The Bielski violin, a Kleizer instrument with a mother of pearl star of David. A German made instrument, probably around 1870.
The Bielski violin.
This is a klezmer's violin. Most klezmers were self-made and self-taught musicians with a natural talent for music. While many arts were not encouraged by Jewish tradition, music became one of the very few venues available to artists.
It was quite common to young children to play violins, as told by I.L. Peretz, the Yiddish writer, who wrote in one of his short stories that one could tell how many boys were in a Jewish family – by counting the number of violins hanging on the wall.
This is probably the reason why so many klezmer instruments were decorated with the most known Jewish symbol – a Star of David. Most klezmer violins were cheap, made in Czechoslovakia or Germany, in shops that specialized in making ornamented violins.
The klezmer tradition was almost lost during WW2, but lately there is some revival in Europe as well as in Israel and the US.
The restoration work of this violin is dedicated to the Bielski partisans who lived, fought and saves 1230 Jews during the war. Assaela Weinstein, Amnon's wife is the daughter of Asael Bielski, one of the three brothers who formed the Bielski brigade in Belarus.