Dr. Tamara Freeman, a Holocaust music recitalist and educator, will perform melodies composed by Jews interned in the WWII ghettos and concentration camps on her 1935 Joseph Bausch viola at the Dallas Holocaust Museum’s Yom Hashoah Ceremony on April 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Temple Shalom, 6930 Alpha Road, Dallas.
The Bausch viola, a relic of the Holocaust, was created for a petite Hungarian Jewess, a Miss Butzell, who emigrated from Hungary to Germany to teach music. The normally broad-sized viola was custom-made as a smaller-scaled “lady’s viola” to accommodate her tiny hands and fingers. However, Mr. Bausch took great pains to create a viola that still has a full, sonorous tone in spite of its smaller dimensions.
During the Holocaust, the Miss Butzell was captured by Nazi soldiers and removed from her home. A righteous Gentile neighbor rescued her viola from her apartment before the Nazis returned to loot her possessions. The Bausch viola was secretly shipped to the woman’s sister, Senta Butzell, in northern New Jersey for safe keeping, with the hope that the original owner of the instrument would survive the war. Regrettably, the original owner of the Bausch viola perished during the Holocaust.
Dr. Freeman, the fifth owner of the Bausch viola, acquired the instrument in 1998 from Mr. Robert Ames, a bow-maker and string instrument dealer in northern New Jersey. Dr. Freeman visited Mr. Ames to have her viola bows rehaired and to inquire about the possible purchase of a fine quality concert viola. Mr. Ames presented the Bausch viola and its historic papers to Dr. Freeman, not knowing that she was researching and performing music of the Holocaust. Survivors say that this coincidental encounter is “bashert,” Yiddish for divinely destined. Dr. Freeman feels honored to own the Bausch viola and also feels a deep sense of responsibility for using its “voice” to sing the songs and teach the lessons of the Holocaust.