A violin played 83 years after its owner died at Auschwitz

December 6, 2017 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Over 100 people attended the 5th commemoration of the World Kindertransport Day at Sydney’s NCJWA Council House.

Leo Novikov plays Herman Merkur’s violin with  Miri Orden on the accordion    Photo: Wendy Bookatz

Harry Merkur told the story of his grandfather Herman Merkur, a Kapellmeister from Vienna who was murdered in Auschwitz.  Herman Merkur’s violin and his original songbook survived the war because one family member had kept both but they were not discovered until last year.

Leo Novikov, formerly of the Moscow Philharmonic played a medley of Polish and Viennese Music which Herman Merkur had composed using the violin which had not been played by anyone else since Herman Merkur last used it over 80 years ago.

Event organiser Janet Merkur told J-Wire: “Somehow the strains of the music reverberated throughout everyone present, and brought to life a gifted man who had been murdered in Auschwitz, on October, 1944.”

Among the many distinguished guests were present were the Deputy Consul General of Germany Mr Klaus Steitz, Deputy Consul of the Czech Republic, Mr Tomas Kara, Vic Alhadeff CEO of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, and Benny Kalpinski, cousin to BBC broadcaster, Natasha who featured in the Antiques Roadshow episode-Holocaust Memorabilia which was screened at the event.

Benny met Natasha, a BBC broadcaster through her personal journey into her family past on the TV program Who Do You Think You Are.

As the Australian Chair of the Kindertransport Association, Janet Merkur summarised the history of the Kindertransport and her family connections to it speaking about her family members who survived or were murdered at Auschwitz.

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