The Holocaust Museum & Learning Center will host an inspiring performance Feb. 17, when Tova Braitberg will play the violin that helped her grandfather survive the Holocaust.
The first time Gregor Braitberg’s violin saved him from harm was in 1939 when they were among a crowd of Jews in a Polish railway station. A horde of Nazis attacked them. A German officer ran toward Gregor, rifle raised, when he noticed Gregor’s violin case. According to Gregor’s memoir, “When I told him it was my violin, he ordered me to play for him. I played a Mozart concerto. While playing, I observed his face change, becoming more human. Tears appeared in his eyes and ran down his cheeks.”
After getting away, Gregor was able to use his musical talents to survive as he fled the Nazis and continued on a path that eventually brought him to St. Louis.
An exhibition of Gregor’s Violin will open at 1:30 pm on Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Kaplan Feldman Complex of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, followed at 2 pm by the lecture/performance. Mischa Braitberg, Gregor’s son and also an accomplished musician, will perform on Feb. 17 as well.
The exhibit will run through April 7 and another performance will be held March 17 in honor of Szyfra Braitberg, Gregor’s wife, who will be turning 100 years old.