Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Violin, bow, and case used by a prisoner while interned in a camp run by Oskar Schindler

Object | Accession Number: 1995.86.1 a-j

Violin crafted in 1890 by Guadagnini, a master Italian instrument maker in Turin. Henry Rosner bought it in Vienna in 1928. It was his constant companion for 66 years, excepting a brief separation near the end of the war. Rosner played the violin professionally in well-known cafes, hotels and resorts all over Europe until Poland fell to the Nazis in 1939. Three years later, Rosner, his wife Manci -- their young son Alexander, and Rosner's two brothers, were sent to the Płaszów forced labor camp. There, Henry and his brother Poldek, an accordianist, were required to play for the camp's commandant, Amon Goeth. In addition to entertaining at Goeth's dinner parties, the Rosners also were frequently called upon to play lullabyes for Goeth at his villa. Oskar Schindler was a frequent dinner guest at the villa, and like Goeth, enjoyed the Rosners' music tremendously. Because of this, he added the entire Rosner family to the list of 1,100 works for his Brinnlitz munitions plant. The violin never made it to the sanctuary of Schindler's factory; it was taken away from Rosner at the Gross-Rosen transit camp along the way. But the violin was destined to find its way back into Henry Rosner's hands. He told the SS guard who confiscated it that the "fiddle" -- as well as Poldek's accordian and a toy accordian of Alexander's -- belonged to Oskar Schindler. Schindler later ransomed the instruments and presented the violin to Manci Rosner on the factory floor at Brinnlitz. He told her, "This is for you. Don't cry; it's the same violin but a different tune." By that time, her husband and son were at Dachau.

Object Type
Violin (lcsh)
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Abraham Zuckerman, Murray Pantirer and Isak Levenstein
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 17:51:03
This page: