Juliek is a Polish prisoner and violinist, who befriends Elie in the concentration camp and laments that the Nazis prohibit him from playing Beethoven. In chapter six, the Jewish prisoners arrive at the Gleiwitz camp after marching through the treacherous snow all night and crowd into a packed barrack, which is full of dead bodies. During the frightening experience, Elie hears Juliek among the crowd as he expresses his concerns that his delicate violin will break from the weight of the prisoners. Elie then loses consciousness, and when he awakes, he hears Juliek playing Beethoven in the dark barrack among the dead bodies. Elie writes,
"He was playing a fragment of a Beethoven concerto. Never before had I heard such a beautiful sound...All I could hear was the violin, and it was as if Juliek's soul had become his bow. He was playing his life. His whole being was gliding over the strings. His unfulfilled hopes. His charred past, his extinguished future. He played that which he would never play again" (Wiesel, 120).
After examining the significance of Juliek's violin, one could argue that the delicate instrument symbolically represents civility, the indomitable human spirit, and the beauty of art, which will not be suppressed. In the middle of a horrific, dreadful environment, Juliek's violin brings peace to the chaotic, miserable atmosphere. When Juliek plays his violin, it is an expression of his soul, which has not been destroyed by the Holocaust. The fact that Juliek can make beautiful music during such a trying time reveals the indomitable human spirit and the fact that the arts will never be fully censored or suppressed.