Julia’s Violinist is a love story that is dear to my heart. I’d like to tell you a little bit about it in time for Valentine’s Day.
Nineteen-year-old Julia lives in the tiny hamlet of Neusattl. She is in love with Michael, a roguishly handsome young man who plays the violin beautifully. He lives in Saaz, a much larger town about 15 kms away.
His long hours at work, and the early darkness of winter evenings make it almost impossible for them to see each other. Julia wonders if he really loves her after all. They break up when an acquaintance of Michael’s turns on the charm and sweeps her off her feet.
1939. War is declared. Everything changes. The next years bring love and loss and love again, but not with Michael. He has disappeared without a trace.
Julia begins a new family, a new life, with a man she is still getting to know. He is not the gentle fun-loving fellow that Michael was, but he promises to look after her. In the desperate postwar times it has to be enough. Then one day a letter arrives from her first love of over twenty years ago:
Excerpt from Julia’s Violinist
April 30, 1952
I hope that I’ve found you at last and that you are well. I’ve been writing letters and looking for you since the war ended. I didn’t know if you were dead or alive. I was so happy when the Red Cross sent me this address for you. They told me you are listed as a widow, so I presume that Lukas did not survive the war. I’m sorry for your loss. He was a good man.
I’ve been in Canada since 1938 when Hitler’s enforcers came looking for anyone who had opposed him politically. I was lucky to escape. I couldn’t even say goodbye to Marlies. I heard later that she died in the Dresden bombing. She had relatives there and was visiting at that terrible time. Sadly, they all perished.
A group of us, who feared for our lives, went into hiding. We managed to slip out of the country and come to Canada via Britain. There are a lot of German people in the Dawson Creek area.
Would you and your daughters consider coming to Canada? It is a land of hope and opportunity, they say. I believe it. It has been good to me. I have a bakery here in Dawson Creek and it is doing well. Why don’t you come? There are hard times ahead for you in Germany. Life is better here. Say you’ll come.
What would you do? Read Julia’s Violinist and find out what Julia did.