crafted violin below once belonged to the famous violinist Henry Rosner, one of
the surviving Schindler
In 1943 the Rosner family was sent to the forced labor camp of
Plaszow. Here the conditions of life were made dreadful by the commandant
of Plaszow, SS officer Amon
Goeth. Goeth had made the final "liquidation" of the
Cracow ghetto and had experience at three death camps in eastern Poland,
Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.
A despicable, demented deviate who passes his mornings by using his
high-powered, scoped rifle to shoot at children playing in the camp. Amon
Goeth often would use it as an incentive to work harder. For example, some
men hauling coal were moving too slow for his liking. Goeth shot one of
them with his sniper rifle so the rest would hurry up. A prisoner in
Plaszow was very lucky if he could survive in this camp more than four
The violinist Henry Rosner and Poldek, his brother, an accordionist,
entertained Goeth and his frequent guest, Oscar Schindler,
at numerous dinner parties. Schindler, this remarkable man who outwitted
Amon Goeth and the Nazis to save more Jews from the gas chambers than any
other single person during WWII.
Goeth's love of music helped the Rosners survive Plaszow and Oscar
Schindler's fondness for the Rosner's compelled him to add the entire
Rosner family to his famous
list of 1100 workers.
After the war Henry Rosner became a very well known cafe- and restaurant
violinist in New York. Rosner loved to relate espicially this story about
when he was entertaining the Nazis at Amon Goeth's villa.
An SS officer, saddened by a love affair, got drunk and asked the Rosners
to play a melancholy tune, a Hungarian song called 'Gloomy Sunday'.
An emotional outpouring in which a young man is about to commit suicide
for love - actually the tune had led to several suicides across Europe.
The Rosners played it repeatedly, and after the SS officer had demanded
the song four or five times, an unearthly conviction took hold of Henry
Rosner. He later recalled 'God, if I have the power, maybe this
son-of-a-bitch will kill himself. I played the song 35 times in a row. He
opened the door to the balcony and ...'
The SS officer walked out and shot himself through the head ...
After WW2 Henry Rosner was reunited with his beloved instrument, and soon
Oscar Schindler re-entered their lives, staying with the Rosners in Queens
many times on his visits.
Henry Rosner, born in Crakow, Poland on March 2, 1905, passed away
December 3, 1995.