In July 1945, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin convened in Berlin to negotiate the fate of the world in the aftermath of World War II. The agenda included the division of Europe between East and West and the ongoing war with Japan (which would end less than a month later with America’s nuclear strike). To break the ice in these tense discussions, Truman requested a private performance by the young virtuoso violinist Stuart Canin, who had fought as a GI on the front lines earlier that year. In Sam Ball’s short documentary, a 90-year-old Canin recalls his performance with wit and verve. The Rifleman’s Violin was produced by Abraham D. Sofaer for the Potsdam Revisited: Overture to the Cold War multimedia project created by Citizen Film in partnership with the Hoover Institution Archive at Stanford University.

Update: Due to severe weather, the live multimedia concert event is being replaced by projection of a concert film: Overture to the Cold War, recorded at Stanford University’s Bing Hall in November.  The Rifleman’s Violin short film will premiere as planned, followed by a Skype Q&A with violinist Stuart Canin and filmmaker Sam Ball.