The Holocaust and the Power of Music

Joshua Bell and Sigmund Rolat

World-acclaimed violinist and director Joshua Bell (1967) and Holocaust survivor and Polish-Jewish patron of the arts Sigmund Rolat (1930) will narrate the remarkable story of a unique instrument: the story of a Stradivarius violin that used to belong to Bronisław Huberman, the legendary violinist and founder of the illustrious Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. This famed violin was stolen from Huberman’s locker room in New York in 1936 and was considered lost for years. It surfaced again in 1985 and has since been played by Joshua Bell.

At the reopening of the synagogue, destroyed in the war, in Częstochowa – birth place of both Rolat and Huberman – Bell enchantingly performed on this extraordinary instrument upon invitation of his dear friend Rolat. Following this event, the violin became a moving symbol for the unassailable power of music. This remarkable history was narrated in the compelling documentary The Return of the Violin by film director Haim Hecht in 2012, which will be exclusively displayed in full at the Nexus Symposium. Joshua Bell, accompanied by his inseparable Stradivarius, and Sigmund Rolat, who emigrated to the Unites States after the war, bring a message of resistance and hope while demonstrating the power of music.


Joshua Bell and Sigmund Rolat on remembrance, moral responsibility and the power of music.


Joshua Bell performs Bach’s Chaconne, the final movement from Violin Partita 2 in D minor, on his 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin.