Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. Each violin has its own unique and inspiring story that educates both young and old about the Holocaust in a deeply personal and emotional way. Today these instruments serve not only as powerful reminders of an unimaginable experience but also reinforce key lessons of tolerance, inclusion, and diversity that are essential for today and for future generations.
The Violins of Hope have been featured in books, print, film and television. They have been used in lectures and educational programs and their stories and messages have impacted hundreds of thousands of individuals. They have been played in concert halls and exhibited in museums throughout the world and they will be in Phoenix in February 2019. Through concerts, exhibition and education our community will have a variety of ways to experience Violins of Hope.
Violins of Hope will be one of the largest programs in Maricopa County, reaching between 30,000 to 50,000 people in our community and bringing non-profit arts groups and other agencies together to collaborate on this project.
Israeli violinmaker, Amnon Weinstein, has devoted the last 20 years to locating and restoring the violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost, including 400 of his own relatives. He calls these the Violins of Hope.
Amnon was born in 1939, one year after his parents immigrated to Palestine. His father, Moshe, was a violinist and luthier and Amnon followed in his father's footsteps, becoming one of the finest luthiers in the world. In the late 1980's, a man who played the violin in Auschwitz visited Amnon and asked if he would restore his violin. This man had not played the instrument since leaving the camp and wanted to get it restored for his grandson.
Weinstein lovingly restored that first violin. From that day on, he had a new mission in life. He tracked down and restored scores of other violins played by Jews in ghettos, forest hideouts and concentration camp orchestras. For years, he worked alone in a cramped basement workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel. Then his son, Avshalom, added two more helping hands. Working together, they’ve now restored more than 60 violins as a way to reclaim their lost heritage, give a voice to the victims, and reinforce positive messages of hope and harmony.