This violin tells the story of two Holocaust survivors. Born in Hungary in 1925, Valeria Teichner started violin lessons at age six. In 1944, she was deported to Auschwitz. On the cattle train to the camp, she forgot her violin. Arriving at the camp, she went through a “selection,” where she lost her mother and was sent to several work details. A capo (a prisoner forced to supervise work details) used to play his violin every evening. “He played well,” she said.
On Christmas Eve, all prisoner-musicians were to play and sing for the commanders. Teichner was among those and sang “Lorelei,” accompanying herself on the violin. The next day, the officers’ cook threw a piece of cake for her over the fence — a terrible crime. The capo sentenced her to be hanged and called out: Geigerin heraus! (“Violinist – out!”). He then changed his mind, hit her in the face, and let her stay. She was liberated by the Soviets on May 8, 1945.
Teichner soon met Sandor Fisher — the owner of this violin — and married him. Sandor was born in 1919 in Romania, where he started violin lessons at age six and studied singing and acting for 12 years. At 18, he changed his name to Farago Sandor to avoid persecution as a Jew, and he became a part of the local opera company. When the situation for Jews worsened and his father was conscripted to hard labor, Fisher and his violin went along to the work camp. Soon he was ordered to play for the officers during dinner and so was able to smuggle leftovers for his friends.
In 1944, Fisher managed to escape the labor camp and join the Soviets. After the war, he married Valeria Teichner, and the couple stayed in Hungary for some years until emigrating to Israel. They raised a family of three daughters, along with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. All along, his daughters said he never parted with his violin, and he played it to the end of his days.