Juliek was a Polish musician who was one of the few prisoners in the concentration camp at Auschwitz who was able to play an instrument.
His music was a source of hope and comfort for the other prisoners, who would listen to him play his violin as they lay on their bunks during the day. Juliek’s playing also gave the other prisoners a sense of dignity and humanity in the face of the brutality of the Nazis.
Juliek continued to play his violin even as he lay dying in the mass of bodies, as a way of giving hope to the other prisoners and as a final act of defiance against the Nazis. His music was a reminder to them that there was still beauty and humanity in the world, even in the midst of their suffering. Juliek’s playing also showed them that it was possible to resist their captors’ attempts at dehumanizing them with brutality and cruelty—that by continuing to play his violin despite his own pain and suffering, Juliek was showing them how much power they had over their lives even after being made powerless by captivity.