Also, he may have been a little tired. Earlier that year, Huberman played 42 benefit concerts across the United States to finance the orchestra. He capped the effort with a New York fundraising dinner at which Albert Einstein was the guest of honor. Much of the money for the orchestra was raised in the U.S., a country that refused to accept Jewish refugees from Europe.
Perhaps Aronson thought the anecdote was too frivolous for his documentary. Orchestra of Exiles is very earnest, which is understandable. This is the story of a man who was essentially sentencing someone to death every time he didn't accept him (or, occasionally, her) for the new orchestra.
But the film doesn't serve Huberman's story well by oversimplifying it, or by downplaying such conflicts as Zionist leader Ben-Gurion's opposition to admitting orchestra members to Palestine. (He wanted workers, not artistes.) And the color-drained reenactments of episodes from Huberman's life only exacerbate the documentary's stodginess.
One thousand out of six million does not seem like many. But as the insistent logic of Leon Botstein urges, it is everything to each of those thousand and to their progeny. Those thousand are the ones whom Huberman managed to extricate from Europe as Nazism and anti-Semitism made its murderous march against civilization. Huberman was a determined visionary. His vision was an orchestra in Palestine, an orchestra of Jewish master musicians.
Bronislaw Huberman was a brilliant Jewish Polish violinist, remembered as much for founding the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as he was for his music. Having visited Palestine in 1929, he began to think of establishing a symphony orchestra there. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, Huberman grasped the threat to Jewish musicians in Europe. He recruited Europe's leading Jewish musicians and their families and formed the first Palestine Symphony Orchestra. If it had not been for Huberman's foresight, many of these musicians and their families would doubtless have perished in the Holocaust. The first concert was held on December 26, 1936 with maestro Arturo Toscanini as conductor. Toscanini, already a world-famous conductor by this time, had gained international respect for refusing to perform in Nazi Germany in protest of their discriminatory policies. While Huberman did not perform with Toscanini in 1936, they were reunited in 1938 when both performed on stage together.
Front: Black and white photograph of Arturo Toscanini in black, standing in front of an applauding orchestra. Toscanini spoke out against Nazi policies and actions in Europe, and conducted the Palestine Symphony Orchestra in their first concert on December 26, 1936. Back: Various stamps and writing including copyright information.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:Huberman was a brilliant Jewish Polish violinist, remembered as much for founding the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as he is for his music. Having visited Palestine in 1929, he began to think of establishing a symphony orchestra there. After the Nazi rise to power in 1933, and understanding the threat to Jewish musicians in Europe, he recruited Europe's leading Jewish musicians and their families to come to Palestine and form the Palestine Symphony Orchestra. If it had not been for Huberman's foresight, many of these musicians and their families would have doubtless perished in the Holocaust. The first concert was held on December 26, 1936 with maestro Arturo Toscanini as conductor. Toscanini, already a world famous conductor by this time, had gained repute by refusing to perform in Nazi Germany in protest of their policies. While Huberman did not perform with Toscanini in 1936, they were re-united in 1938 and both performed together.
The Palestine Symphony Orchestra was made up of Jewish musicians from the top ranks of orchestra and chamber music groups across Europe. Explore the points on this map to see names of members and orchestras they played for prior to 1936.
In the early 1930s, as part of his anti-Semitic agenda, Adolph Hitler began forcing Jewish musicians out of the great German orchestras. Sensing the ominous danger looming and seeing an opportunity, Huberman set out to create an orchestra in Palestine made of these top-tier Jewish exiles. He aspired to form a world-class orchestra that would build the prestige of Jews everywhere while serving as a powerful tool to protest the Nazi regime on a global stage.
Over a course of three years, Huberman conducted auditions with the top Jewish musicians in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Palestine, and Poland. He lobbied for hundreds of certificates of entry into Palestine and turned his own concerts into fundraisers to raise the substantial money needed for the creation of the orchestra.
Bronislaw went to extraordinary lengths to get visas for Jewish musicians, and in many cases their families as well. He raised money from music lovers such as Albert Einstein, and recruited non-Jewish celebrity musicians to help the cause. Famed Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini traveled to Palestine with Bronislaw in 1936 to train the orchestra.
His next visit to Palestine was in 1931. While there, Bronislaw and Ida enjoyed dinners in the homes of immigrant jews. In these dinners, Bronislaw has witnessed a deep love of music and a yearning for more European cultural heritage. It was in one of these dinners that he was inspired to make a first-class orchestra, exclusively made of Jewish musicians.
Bronislaw started progressively forming a newfound love for this country. It was after this visit that he decided to start creating a Jewish orchestra in Palestine. He immediately shared this idea with his friends, fellow musicians, Jewish leaders, and his colleagues in the Pan-Europa movement, asking them for their help to make it a reality.
David Ben-Gurion approved his request to grant permanent certificates for the orchestra musicians and their families to immigrate to Palestine and remain as permanent residents. The recruited musicians began selling their properties and possessions in preparation for their move to Palestine.
After their arrival to Palestine, the seventy musicians start to rehearse intensively under the baton of Wilhelm Steinberg, in preparation for the arrival of Toscanini. Maestro Toscanini arrived with his wife in Palestine on December 20th and continued rehearsing the orchestra himself.
The inaugural concert was presented 26 December 1936 in the Levant Pavilion and was very well received by the public. After founding the orchestra, Bronislaw Huberman continued to perform concerts throughout the world.
Some stories get lost in the turmoil of their times. It is often only in retrospect that we can discover the true shapers of history. One such man is the prodigious Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman. Orchestra of Exiles explores this great man's 4-year odyssey, which culminates in the founding of the orchestra that would become the Israel Philharmonic. His fascinating story touches many of the major themes of the 20th century and the unfolding drama of his life is riveting. During the darkest days of a Europe being torn apart by anti- Semitism and Nazi aggression, Huberman's extraordinary efforts saved hundreds of Jewish families from the approaching holocaust and his achievements changed the landscape of cultural history. Before the Nazis came to power Huberman was focused only on building his own monumental career but witnessing Hitler's agenda was a call to action that Huberman could not ignore. Huberman's personal transformation and subsequent heroic struggle to get Jewish musicians out of Europe to found this orchestra
Founded in 1936 as the Palestine Symphony, the orchestra, first conducted by Arturo Toscanini, debuted after a struggle that also involved Albert Einstein, Chaim Weizmann and a characteristically defiant David Ben-Gurion.
by Mordekhai DeutschTranslated by Moshe KuttenWhen I arrived in Ternopil in 1924, I found a cultural field of action – The Hebrew school. That school was founded before the First World War through the efforts of pioneering activists. With the break of The First World War, many activists left the city, which was close to the Russian border. They elected to move to the capital city Vienna until the fury passed. The young ones enlisted in the Austrian army. The old-timers never returned to their native city. Some remained in Vienna, and others moved to Congressional Poland. There was ample space for cultural work.The war handed Ternopil a heaping plate of troubles, calamities, pandemics, and destruction. Schools were closed because the state of the Jews was grievous. following days of the foreign and hostile regime and the continued war around and within the city for three years. Then came the Ukrainian regime, which lasted half a year, and in the end, the entrance of the Poles. All of those events impoverished the Jewish population. Only a handful of people dedicated themselves to the idea that the youth must receive a Hebrew education. They recognized early that there was no future for the Jewish youth in the diaspora, and therefore, they must be educated in pioneering [for settling in Eretz Israel], and be provided with the knowledge of the Hebrew language, a common language needed for the ingathering of the exiles in the homeland. These people invested substantial energy and efforts to revive whatever needed revival and fix whatever needed fixing.Their way was not paved. They faced many obstacles.
I first began to improve our kindergarten to be worthy of its name. “Tarbut” rented two large and long rooms. After a long battle, explanations, and pleas, I finally managed to convince the cultural committee of the need to dedicate one of the rooms solely for the use of the kindergarten. I painted all the furniture myself, and the floor I painted red. I decorated the walls with pictures and placed pots and flowers on the windows. Unfortunately, there was no room for a garden because we did not have a yard. I gradually introduced all sorts of games and instruments. I followed Montefiore's method, whereby I built most of the instruments myself with the help of the children. I established a workshop for wood and other crafts. My goal was to begin the education of good pioneers for Eretz Israel at an early age.I must note that I found understanding and dedication from the kindergarten committee. In the beginning, the number of children was low, and the tuition fees were insufficient to cover the expenses. The committee organized various activities to balance the budget. The main activity was the show by the children in the “Sokoll” hall in Hannukah. The educator in me objected strongly to the appearance of the children as “artists” in such a large hall full of strangers. I fought against such a show but did not prevail since it had already become a tradition. It also served as propaganda. The kindergarten committee overruled me. The Christian kindergarten also conducted a public show once a year.The appearance of the children was successful in several aspects. After the show, dances and games were organized in the large hall with the participation of guest children. There was a rich and nicely organized snack bar, a large orchestra of wind instruments, and many other surprises. The women of “Tarbut” invested a substantial effort in organizing the ball. “Tarbut” halls were bustling like beehives, with members who came to help in the preparations for the ball. Everyone wanted that ball to succeed. Indeed, the ball covered all the deficits of the entire year.I started an educational activity among the potential parents by conducting individual discussions, home visits, parents' gatherings, lectures about education in early childhood, national education, and value of our national holidays, the education towards work and social life, mutual aid, and more. I have to mention, with feelings of gratitude, Mrs. Shmorek, who was our regular lecturer at the parents' gatherings. She lectures on topics that I had difficulties with. As a result of these activities, a flow of the children of the Jewish intelligentsia ensued. They realized that even “Tarbut” can organize a kindergarten according to hygienic and pedagogical principles. We also were privileged to be visited and praised by the Christian supervisor from the government's education department. The number of children exceeded all estimates, and we were forced to hire a helper.I should mention here a daring trip that I organized on the “Lag BaOmer” holiday. I rented several cabs, and we decorated them with our national flags. Every child was dressed in white and was holding a bow decorated in blue and white. We invited the available mothers, sat down in the cabs, drove through streets with deafening singing, and went to the “Gaia” (A forest distanced several kilometers from the city). We spent several hours there, playing games, eating a festive meal, and singing. We went back home in high spirits. That daring trip was a subject for conversion by all.The kindergarten was a big center for the youth, members of “Tarbut”. I had many volunteers helping to prepare instruments and games before every celebration. We spent many pleasant evenings on improvement and enhancement work. Dear and delightful youth grew up in Ternopil, dedicated to national ideas.During my four years of work in Ternopil, I became attached and fell in love with the city. Some of my students reached Eretz Israel as children with their parents, and I also followed their progress here. However, most of them were annihilated by the defiled hand. May their memory be blessed. 781b155fdc