The Beau Bassin Boys, ca. 1941-1945. This ensemble of Jewish refugees performed in the Beau Bassin Prison on the island of Mauritius. Erich Weininger is the violinist on the far left. (Courtesy of the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum, Israel.)
Erich Weininger’s Violin. Erich Weininger was imprisoned in Dachau, where he played the violin in a clandestine orchestra, and was later transferred to Buchenwald. Thanks to the Quakers, Erich was released, becoming one of the last Jews to escape the Holocaust. On October 7, 1940, Erich and 3,600 other Jewish refugees left Europe for Palestine, where they were intercepted by British war boats and escorted to a detainee camp. There, a British guard attempted to seize Erich’s violin, but Erich resisted by throwing it over a fence to Jewish prisoners in the neighboring yard. The British authorities deported the refugees to the island of Mauritius, where they were confined until the end of the war. Throughout those 5 years, Erich provided comfort to his fellow prisoners by performing in an orchestra with other detainees.