In a world often inundated with the cacophony of chaos, a poignant melody emerges from the heart-wrenching history of the Holocaust. Symphony of the Holocaust, a compelling new documentary slated for Oscar consideration, weaves the extraordinary life of Shony Braun, a master violinist and Holocaust survivor, into a haunting and hopeful testament to the millions of lives lost during World War II.

Shony Alex Braun, a Hungarian violin prodigy, miraculously survived four concentration camps during the Holocaust, channeling his experiences into the creation of over 200 musical works. However, his magnum opus, the “Symphony of the Holocaust,” held a special place in his heart, conceived as a beacon of beauty to be played at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Tragically, Shony passed away before realizing his dream, leaving his family with the profound mission of fulfilling his final wish. Now, in 2023, they journey to Auschwitz to witness an Armenian violinist play the symphony at the infamous gate where thousands once entered their horrific fate.

As Symphony of the Holocaust vies for Oscar recognition in the category of Best Documentary Feature, its timeliness resonates amidst current geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East. The documentary’s exploration of hope, tears, and triumph becomes an emotional mirror to our contemporary struggles, inviting reflection on the enduring consequences of intolerance.

Directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Greg DeHart, the documentary unfolds in five emotional movements mirroring Shony’s symphony: The Holocaust, Prayer, Liberation, Commemoration, and Joy. Interviews with Shony’s family, Dr. Noreen Green, Founding Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, and Jonathan Rubin of Robert C Cauer Violins provide a rich tapestry of personal narratives, musical expertise, and historical context.

Shony Braun’s survival story is intertwined with his post-war life in Los Angeles, where he, alongside his wife Shari Mendelovitz, built a flourishing music career, producing 11 albums and contributing to TV and film. His prized Giuseppe Galiano fiddle, repaired by Jonathan Rubin, became an emblem of resilience and creativity.

Members of The Academy can preview Symphony of the Holocaust on The Academy portal, with a public release scheduled for January on SunnStream, a new streaming platform. The documentary will make its World Premiere at the Jewish Nevada Film Festival on January 27, 2024, aligning with International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

As we stand on the precipice of a new year, Symphony of the Holocaust serves as a poignant reminder that amidst the shadows of history, there exists a melody of hope that transcends time—a melody that urges us to remember, reflect, and strive for a harmonious future.

Written by: Sari Cohen