Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Violin, case and spare parts used by a Jewish Latvian musician while imprisoned in several concentration camps

Object | Accession Number: 2006.133.2 a-j

Violin, case, and parts kept by Perec Brandt during his imprisonment in several concentration camps from 1943-1945. A family friend gave the violin to Perec as a Bar Mitzvah present in 1921. Perec was the concertmaster of the Riga Latvian Symphony Orchestra in 1940 when the Soviets annexed Latvia. In June 1941, Latvia was under German occupation and Perec’s wife, daughter, and son were murdered by the SS Einsatzgruppen [mobile killing unit]. Perec was forced into the Riga ghetto, and later transferred to Riga-Kaiserwald, Stutthof, and Buchenwald concentration camps. In Buchenwald, he was ordered to play his violin for the commandant and was rewarded with extra rations. He kept his violin with him throughout his imprisonment and even slept with it. He was liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945, by the United States Army. Perec weighed 50 pounds at liberation. He joined the Kibbutz Buchenwald, part of a displaced persons camp. Postwar, he performed with his violin in various DP camps where he met and married Grunia Lewin (later Gertrude), a survivor of Dondangen II, Stutthof, and Mühldorf concentration camps. They immigrated to the United States in February 1949.

received:  approximately 1921
use:  1940-1949
use: Buchenwald (Concentration camp); Weimar (Thuringia, Germany)
Object Type
Violin (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Gertrude Brand
Record last modified: 2021-01-12 11:57:47
This page: