper left, printed, multi-colored ink : VIOLIN-SAITE / DOMINANT
    s. envelope front, lower right, printed, multi-colored ink : PERLON / a1 II Ia / mittel / Nr. 13 / DR.THOMASTIK-INFELD / WIEN (a through a symbols)
    s. envelope reverse, printed, black ink : Made in Austria
    t. tag front, printed, blue ink : Light / AIRPLANE / CONSTRUCTION / Strong / PLYWOOD / THRU • OUT / by / Lifton / • This product is / unconditionally guaranteed / against all defects in either / materials or workmanship
    Contributor
    Subject: Henry C. Baigelman
    Biography
    Henry Chaim Baigelman was born on July 12, 1911, in Łódź, Poland, to Szyman and Rifka. He had a brother David, a composer and conductor, born in March 1887, two other brothers, a sister Rose, and three other sisters. A Polish-Jewish family, they attended synagogue, observed major holidays, and spoke Polish and Yiddish at home. Henry attended shul every Saturday, and received his secular education at a public Polish Gymnasium. They were a family of professional musicians. When Henry was 6, his brother-in-law, Samuel, taught him to play the violin. He joined a conservatory and at 15 began playing both the violin and the saxophone professionally. Szyman died in 1939, before the war started.
    On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. When the bombing began, the Baigelman men fled the city and hid in a field to avoid being caught and sent to a labor camp. Henry promised his mother that he would return that same day and he did. By September 8, the German army occupied Łódź and established a sealed ghetto. Henry, Rifka, David, a younger brother, Rose, her daughter, and extended family members were forced to move into a two room apartment in the ghetto. Henry worked in a kitchen and at a factory that manufactured hats for German soldiers. The administrative head of the ghetto, Mordechai Chaim Rumkowski, established the House of Culture where the Łódź ghetto orchestra performed twice per week; David was the conductor and Henry played the violin.
    After Rose died of a brain tumor around 1942, Rifka and Henry cared for her daughter. On June 10, 1944, Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the ghetto. David hid the family instruments, including Henry’s violin, in a factory attic. On August 4, 1944, Henry and 23 family members were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp. They took what they could carry and were forced into covered cattle cars for an overnight ride. Upon arrival, the men, women, and children were separated. Henry was stripped, shaved, disinfected, and given a prison uniform and shoes. He shared a bed with 3 others and did not work. Henry saw the crematoriums, but only heard rumors as to their purpose.
    On August 18, Henry was transported to Kaltwasser concentration camp in Germany in a closed cattle car. The prisoners could see people standing along the tracks, watching the train. He arrived on August 21 and was placed in a barracks with 500-600 prisoners. There was no sanitation or toilets, and many were ill. Henry worked building highways for 14 hours a day, 6 days a week; his rations were a small piece of bread and soup each day. In November 1944, he was transported to Flossenberg concentration camp and assigned to hard labor. In February 1945, there was a typhus outbreak in sub-camp Altenhammer and the sick were brought to the hospital at Flossenberg. Henry, his nephew, and 2 cousins were among those selected to replace them. In Atlenhammer, Henry met the camp supervisor, a German political prisoner. He had a violin and accordion and he made Henry and his cousin play daily for him. In return, Henry was well fed and had extra food to share with friends.
    On April 16, the German soldiers and guards vacated the camp. The prisoners, having nowhere to go, stayed behind. They found food and ate. After two days, the Germans returned and on April 20, decided to evacuate the camp by ordering a forced march of 12,000 prisoners. They marched at night and hid in orchards during the day. There was no food and they slept in the snow with one blanket. If a prisoner did not get up, he was shot. On April 23, Henry could not get up; his nephew and a friend carried him until he could walk on his own. They were liberated that night by the United States Army. Only 3,000 prisoners survived. The soldiers gave the liberated prisoners milk and food.
    Henry and four others found a farm and the farmer provided food and shelter. After a few weeks, they left for the American controlled city of Cham, Germany, and were provided with living accommodations. Henry and two nephews were the only survivors from his immediate family of twenty-three people. While in Cham, Henry met seven other musicians from Łódź. An American army captain and the Cham Burgermeister helped Henry organize an orchestra. Henry procured instruments from Czechoslovakia. His brother-in-law had retrieved the family instruments from the Łódź ghetto following its liberation by the Soviet Army on January 19, 1945. Henry also visited a textile factory and had suits tailor made for performances. The group named themselves the Happy Boys. They specialized in American jazz and performed for American troops. Henry contacted the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRAA), which administered displaced persons camps. UNRAA provided the group with an ambulance and driver. They converted it into a tour bus and performed at displaced persons camps and concert halls in large German cities. The Happy Boys were known for their mix of prewar hits, easy listening classics, Jewish songs, and original works about the lives and concerns of Jewish displaced persons. While touring in 1947, Henry married Gita Glazer. The couple had met in Łódź in 1939. The Happy Boys played together for four years.
    In 1949, Henry and Gita decided to leave Germany. Emigration to the United States was difficult and the couple decided to go to Israel. As they were making preparations, the quota opened for visas to the US. On August 9, they emigrated to New York from Cham on the USS General Haan. The couple had 2 children. Henry died on June 2, 2002, at the age of 90.

    Physical Details

    Object Type
    Violin (lcsh)
    Physical Description
    a. Full size, dark brown varnished wooden violin with vertical striations on the body. The top end is a carved spiral volute scroll that extends into a rectangular, slotted peg box with 4 holes with 4 black painted wooden tuning pegs inserted. Four metal strings wrapped with different colored thread are wound around the pegs. Below the peg box, the narrow neck attaches to the hourglass shaped body. The black painted fingerboard covers the neck and upper body. The strings extend along the fingerboard, over the light brown, unfinished wooden bridge, and through the 4 slotted metal holes of the fine tuner that extend beyond the tailpiece; the 2 silver metal tuner screws insert into the tailpiece top. The bridge is mounted upright between 2 F-shaped sound holes in the center body. The black painted tailpiece is wired to the black painted endpin. There is purfling, a narrow decorative inlay, around the body perimeter. A black painted oval wooden chin rest is attached to the right of the tailpiece by an adjustable metal clamp. On the interior left side is a dated repair note and signature written cursive in black ink.
    b. Black, leather covered plywood violin shaped case with a hinged convex lid. All hardware is gold colored metal. On the front left and far right are 2 drawbolts with hasp locks; in the center is a key plate and hasp lock and a black plastic handle. There are 3 metal feet. The lid is attached to the base with 3 flap hinges that are covered on the interior with padded gold ribbon. The interior is lined in green velvet with a padded perimeter. The lid interior has 2 strips of gold ribbon on each side for placing the 2 bows. There is a semi-circular left side compartment with a divider panel for the bow tips. The tips are held in place at the handle by 2 velvet covered metal spring right side brackets riveted to the lid; the rivets are visible on the exterior. The base has 2 flap covered accessory compartments; a manufacturer’s sticker is attached to the outside of the left compartment.
    c. Violin shaped, green cotton cloth cover made from 2 layers of cloth sewn together with dark red binding. There are 2 letters, AB, machine stitched in dark red thread on the front.
    d. Brown varnished wooden bow consisting of a curved stick and an animal hair ribbon loosely strung between the tip and the frog, which adjusts the tension on the hair. The hair is inserted into a square slot on the wooden wedge shaped tip on the underside of the rectangular head. On the stick end is a rectangular frog with a U-shaped cut out facing the tip; attached at the lower leg is a semi-circular metal ferrule that secures the hair to the frog. Extending back from the ferrule is a rectangular slot with mother of pearl top and circular side inserts. Above the frog, a dark brown leather strip is wound around the stick. The stick extends slightly past the frog and is capped with a faceted black wood and metal endscrew with a circular mother of pearl insert.
    e. Brown varnished wooden bow consisting of a curved stick and an animal hair ribbon loosely strung between the tip and frog. The white plastic wedge shaped tip on the underside of the rectangular head has hair inserted into a square slot. On the stick end is a rectangular frog with a U-Shaped cut out facing the tip; attached at the lower leg is a semi-circular metal ferrule that secures the hair to the frog. Extending back from the ferrule is a rectangular slot with mother of pearl front and circular side inserts. Above the frog, wire and black leather are wound around the stick. The stick extends slightly past the frog and is capped with a faceted black plastic and metal endscrew with a circular mother of pearl insert.
    f. Black painted, tapered wooden tuning peg with an oval, concave knob with horizontal depressions. The cylindrical shaft has 2 small holes near the end; paint is missing near the hole.
    g. Black painted, tapered wooden tuning peg with an oval, concave knob with horizontal depressions. The cylindrical shaft has 2 small holes near the end; paint is missing near the hole.
    h. Black painted, tapered wooden tuning peg with an oval, concave knob with horizontal depressions. The cylindrical shaft has 2 small holes near the end; paint is missing near the hole.
    i. Black painted, tapered wooden tuning peg with an oval knob that flattens at the base and has horizontal depressions. The cylindrical shaft has 2 small holes near the lower end. Paint is missing around the shaft.
    j1. Circular block of light brown translucent resin with an uneven top that is attached to a rectangular piece of black velvet.
    j2. Square, red paper covered brown cardboard telescoping box lid for base (j3). The bottom edges have semi-circular cutouts. The lid has gold colored English text and graphics.
    j3. Square, red paper covered brown cardboard telescoping box base for lid (j2).
    k1. Rectangular block of brown translucent resin with chipped edges. It is adhered on the bottom and long sides to a sheet of cork.
    k2. Rectangular, white paper covered brown cardboard sliding box lid for the base (k3). On the top is a rectangular pink paper sticker with English text; on the bottom is a square white paper sticker with Italian and English text and numbers.
    k3. Rectangular, white paper covered brown cardboard sliding box base for lid (k2).
    l. Black painted, 3 pronged wooden mute with a 2 V shaped slots in the spaces between the prongs.
    m. Circular, hollow, silver colored metal mute case and cylinder. The case has a set of 3 double pronged tabs extending from each side of the circular body; they face each other across the narrow gap of the open case. The 2 outer tabs are rectangular and flank a U shaped tab; the ends bend slightly outward. A cylinder with rounded ends is inserted into the hollow body. English text is engraved on the top of the outer cylinder.
    n. Grooved, silver colored metal tweezers with rounded tips on elongated bulbous handles that attach and flatten at the bottom to form a V. There is engraved English text on the interior.
    o. Smooth, silver colored metal tweezers with square beveled tips on elongated handles. The narrow tip flares at the center, tapers near the bottom, and flares out at the grip.
    p. Unfinished, light brown wooden bridge section detached from (r). It has diagonal sides that curl in at the waist and out at the hip before curving down to an angled foot. There is a semi circular cut out on the top edge.
    q. Rectangular, trifold wrapper made from a single piece of pebbled black leather. The top and lower halves are folded over and sewn vertically to form 4 square pockets stamped with gold metallic letters. The wrapper folds vertically inward and forms a narrow rectangle; it then folds horizontally to close. The spine has a cloth remnant from a closure strap. The front is embossed with illegible German text and numbers.
    r. Small, unfinished, light brown wooden bridge section detached from (p). It has a curved top with 4 shallow notches. There is a rectangular protrusion at the base.
    s. Small, square, paper envelope printed with English and German text, graphics, and numbers in black, light brown, yellow, and white on a brown background with a black border. The design features a stylized violin scroll above a partial violin body and the letter T superimposed over a violin. The price is handwritten in blue ink in the upper right and English text is printed on the reverse. The front upper left has a yellow stain.
    t. Rectangular, white cardboard tag with rounded corners and a circular hole at the top with a dark blue string tied through it. Printed on the front are 3 vertical wavy lines and blue English text. The reverse is blank.
    Dimensions
    a: Height: 23.500 inches (59.69 cm) | Width: 8.000 inches (20.32 cm) | Depth: 4.000 inches (10.16 cm)
    b: Height: 4.750 inches (12.065 cm) | Width: 30.500 inches (77.47 cm) | Depth: 9.875 inches (25.083 cm)
    c: Height: 25.000 inches (63.5 cm) | Width: 9.125 inches (23.178 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    d: Height: 29.500 inches (74.93 cm) | Width: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Depth: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm)
    e: Height: 29.125 inches (73.978 cm) | Width: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Depth: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm)
    f: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    g: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    h: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    i: Height: 2.125 inches (5.398 cm) | Width: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    j1: Height: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm) | Width: 5.500 inches (13.97 cm) | Depth: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm)
    j2: Height: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm) | Width: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Depth: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm)
    j3: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm) | Depth: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm)
    k1: Height: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Width: 2.250 inches (5.715 cm) | Depth: 1.375 inches (3.493 cm)
    k2: Height: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Depth: 1.625 inches (4.128 cm)
    k3: Height: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Width: 2.500 inches (6.35 cm) | Depth: 1.500 inches (3.81 cm)
    l: Height: 1.125 inches (2.858 cm) | Width: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    m: Height: 0.875 inches (2.223 cm) | Width: 1.625 inches (4.128 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    n: Height: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm) | Width: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    o: Height: 3.000 inches (7.62 cm) | Width: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm) | Depth: 0.375 inches (0.953 cm)
    p: Height: 1.000 inches (2.54 cm) | Width: 1.875 inches (4.763 cm) | Depth: 0.250 inches (0.635 cm)
    q: Height: 3.750 inches (9.525 cm) | Width: 3.375 inches (8.573 cm) | Depth: 0.500 inches (1.27 cm)
    r: Height: 0.625 inches (1.588 cm) | Width: 2.000 inches (5.08 cm) | Depth: 0.125 inches (0.318 cm)
    s: Height: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm) | Width: 3.875 inches (9.843 cm)
    t: Height: 3.125 inches (7.938 cm) | Width: 2.375 inches (6.033 cm)
    Materials
    a : wood, varnish, paint, metal, string, leather, plastic
    b : plywood, cloth, leather, metal, plastic, paper, ink, adhesive
    c : cloth
    d : wood, hair, varnish, metal, leather, mother of pearl
    e : wood, hair, varnish, metal, leather, plastic, mother of pearl
    f : wood, paint
    g : wood, paint
    h : wood, paint
    i : wood, paint
    j : resin, cardboard, cloth, paper, adhesive, ink
    k : resin, cardboard, paper, adhesive, ink
    l : wood, paint
    m : metal
    n : metal
    o : metal
    p : wood
    q : leather, ink
    r : wood
    s : paper, ink
    t : cardboard, string, ink
    Inscription
    a. violin, interior left side, handwritten, black ink : illegible / por (illegible signature) / Costa Rica 1961
    c. cover, front center, machine sewn, red thread : AB
    k. box lid, exterior bottom, on sticker, printed, black ink : LIBRERIA / LEHMAN / ¢ 2.00 / 3118 6r
    s. envelope front, handwritten, blue ink : c₡ 24

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The violin, bows, case, and accessories were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Riva Berelson and Simon Baigelman on behalf of the Estate of Henry Baigelman.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 20:13:44
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn43165

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