Photo: The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, ca. 1928. Ernst Glaser is sitting in the concertmaster’s chair, a position he would occupy for an astounding thirty years. (Courtesy of Ernst Simon Glaser.)
Ole Bull’s Violin. This valuable Guarneri del Gesù was once owned by the virtuoso Norwegian violinist Ole Bull. In 1941, Ernst Glaser, the Jewish concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, was scheduled to perform a concerto on Ole Bull’s Violin with the Bergen Philharmonic in a concert celebrating the ensemble’s 175th jubilee. The performance in German-occupied Bergen was interrupted by rioting Hitler Youth, who threatened to lynch Ernst for playing on the national treasure. The orchestra responded by performing the Norwegian National Anthem, which compelled the youth to stand at attention long enough for Ernst to escape. Ernst fled to Sweden, where he spent the remainder of the war providing comfort and raising money for the Norwegian resistance fighters camped along the Norwegian border.