The Mozart Question, Paperback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


When Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paulo Levi on his fiftieth birthday, she cannot believe her luck.

She is told that she can ask him anything at all - except the Mozart question.

But it is Paulo himself who decides that it is time for the truth to be told. And so follows the story of his parents as Jewish prisoners of war, forced to play Mozart violin concerti for the enemy; how they watched fellow Jews being led off to their deaths and knew that they were playing for their lives.

As the story unfolds, the journalist begins to understand the full horror of war, and how one group of musicians survived using the only weapon they had - music.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 80 pages, col. Illustrations
  • Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Historical
  • ISBN: 9781406312201



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This is an illustrated book written for older elementary students. This book tells the story of Jewish detainees imprisoned at a concentration camp. They survive because of their musical talents. At first, they feel lucky, but as they realize what their role in the camp will be, they wish things could be different. The musicians of the camp are organized into an orchestra and are forced to play for the officers of the camp. If that wasn’t bad enough, they must play classical music, particularly Mozart, when the trains come to the camp carrying new Jewish captives. The music is intended to sooth the nerves of prisoners and give them a false sense of hope as they step off the train. Once the camp is liberated, the orchestra members travel to different parts of Europe to try to live life after the tragedies of the concentration camp. Years later, a young child brings three of the members together and reminds them of their love of music. The idea that music was used in such a sinister way at these camps is mortifying to me! The positive aspects of this book include the subtle way the author describes the heartbreaking events that occurred at the camp. The camp is not the focus of the story, it is the music.Library Implications: This book is a great short story to introduce the topic of the Holocaust. Because of the graphic nature of this catastrophe, research tools and technology should be previewed by the librarian for appropriateness and graphic content. The study of classical music could be a secondary topic of research using this book.