All my life I heard my father telling me that Bronislaw Huberman had saved his life - and also his parents and sisters lives.
It took me many years to sit down with my father and find out what that really meant. The story began in 1927, when my father, David Grunschlag, who was already a known child prodigy in Vienna, went to play for Huberman at the urging of his first violin teacher, Adolf Bak.
My father was 13 at the time when Huberman heard him. He was so impressed that he personally took over his musical education - sending him to the Hochschule fur Musik in Berlin at age 14 to study with Willie Hess as well as Schoenberg, Berg, Schreker and the other greats of the early 20th century.
Huberman took care of every detail for my father, including where he lived and all the payments for tuition and living expenses. When my father was 16, he returned to Vienna and to Huberman, who in spite of his active concertizing was able to supervise his musical education.
As early as 1932, Huberman saw the dark clouds gathering around Europe and started his mission to create a world class orchestra in Palestine to save the Jewish musicians of Europe. By 1935 my father had offers to join the Vienna Philharmonic as one of their concertmasters, but Huberman had so impressed my father with his idea of the orchestra in Palestine that he along with the other 72 musicians from Europe arrived in Palestine in 1936 to form what is today the Israel Philharmonic.
My father was one of the brilliant violinists who, in the difficult days prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, was called to be a soloist as well as leader of the violin section. But the story does not end there - in 1937 Huberman arranged for certificates for my grandfather to come to Palestine and engaged him as well as a trumpet player in the orchestra. In 1938 as my grandmother was on her way to an interment camp in Poland, Huberman intervened again and arranged within a 3-week period to get her exist pass from Europe and certificate from the British mandate to enter Palestine - no easy task.
But the story does not end there - in 1939, my father's young sisters, the duo piano team Toni and Rosi Grunschlag, were stranded on their own in Vienna - unable to get out of Austria that was already part of the Nazi empire. Again Huberman to the rescue - upon receiving a telegram from Toni telling Huberman of their desperate situation, he came through and arranged for them safe passage to England.
So there is it - Huberman, one of the most important violinists of the 19th and 20th century, saved my entire family - and he did this countless times for many other people. In the end, he saved more than 1,000 people from certain death.
To repay my debt to Huberman I am producing a non-fiction film about Huberman and the founding of the IPO - The film maker is Josh Aronson, an award-winning documentary maker. We are in the midst of raising funds for the production of the film - and I would hope that every violinist would want to have Huberman's remarkable tale of heroism told to the world and support me in this project with a financial donation so that the film can be producer by the end of this year. Most of the research has already been done and we have many personal stories in addition to mine.Tweet
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