Arturo Toscanini (center left) and Bronisław Huberman (center right) at the public dress rehearsal of the Palestine Orchestra on December 25, 1936—one day before the ensemble’s debut. (Photo by Rudi Weissenstein, Pri-Or PhotoHouse. Courtesy of the Murray S. Katz Photo Collection of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.)
The Wagner Violin. This instrument was made by the 18th-century German violinmaker Benedict Wagner. Its owner was one of the 75 Jewish musicians who were dismissed from their positions in major European orchestras and subsequently recruited by Bronisław Huberman to establish the Palestine Orchestra (now the world-famous Israel Philharmonic Orchestra). By rescuing the musicians and their families from Europe, Huberman saved an estimated 1,000 lives between 1935 and 1939. After the war, the original owner of the Wagner Violin sold it to Amnon’s father Moshe Weinstein, a respected violin repairman in Tel Aviv. It was Amnon’s curiosity about the German-made instruments in his father’s inventory that inspired him to begin searching for other violins with connections to the Holocaust.