Read Le Violon d'Auschwitz by Maria Àngels Anglada Marianne Millon Online


Auschwitz, 1944. Les privations, les coups, les humiliations. Un prisonnier juif, Daniel, lutte pour la survie de son âme. Surprenant un concert organisé par Sauckel, le commandant du camp, il révèle son talent de luthier pour sauver son ami Bronislaw, violoniste de génie accusé à tort d’avoir joué faux. Il va alors devoir fabriquer un violon qui imite le son d’un StradivaAuschwitz, 1944. Les privations, les coups, les humiliations. Un prisonnier juif, Daniel, lutte pour la survie de son âme. Surprenant un concert organisé par Sauckel, le commandant du camp, il révèle son talent de luthier pour sauver son ami Bronislaw, violoniste de génie accusé à tort d’avoir joué faux. Il va alors devoir fabriquer un violon qui imite le son d’un Stradivarius, car de cet instrument dépend leur salut... Composant un mélange subtil entre réalité et fiction, des documents historiques entrecoupent le récit comme autant de pauses glaçantes. Dans la tradition littéraire d’un Primo Levi, l’auteur mène une danse effroyable entre l’horreur de la barbarie et le sublime de la musique. C’est une leçon d’harmonie qu’offre la Catalane Maria Àngels Anglada. Son Violon est artisan de volupté, de fraternité. D’humanité. Laure Mentzel, Le Figaro....

Title : Le Violon d'Auschwitz
Author :
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ISBN : 9782253133452
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 160 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Le Violon d'Auschwitz Reviews

  • Brina
    2019-04-27 05:27

    Maria Angels Anglada was an award winning Catalans author. Her worked garnered her many prizes during her life, including the highest writing award bestowed in Catalan. Her novella The Violin of Auschwitz details the true story of how a violin maker named Daniel used his skill as a luthier to escape the clutches of the death camps. Daniel came from a religious family in Cracow that before the war had been violin makers. When the Germans took over Poland and forced all Jews into ghettos, Daniel's mother and sister succumbed to heartbreak. His father survived the ghetto but not the war, and the only family he had left were his fiancé Eva and a niece Regina, who was fortunate enough to be taken in by gentiles for the duration of the war. Knowledge that both were still alive gave Daniel the strength to survive each horrid day in Auschwitz. Upon finding out that Daniel the carpenter is really a violin maker, an SS officer places a bet with a doctor that Daniel could not construct a violin rivaling one of Stradivarius. Working around the clock with assistance from his friend Bronislaw the violinist, Daniel overcomes hunger and weakness to build a masterpiece. His craft and a little luck allows him to live past the date set by the bet. As in the majority of Holocaust narratives I have read, the imagery here is difficult to digest. Anglada's use of prose to describe music contrasts with the bleak outlook of life in Auschwitz. Told in flashback by a contemporary violinist who is a friend of Daniel's niece, Daniel's story is meant to provide hope amid the brutalities of the Holocaust. This is the first novella of Anglada's that I have read. Some of the prose may have been lost in translation from the Catalan, but it is still a beautiful story. I would read her other novels if they are available in English and rate The Violin of Auschwitz 4 bright stars.

  • Lynne King
    2019-05-11 11:31

    Emily Dickson defined so well the element of pain when she wrote:“Pain has an element of blank;It cannot recollectWhen it began, or if there wasA time when it was not.It has no future but itself,Its infinite realms containIts past, enlightened to perceiveNew periods of pain.”And pain, both mental and physical, make up the fabric of this beautifully poignant but also somewhat brilliantly-depressing novella.I don’t normally read books about the Holocaust as although I empathise with what happened to the Jewish people in the camps, I find literature of this period in history generally very depressing. I only found out today through research that it is in fact a genre, which somewhat surprised me:Gerald Levin states:“Little is known about how traditional literary genres came into existence. More is known about recent genres; but most discussions of genre treat them synchronically, without consideration of their historical development...The literature of the Holocaust is usually discussed as a class of literature defined by its subject – the destruction of European Jewry by Germany, chiefly in the years between 1942 and 1945, and not by its form. Thus the statement of Elie Wiesel,'A novel about Auschwitz is not a novel or else it is not about Auschwitz.’ ” Mr Levin added: “The pattern of the literature was established after the Second World War by diaries and journals that survived the Holocaust, notably those of Anne Frank and Emmanuel Ringelbaum, and later those of Chaim Kaplan, Moshe Flinker, Janusz Korczak and Primo Levi. These writers not only witnessed the Holocaust but sometimes confessed helplessness or incomprehension of events.”I cannot even begin to imagine how these survivors felt after the event, knowing what they had seen and lived through would be eternally retained in their memories. It’s horrifying to even contemplate. That’s the main reason why I never read “Sophy’s Choice”; I saw purely the film but even with the brilliant interpretation by Meryl Streep, it was “painful” to watch. Sophy did indeed have a rather brutal choice to make. The poignancy and the desperation in the minds of these Jewish prisoners and the sheer brutality of life in the concentration camps, and also knowing that there was only one way out.So you’re probably thinking why did I decide to read “The Violin of Auschwitz”? Well, firstly it was the word “violin” (one of my two favourite musical instruments; the other being the cello) in the title and secondly, the write-up which clearly demonstrated the author’s thinking process and it certainly appealed to me, called to me in fact: “Written with lyrical simplicity and haunting beauty—and interspersed with chilling, actual Nazi documentation—The Violin of Auschwitz is more than just a novel: It is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of beauty, art, and hope to triumph over the darkest adversity.”And finally, I knew for sure that I would be enthralled by this book. And that was certainly the case.“In the winter of 1991, at a concert in Krakow, an older woman with a marvellously pitched violin meets a fellow musician who is instantly captivated by her instrument. When he asks her how she obtained it, she reveals the remarkable story behind its origin...”And so through Regina, we hear the incredible life of her uncle Daniel, which is a mixture of poignant, haunting beauty and yet in parallel with unbelievable horror, but the catalyst is the self-effacing but determined survivor, Daniel, a Jewish luthier. He’s at Gehenna, in the Three Rivers Camp, one of the relatively small Auschwitz sub-camps but he was fortunate in that he had been placed to work for Commander Saucel, “a refined but sadistic giant of a man”.This man was inherently evil and it was interesting to read about what finally happened to him and in tandem with the other villain, Dr Rascher, the camp’s doctor, whose main thrill and reason for being was experimenting on the human body.The days are long and hard though, with very little food (basically turnips) and Daniel finds himself becoming weaker and weaker. He’s constantly tired and wonders how much longer he can stay alive. His luck turns though when he’s asked about his occupation and he automatically answered with the half-lie of “carpenter, cabinetmaker”. He felt that it sounded better than “luthier”. It’s strange that his thought process would have gone in that direction as he was finally asked to make a violin. Well one day, the Commander decides that Daniel would indeed make him a violin. I wondered why until I read that Sauckel “collects” musical instruments and there’s the inference that they may have been “stolen” which certainly appears likely.So thanks to making the violin, life was slightly better now; no beatings, no whippings, a little more food but what he hadn’t realized was that Saucel had entered into a bet with Dr Rascher regarding the “tonal” quality of the violin. If the violin is up to the Commander’s satisfaction, he’ll receive a case of Burgundy wine from Dr Rascher but if it isn’t, well Daniel will go to the experimenting doctor. It transpires that Rascher prefers beer to wine, the inference being that he’s more interested in acquiring people, i.e. bodies, for his experiments as opposed to “things” such as wine.But it’s Daniel’s determination to finish the violin that gives him that tiny effort to stay alive regardless and the author so exquisitely describes his struggles, his thoughts of Eva and his pre-camp life.There’s even mention of Oskar Schindler which seemed fitting:“the kind-eyed guest, a friend of Tisch’s, a man by the name of Schindler, a benevolent ‘goy’. It is Bronislaw, Daniel’s friend in the camp, who finally plays the violin for the commander and what a wonderful outcome.And what finally happened to Daniel? And as for the violin itself? What happened to that? Well the only way to find that out is to read this spellbinding book.

  • Darlene
    2019-05-18 11:10

    I have read many Holocaust stories and they have all touched me profoundly.... this book (a novella actually), The Violin of Auschwitz, , was not an exception. This is a sort of 'story within a story.' It begins in 1991, with a woman performing a concert with a 'perfectly pitched' violin. A fellow musician is enthralled with the beauty and the way this instrument sings and approaches the woman to find out its story. Regina, the woman, tells the history of the violin. It was crafted by her father, Daniel, while imprisoned in Auschwitz. The crafting of this violin turns out to be the result of a bet between the Kommandant of the camp and a sadistic camp doctor. If Daniel can craft the instrument within a particular amount of time, the Kommandant wins a case of Burgundy wine; if not, the doctor will then be permitted to use Daniel in his cruel, torturous experiments.This, and every other Holocaust story, never fails to astonish me with the bravery exhibited and the resilience of the human spirit. These stories move me and leave me filled with hope, that even facing the most unimaginable horror and evil, human beings (and these human beings in particular), can manage to retain that essential goodness and hopefulness that makes us uniquely human. Even though this was barely more than a short story, I was captivated by Daniel's story and I realized when I approached the end of the book, that I had been holding my breath in anticipation of discovering Daniel's fate.There is a passage which I think sums up perfectly the resilience and inner goodness and hope which was demonstrated by Daniel and all the prisoners of Auschwitz..... "hearing in the distance shouts directed at the newly arrived prisoners, he marveled that his heart had not completely died, that he could feel for others, that compassion for others now could spring from him like a tiny blade of grass emerging not from some wasteland but from the rich earth...... despite the months of cold, hunger and threats, his body bruised by beatings, the tremendous effort to stifle the cries when he was whipped, learning not to long for anything, not to think of anything beyond the immediate; despite it all, his heart was alive." Beautiful. I am just sorry that this story was so short.

  • Mark
    2019-04-26 06:29

    Read this short novel over breakfast this morning which involved my failing to start any other work until 930 but it was worth the need for any catch up. It is the story of Daniel a young jewish violin maker, technical term Luthier, who is taken from Warsaw and imprisoned in the horror of a concentration camp. Here he struggles with the bestial cruelty and unpredictability of the Nazi guards and along with the other men he is caught up just in the need to survive but for him his great gift, his great talent gives him a strange lifeline. The commandant, a brutal and vicious sadist, makes a pact with the equally appalling camp doctor and Daniel is ordered to make a violin to rank with a Stradivarius and, unbeknownst to him, they lay a bet on the success of the creation. If it is acknowledgably wonderful, the Commandant wins a case of Burgundy Wine, if it is not, Daniel will be condemned to be used in the Doctor's experiments.The power of this little work is the way the disgusting nature of this cruelty sits so bizarrely alongside the beautiful descriptive passages of his lovingly creating, in the midst of the horror, a wooden miracle which can sing out and above the evil. I do not know where Anglada learned her knowledge or love of wood and its properties but it is very emotive.She writes astoundingly powerful sentences which echo and resound and as always the beauty of the work of the translator, here a woman called Martha Tennent, has to be acknowledged too. 'The sun began shamelessly to unravel the fog, banishing it from the sky and the name of the murdered were swept away by the wind, removed to nothingness 'or again'he marveled that his heart had not completely died, that he could still feel for others, that compassion for other men could spring from him like a tiny blade of grass emerging not from some wasteland but from the rich earth '.These are two little examples of her prose which hasn't the slightest shade of purple and yet is truly lovely

  • Tonkica
    2019-05-21 09:25

    Sve priče takvih događaja su tužne, teške.. Samo su neke ispričane bolje, a neke lošije. Kada izostane emocija, već imaš dojam da netko "samo" priča priču, znaš da ćeš ju vrlo brzo zaboraviti.

  • Jibran
    2019-05-01 05:11

    Barren, sterile, lifeless prose. The premise is inspiring: many years later, an old violin becomes a point of departure for the reconstruction of the travails of its Jewish maker, once a prisoner at Auschwitz, who had attempted to rescue his life and dignity through his craft. This story would have turned out well in the hands of a better writer, but this time round, the promise is lost. Abandoned 43%

  • Sara Zovko
    2019-05-19 07:24

    Ne mogu reći da je ovo loša knjiga, ali mislim da joj nedostaje još malo razrade. Na svojih 172 stranice govori o jednoj zaista teškoj temi, jednom od odvratnijih razdoblja povijesti i spaja to sa čarolijom glazbe i ljudskim duhom koji je sposoban svašta preživjeti, no nekako nije me previše dotakla. Lijepo je pisana zaista je, samo mi je sve to nekako djelovalo hladno. Solidna, ali ne pretjerano pamtljiva knjiga.

  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    2019-05-19 05:12

    Luthier: A maker of stringed instruments; a violin-maker. This was a new word for me and I'll be looking to use it in word games.There are plenty of holocaust stories. As difficult as they are to read, as horrible as the real life they reflect, somehow most of the stories that come to us are stories of perseverance, a will to live, in the face of such hell. This little novella is one of them. Though I might have wanted more, it does what it set out to do. I may look for more by this author, but I will also look for more by this translator. Only because of its brevity am I giving it 4 stars.

  • Lance Greenfield
    2019-05-10 05:28

    Maria Àngels Anglada brings the history of the violin made by Daniel, the Jewish luthier, during his internment in the Auschwitz concentration camp, to vibrant life.The story opens with the playing of the violin by Regina in the present time. Her relationship to the craftsman becomes apparent about half way through the book, but is not fully revealed until nearr the end.The brutality of the Nazis in the WWII camps is vividly described in such a way that the reader can feel the day-to-day tension. The prisoners live on a knife-edge between survival and horrific punishment, or even death. Their fortune always hangs on the balance and depends on the moods of their captors as much as on their own actions. Should one stand to attention and salute when a German officer enters the room, or continue with one's work until spoken to? The answer to that question varies, as do the consequences of the answer. Every day is filled with gambles of life for every prisoner.Amidst all of the stress and anxiety, Daniel is awarded the opportunity to create a perfect musical instrument for the Camp Commandant. His chance comes when he observes a fellow prisoner, a violinst called Bronislaw, being berated by the Commandant for playing bad notes. Daniel can hear the fault in Bronislaw's violin, and knows exactly what it is. Risking his life, he steps forward to point out a split in the shoulder of the instrument. He is allowed to make the necessary repair, demonstrating his expertise.Suitably impressed, the commandant orders Daniel to make the perfect violin and allows him to choose his tools and materials.Daniel knows that failure could put his life on the line.The translation from Catalan to English by Martha Tennent must be good, as the strength of feeling, which must have been in the original, comes shining through. There is some tiny thing, which I can't quite identify, which is lacking in this book, for me, but it is well worth four to four-and-a-half stars. I would thoroughly recommend it to any of my friends.

  • Dora Santos Marques
    2019-04-29 06:25

    A minha opinião em vídeo: livro desiludiu-me bastante. Esperava muito mais...Gostei dos documentos reais de Auschwitz no inicio de cada capítulo.

  • Adam
    2019-05-25 12:32

    On the back of this slender volume, Tatiana de Rosnay is quoted as having said, "Read this little book and it will haunt you for ever." Having read it, I doubt that it will.Everything that is described in this brief, concisely written novel might have possibly happened in the peculiar atmosphere that reigned in Auschwitz. Yet for me, the narrative voice did not ring true.Daniel was a maker of stringed musical instruments before he entered the Nazi concentration camp system in Auschwitz. When, quite by chance, the commandant of the particular camp in which Daniel was interned discovers that he had a skilled instrument-maker amongst his inmates, he orders Daniel to make a violin, which has the quality of a Stradivarius. Daniel begins this task, and eventually learns that his life depends on him producing the instrument. He discovers that his life is part of a wager made between the commandant and the camp's doctor. If he is unable to make the violin, he learns that will be handed over to the doctor who is keen to use him in one of his inhumane, usually lethal, experiments.The plot is good as far as it goes, but I did not like the way that the book was written. It seemed to me that the authoress had done a great deal of reading about the Holocaust ('Shoah'), and that it affected her deeply enough to want to express her reactions to it by writing a novel. I have also read much about this tragic episode of 20th century history, but did not feel that Maria Angels Anglada was able to evoke the gloomy, hopeless atmosphere of the camps with as well as writers such as Primo Levi and David Ben-Dor (who were, it must be said, survivors of the concentration camps).In brief, this book added little or nothing to my appreciation of the horrific nature of the Nazi's crimes against humanity during the 1930s and 1940s, and I cannot recommend it as being worth reading, even though it takes little time to read.

  • Greg
    2019-05-18 09:28

    I’ll admit that I’m of two minds about The Violin of Auschwitz. Like many who have already reviewed it here, it didn’t affect me as powerfully as have other novels or biographical accounts of the Jewish holocaust and the Nazi concentration camps. I think, for example, of the dark power of Elie Wiesel’s Night, or the tremendous wisdom to be found in Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, and this one simply doesn’t compare. However, not all books can be Pulitzer prize winners, and that this one is not does not mean it has no value. For me, its value lies in the symbolism I found in it, which may or may not have been intended by the author (or fully brought to life by the translator). The violin itself was symbolic of things that bring beauty and light into life. Such things allow us to transcend the difficulties, challenges, and even evils that come upon us sometimes, and our immersion in them, bringing all of our talents and energies to bear upon them, can take us out of ourselves and to a different, better place. Friends such as Bronislaw also prove to be lifelines (and we to them) in those dark times, and also in times of goodness and hope. Even the prison commander and the evil doctor are symbols, of that which is most evil and destructive, but that still has not the power to destroy us (not our shell that we call our body, but us), and can only take our soul if we allow it. Death may remove us temporarily from this world, but never from the memories of those we have loved, and who loved us, and never permanently from the eternal world.Like others I have read of this genre, this book led me to pause from time to time, to think and ponder, and to appreciate the ease and joys and blessings of my life. That made it worthwhile.

  • Juliana Philippa
    2019-04-29 05:02

    Strong in its quiet simplicity, but I felt somewhat disconnected from the characters (3.5 stars)Maria Àngels Anglada is described as "one of the most important figures of Catalan twentieth-century literature," and her talent is evident in this novel. Both the story and the writing were simple and I don't intend that as a criticism, because in my opinion this simplicity is the book's greatest strength.The Auschwitz Violin has two frames to its central tale, so it's a story within a story within a story. The central one tells of Daniel, a young man in a concentration camp. He was a violin maker by trade and now "works" as a carpenter in the camp. Through a turn of events, he is assigned the task of creating a violin for Sauckel, the camp commander, who collects musical instruments. Bronislaw, a young violinist, will be the one to play the violin once it's completed.As with everything during that horrific time, nothing is clearly defined, yet everything carries an aspect of danger, with the threat of death ever present. Daniel and Bronislaw know that their lives depend on this one instrument and this one performance, though even should they survive this test, who knows what the next one will be.The book is a very short one (109 pages), which contributed to the feeling of simplicity, yet also to the lack of depth. I did not feel especially connected to the characters, nor implicated in and bound to what their fate would be. There were a few magical moments filled with poignancy, reflecting the utter desperation and helplessness of the prisoners' situation, and showing their amazing strength of spirit. But certain other parts did not really draw me in - most notably Daniel's process of and progress in creating the violin.The inhumane treatment that is mentioned almost in passing and the real documents that begin each chapter add to the starkness of the story and the characters' reality. Anglada's language is also at times poetic and it often contrasts with what it is she is describing. Writing of the SS officers: "From their serene (or fanatical) eyes and delicate, heinous hands hung a thin thread: life or the illusion of it" (p18). And describing the morning after several prisoners have been murdered: "The sun began shamelessly to unravel the fog, banishing it from the sky, and the names of the murdered were swept away by the wind, removed to nothingness" (p66).Anglada is talented with words, but for the most part the book didn't affect me as much as I thought it would. The exception to this was the ending, in which the story comes full circle. These last few pages were poignant, delicate, and beautiful, and make what came before them worthwhile. I would recommend this as a library check-out though, and not a purchase.[This review is of an advanced copy format of the book:]

  • Zeta Dina
    2019-05-12 11:28

    uvijek ovekujem da knjiga ovakve tematike izazove duboke emocije ali ovdje se nije dogodilo je zapravo tuzno I strasno me razocaralo, mozda je tako zbog nacina pripovijedanja, mozda je nesto drugo po srijedi, ne znam...

  • Ana Rodrigues
    2019-05-17 11:09

    Não era bem o que estava à espera.É a história da construção de um violino em Auschwitz

  • Julia Harrison
    2019-05-10 06:22

    Readability: Off the charts easy to read; I finished this in a spare hour while my father watched yet another repeat of Poirot. This isn't necessarily a good thing, though - this book is about the Holocaust, one of the most horrendous events ever to occur in our history, and a throwaway hour in front of the fire seems ... empty, unsatisfying, possibly even disrespectful. The very word 'Auschwitz' makes me shiver, feel a little nauseous, darkens everything around me, but this book evoked none of that feeling: it was quick and easy, and those are the two things I feel Holocaust fiction should not be. However, if I was to step off my soapbox for just a second or two, I suppose I would admit that the clear, precise language (I'm reading the English translation from the Catalan, so I'm not judging the original work at all, which perhaps is much more powerful linguistically than the translation) is quite refreshing, and allows the story space to breathe rather than clogging it up with any heavy over-description or artistic flourishes.Impact: The problem is, though, that there isn't really enough story, or at least any real emotional impact to the story, that would make it strong enough to survive without some interesting language. The premise for the book is full of potential: a Jewish luthier imprisoned in Auchwitz III - Monowitz, the labour camp - is ordered by a mercurial, brutal Kommandant to make him a violin, or else he will be handed over to the camp Doctor. I'm aware of the debate on how the Holocaust has become a minefield of emotion and story for writers, but my view as it stands is that while there is a huge amount of Holocaust fiction out there that is added to every day, it is a subject that, when it is handled well, can be extremely, shockingly powerful. It is also one of those subjects that the literary world may feel a little saturated by, given the sheer amount of writing it produces, but the fact remains it is an historical event which should never be forgotten, which is hugely important to our psyche, and a wealth of writing - both the good and the bad - is an inevitable side-effect of that. This book, however, fails to rise to the levels of the really good, affecting fiction relating to the topic. The premise may be good, but in the execution there is no sense of urgency or danger; I never felt involved in the story or in Daniel's situation. The whole thing feels flat, from his character and the ultimatum he is presented with to the description of the camp and its horrors. The only moments that stirred some genuine interest and emotion in me were the real copies of documents rescued from Auschwitz with which Anglada has framed each of her chapters, and the descriptions of how the violin is made. The former are affecting because they are real, and need no description to convey the horror behind their existence, and the latter seem to spring Daniel's character to life; his passion for his craft is visceral and exciting whereas in the rest of the book, his feelings are vaguely drawn or feel skipped over by Anglada. Aside from these brief interludes, however, The Auschwitz Violin was a huge disappointment for me - although at least it is a short enough book that I didn't regret spending time with it too much.

  • Annie
    2019-04-30 05:15

    Primeiro livro lido de 2017! - Realmente não foi o melhor livro sobre esta temática que li. "A Canção de Embalar" bate aos pontos este livros, mas não deixou de ser uma leitura interessante e de "abrir os olhos" - Um dos meus maiores problemas com este livro é o facto de o autor esperar que o leitor saiba as partes estruturais de um violino e as ferramentas e técnicas utilizadas para a sua construção. Ao longo dessas descrições a única coisa que consegui retirar foi o que a personagem estava a sentir enquanto trabalhava no violino. - Também acho que fomos lançados para a história deste personagem e, a seguir, retirados a frio. Fiquei um bocadinho perdida, apesar de o fim da personagem ter sido explicado.- Acho que este livro não é tão representativo do Holocausto, mas sim uma história movida pelo personagem que, por acaso, se encontra naquela situação. - Os documentos, apesar de eu dar valor ao facto de ser verdadeiros, passaram-me completamente ao lado e foi complicado fazer a ligação entre o documento no início do capítulo e a parte da história em que nos encontrávamosNo geral, foi uma leitura normal. Nada de especial ou memorável, mas não má de todo.

  • Oana
    2019-05-06 11:15

    This is a hundred pages beautiful, haunting and powerful novella about a luthier imprisoned in a sub-camp of Auschwitz, forced to make a violin, which can save or end his life. Though I’ve read a lot of World War II and Holocaust literature, I surely didn’t feel this one as just another Holocaust book, because its tone was different. For a change, this wasn’t a biography of a survivor, but historical fiction, so the typical graphic gore, violence and cruelty we find in this type of novels weren’t the prime subject, but just a sideline, the story being concentrated more on a man’s inner struggle to harbour his humanity, hope and dignity, in the middle of the horrors inflicted by Auschwitz. Very beautifully written, lyrical and not at all melodramatic, The Violin of Auschwitz might as well be considered a love story between a man and its beloved craft, the esquisite violin which will be forever proof of some things that shouldn’t have never happened.

  • Doreen
    2019-05-20 11:11

    I decided to take a break from the poor reading choices I've been making recently and read this novel, just arrived in the mail today. It was a swift read -- the book barely breaks 100 pages -- but so refreshingly good! It describes a Jewish prisoner in a concentration camp whose vocation as a luthier is discovered, whereupon he is commanded to make a virtuoso violin to rival the works of Stradivarius. Saying anything more would ruin the story, but I will say that I particularly enjoyed this passage, from pgs 65-66:"[The:] siren sounded, announcing that, despite everything, a new day was commencing... The sun began shamelessly to unravel the fog, banishing it from the sky, and the names of the murdered were swept away by the wind, removed to nothingness."This book is, especially, a treat for people who love stringed instruments the way I do.I received this book gratis from Goodreads' First Reads program.

  • Alexandra Pedro
    2019-05-22 12:22

    This was a buddy read and I guess I was the one, out of three, that enjoyed it the most, even though I didn't enjoy it very much... It was a fast reading and an easy one as well, even though it gets quite confusing at times (I don't feel like we can complain about that so much since that's her writing style). I feel like it teaches us a great lesson: we can find something worth living for even in the darkest of times. That's the one thing I'll take out of it. It didn't appeal to my emotions and, therefore, I think I won't take it with me for years to come.I'd recommend it for people who like violins and that's why I rated it 3 stars. It's more about violins than it is about the second world war, which was what I was most interested in. I could extract some information related with the second world war but not as much as I would expect on a book that's set in Auschwitz.

  • thewanderingjew
    2019-05-03 07:30

    This is a tender little book, very moving and enlightening although it is barely more than 100 pages. I find that no matter how much I have read or how much I think I know about the Holocaust and its perpetrators, there always seems to be some new horrible behavior or event to learn about with regard to the heinous actions that were perpetrated upon a helpless people simply because of what they believed and/or how they worshiped. I believe sincerely that it is the reason why we must never forget. At that time, our wildest imaginations would not have produced such monsters or events. I hope in this age, we will not allow ourselves to become more creative in the use of prejudice and its incumbent brutality.

  • David
    2019-04-26 08:23

    Pretty typical holocaust literature. And the prose style was lifeless. With literary fiction style and character drive the work and this possessed neither compelling characters nor an interesting use of language. If Ms. Anglada is indicative of the best Europe has to offer then I weep for the peninsula. It wasn't bad, and if this is your introduction to holocaust literature you may even call it good. But within the space of holocaust literature it isn't either original or compelling...the best which could be said of this is that it is typical/average. And, really, is there any greater condemnation of literary fiction.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-06 06:23

    This slim offering clearly conveys the horrifying existence of those imprisoned in concentration camps. Despite brutality, starvation and much deprivation, the author has shown the determination to live.In a small section in Auschwitz, Daniel, who had been a luthier or violin maker, in his former life is assigned to fashion an instrument for the commandant there. Little benevolence was offered to him, but he was fueled by his love of his artistry and his memories. Anglada has vividly drawn the picture of this struggling man and those other victims around him.I was not familiar with Anglada, who was an author of some acclaim. Credit should be given to the translator, Martha Tennent. *************************************Of interest, though tangentially related to this book is this item relating to violins and orchestras in concentration camps.'Violins Of Hope': Instruments From The Holocaust :

  • Lidija
    2019-04-30 09:28

    "Ljudi ponekad govore o "zvjerskoj" okrutnosti čovjeka, ali to je strašno nepravedno i uvredljivo prema zvijerima. Nijedna životinja nikad ne može biti tako okrutna kao čovjek, tako umješno, profinjeno okrutna." (F. M. Dostojevski)Pročitala sam "Violinu iz Auschwitza" Marije Angels Anglada. "Profinjeno okrutni". Ili – tako profinjeni, tako umjetnički, tako osjetljivi na ljepotu svake vrste. A tako strašno, bolesno, sadistički, nezamislivo okrutni. Ne mora me, doduše, knjiga podsjetiti na to. Mogu se samo malo osvrnuti. Sasvim malo. Ne moram ni vidjeti. Dovoljno mi je da čujem. Koliko je čovjeku potrebno i što je to što ga nagna da postane takav? I zašto netko postane takav, a netko, u istim uvjetima, postane bolji i draži i nježniji i suosjećajniji nego je bio? Kakvi smo to? Ponekad mislim da nismo zaslužili ništa. Sve smo zeznuli. Ponekad mislim da bi se sve trebalo vratiti na početak. Možda tad ne bismo zeznuli. Knjiga je izvanredna. Preporučujem svima, svima, SVIMA.

  • Cristiana de Sousa
    2019-05-08 10:22

    Estava curiosa mas a história não me cativou. Não sei foi a escrita ou a forma como a autora quis passar a mensagem! É uma bonita história mas depois de ler tantas histórias sobre o holocausto, acabou por não me cativar.

  • Kirsty
    2019-05-24 10:24

    The history nerd within me is absolutely fascinated by books which take World War Two as their focus, particularly so in instances where fact and fiction have been woven together. Such is the case in Maria Angels Anglada’s novella, The Auschwitz Violin. Translated into English by Martha Tennent, it was originally published in Catalan. Anglada, who died in 1999, was one of the most important figures in Catalonia, as well as one of the region’s most prestigious authors.The Auschwitz Violin has been on my radar for a number of years, but I was only recently able to find a copy via my local library system. Standing at just 109 pages, this book is a slim one, but even before beginning, I expected it to pack quite a punch.Each chapter opens with an authentic document of World War Two; the first of these details the fatal shooting of a Jewish woman along the ghetto border, who is trying to steal turnips from a cart. The novel proper begins in Krakow in 2001, with a concert musician named Climent, who becomes fascinated by the violin of a fellow player, and wishes to know its origins: ‘When the lesson finished, Regina placed her violin in my hands. I tried it, and the strings responded to my every appeal. like pliant clay being molded in my hands’. Her uncle, Daniel, made it, she tells him, to ‘the same measurements as the Stradivarius’. Regina decides to give Climent photocopies of all of the material which she has collected about the Holocaust, in which the majority of her family were murdered.9781849019811Throughout, the third person narrative voice has been used to detail Daniel’s story. He has been imprisoned in Auschwitz concentration camp, tasked with building a wooden greenhouse, in which ‘Commander Sauckel, a refined but sadistic giant of a man, was determined to cultivate gladioli and camellias’. Whilst giving his profession as a cabinetmaker, Daniel is actually a luthier, a violin maker. When we first meet him, he is being harshly whipped for the crime of oversleeping. Anglada quickly build a picture of the horrific conditions which surround her protagonist, and continually reasserts his place within the camp: ‘No nightmare, he thought, could possibly be worse than the cruelty that surrounded them, pervaded them, as inescapable as the air they breathed’.As soon as the camp command finds out about Daniel’s true profession, he is told that he has just one day to repair a violin, otherwise he will face grave consequences. This process of mending also helps to mend him, giving back the humanity which he had been stripped of upon arrival: ‘He was himself once again, not a number, not an object of taunting ridicule. He was Daniel, a luthier by profession. At that moment he thought of nothing other than the job at hand and the pride he took in it’. As one would expect, there is information here which deals with the making of violins, but it does often feel as though it has been rather overdone, and it overshadows other details of the plot. Some of the scenes which detail Daniel’s craft also tend to be a little long, or rather repetitive.Anglada details how Daniel comes to rely on those around him in some ways: ‘His fellow inmates – lice-infested, like him, to a greater or lesser degree – provided a warm, familiar reassurance’. The details which have been written about so simply carry with them a haunting quality: ‘From the ceiling hung corpses and violins’. There is a flatness to the whole, though, and it is rather too distanced – the fault of the third person perspective, perhaps.Catalan authors seem to do novellas well, but I must admit that I have a preference for Maria Barbal’s Peirene-published Stone in a Landslide, which I read a couple of months before The Auschwitz Violin. Whilst it deals with entirely different subject matter, the aforementioned seems to have had a tighter handle both over characters and scenes, and is not so abrupt in some places as The Auschwitz Violin tends to be. There may be a problem with the translation which takes some of the human element away, and there is a definite lack of emotion here; but nevertheless, the strong story in Anglada’s novella deserves to be read.

  • Jeannie Mancini
    2019-05-17 07:11

    Maria Angels Anglada's new novella titled The Auschwitz Violin, is very short on both length and story. Even calling it a novella is stretching it, it's not much more than a long short story at 109 pages. I read this piece in just two hours and when I finished it, my thought was that it was the most pointless story I've ever read, and certainly one of the top ten worst books I've ever encountered. I just did not see the reason in why this story was written, and with the fact that there are other novels with the same topic, it was not an innovative idea. Daniel is a prisoner in a WWII concentration camp, working with other men at odd jobs the guards and Commandant order them to perform. Before the war, Daniel was a Luthier, a maker of fine violins. When asked what his occupation is upon entering the camp, he lies and tells them he is a cabinet maker and carpenter and is put to work on building a greenhouse. One night while working in the Commandant's house during a party, he hears the sound of a screeching violin and the Commandant's harsh accusations towards the violin player. Daniel foolishly speaks out for the musician and informs the Commandant that it is not the player's fault, that the violin is cracked. Daniel is then put to work immediately to repair the violin and when finished is praised and then given the opportunity to make a custom violin for the Commander who is a collector. Hoping this wonderful opportunity will prove his talent and gain him rewards, he spends the next few months creating a special violin, putting his talented hands and loving care into this wonderful instrument. While Daniel is crafting this violin, background stories of the death camp horrors flash around him offering the reader a close view of what life was like in the camps and the cruelty inflicted upon the prisoners. But that is it folks. The entire story really. A man in a concentration camp that makes a violin. End of plot. There is no drama, no action, no mystery, no suspense, no romance, and not one character has any redeeming qualities that would have the reader latch on emotionally. Their personalities are flat and lifeless, no life-blood is breathed into their bodies, they had no soul. I felt the author's ability to create atmosphere with an engaging story was strongly lacking. The writing is choppy, skips and jumps hither and yon, and I truly kept asking myself, "what is the point of telling this story?" Arriving near the end of the book I really got even more astonished as we are at one moment with Daniel still not with a finished violin, and in the next paragraph the author jumps to the future long after the violin is done and we are in the presence of one of Daniels camp friends reminiscing about the past. Daniel's experience got left behind somewhere without the details of how he finished the instrument and what the reaction was of the Commandant who wanted this violin. There was a huge gap here that should have been filled in, and not so suddenly rushed ahead to the future long after the fact, and then followed up with a very predictable ending that was pretty much anticlimatic. Why did the author choose to just leave out a huge number of years in between or an on the spot finale when Daniel had completed his task that had caused so much angst for him and anticipation for reader? The one word that comes to mind when describing this book is "lackluster". We all truly feel for those that suffered in the camps, and most people do know the horrifying acts that were performed there, but the author gives us no sense of depth or substance in the telling of this story. It was way too short and probably could have been greatly improved if a little more effort was put into it. It almost read factual, as if the book was meant to be a non-fiction essay account of a true person's experience, but even then there was too much missing. Not too much praise here, sorry folks, I can't recommend this.

  • LitAddictedBrit
    2019-05-19 12:23

    In 2008, Boyfriend and I went to Krakow (and the photos scattered around this review are ones that I took while there). I was continuously surprised by the city. It was architecturally beautiful, because World War II was over before it could be invaded and destroyed (unlike, say, Warsaw). It was kooky and fun with adorable boutique-style restaurants and bars (we spent one evening drinking in a bar where all the tables were renovated Singer sewing machines, for example). We had already decided that we would visit Auschwitz Birkenau and I thought that would be at least one part of the trip where I knew what to expect. I knew it would be an emotional day and I knew it would be humbling and would put all of our "problems" into perspective; I just didn't know how emotional and humbling it would turn out to be. The scale of the site and the associated horror was for me almost incomprehensible; almost as though it is simply too much to process. The part that had the biggest impact on me (and that made me cry) was a corridor filled with framed photographs. Each photograph was a simply shot picture of a woman/man/child in a blue-and-white outfit looking straight at the camera. To this day, recalling the haunted/terrified/devastated looks in the hundreds of sets of eyes can bring me to tears.This book is the literary equivalent of those photographs.It's a snapshot of a tragedy that allows you to forget the statistics and remember that those catastrophic numbers were made out of individuals and families who had their own worries, their own battles and their own hopes. Daniel's story is a tiny part of a huge attrocity. I think that too often authors attempt to convey the magnitude of the Holocaust and try to impress their readers with the horrifying numbers. In the end, though, most of us can't really imagine it or understand it. Or at least, I can't. What we can understand, however, is Daniel's sense of loss and hope, his physical and emotional torment and his daily fight to survive.The story is told very simply, as you would expect for a book narrated by a prisoner in a concentration camp. Daniel is a wonderful character and I'm sure there's something in him for most readers to identify with, which I took to be part of the point. And in case you were concerned that this would be too introspective, his fictional endeavours are painted against a backdrop of fact. Indeed, on one of the first pages of the book is the statement:"Author's Note: The documents at the beginnings of the chapters are authentic" These excerpts are extremely well chosen and timed and the balance of Daniel's emotional narrative with terrifyingly clinical documents is perfect. Because of this elements, I think that it would be nigh impossible to read this book without having at least one moment where you flinch/look away/sneak away to guiltily remind yourself how lucky you are - I know that I did and it was part of what made the book such a powerful one for me. In a way, because of the strengths of the book, I was disappointed by the ending. I know that sounds strange given the subject matter so I won't say any more than that. I wouldn't want to ruin it for anybody that wants to pick this up and it could well just be me. Don't let it put you off and do let me know if you read this and have any particular thoughts on the matter.Overall: There isn't much more to say; only that, despite the vocabulary and sentence structure being relatively basic, this book is obviously not an "easy read". It is a short book that I think will stick with me for a long time and one I would certainly recommend.

  • Meaghan
    2019-05-16 08:21

    I received this book from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers.A slim and beautiful novella, the story of a young man in a sub-camp of Auschwitz, making a violin that could save his life, or end it. Daniel had been pretending to be a cabinetmaker, but after he accidentally revealed his real profession the commandant ordered him to make a violin. It must be a perfect violin and play beautifully, or Daniel will be turned over to the tender mercies of a sadistic camp doctor who is clearly based on Joseph Mengele. For that matter I don't know why the author didn't just have him BE Joseph Mengele.The making of the violin is described in loving, intimate detail and I think the author must have done a great deal of research into that aspect of the story. And as the violin is constructed, the suspense rises -- will it get done in time? Will it be good enough?This is a rather unusual Holocaust novel and I don't think it would be of much attraction to the ordinary reader. Rather, I would recommend it to people who are really into Holocaust stories, and also to violinists. Slightly interesting detail: Oskar Schindler, of Schindler's List fame, is a minor character.

  • G.S. Johnston
    2019-05-03 10:19

    The novel is startling. It rides on a series of deep contradictions. It’s written with almost a childlike simplicity and yet it charts the depths of humanity. Whilst there are no detailed descriptions of sustained violence, the deft recording of the incidental in camp life shows the absolute dehumanisation of the whole Concentration Camp system. For example, Daniel’s friend the violinist can’t overhear a conversation that would salve Daniel’s nerves because he’s not allowed to approach to close to the German officers. In the one instant there’s the detritus of humanity and its salvation by love and work. There’s a feeling of a continuous narrative and yet the narrative moves freely across time and place. There are gaps which become illuminating, like a piece of music. The commandant and Daniel both need the violin for very different reasons. This is a poem really, one that can and should be read time and time again.