Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of instrument played during Holocaust

Violins of Hope will tell the story of the instrument played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. (Photo by Daniel Levin Photography)

Violins of Hope tells the remarkable stories of violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

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 pertinent now as well as for future generations.

Violins of Hope will be in Arizona Feb. 3-March 26, 2019.

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, according to a press release. He calls these the Violins of Hope.

Mr. Weinstein has restored more than 60 violins as a way to reclaim his lost heritage, give a voice to the victims, and reinforce positive messages of hope and harmony.

The Violins of Hope have been played in concert halls and exhibited in museums throughout the world. They 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.

Violins of Hope will transcend religious and other barriers to facilitate a community-wide dialogue about music, art, social justice and free expression and the importance of cooperation and collaboration to achieve common goals.

The Violins of Hope program will feature:

  • Education programs for more than 17,000 students in grades six and higher in schools throughout the Valley and close to 5,000 students in Flagstaff, Sedona and Tucson middle and high-schools;
  • Free, multi-media exhibition of 21 Violins of Hope and their stories at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts;
  • Two orchestral concerts featuring Grammy-award winning violinist Gil Shaham;
  • Tribute concert honoring Holocaust survivors and their families as well as those that perished;
  • Chamber concerts at various locations;
  • Adult lecture series designed by ASU’s Center for Jewish Studies;
  • Teacher training sessions on the Holocaust by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Bureau of Jewish Education;
  • Photography exhibition at the Cutler-Plotkin Jewish Heritage Center featuring over 70 photos of Amnon Weinstein restoring the Violins of Hope; and
  • Book signing and lecture by Violins of Hope author, James Grymes.

“In every major U.S. city, except Phoenix, there is a Holocaust museum where people of all religions can go for education and knowledge,” said Julee Landau Shahon, co-chair of Violins of Hope, in a prepared statement. “In schools, the Holocaust is studied from a historical perspective but not in an in-depth, comprehensive way. Providing education on the Holocaust and relating lessons of the past to present day is key to creating a future where tolerance, hope and peace are valued.”

(Photo by Daniel Levin Photography)

Violins of Hope is a broad-reaching and collaborative effort with programs throughout the Phoenix Metropolitan area and Flagstaff, Tucson and Sedona.

According to Marty Haberer, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix, presenter of the Violins of Hope, in every city where Violins of Hope programming has taken place, it has been a huge success — for the community as well as the participating organizations.

“We expect to reach upwards of 50,000 people of all ages and religious beliefs throughout the state during the two-month-long event,” said Mr. Haberer in a prepared statement. “This is a large-scale collaborative project bringing together nonprofit arts groups and other agencies for a multi-cultural, multi-city event.”

“Given all that is happening in our world today, this program could not have come at a better time,” he continued. “According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. rose 57 percent compared to 2016. This is the largest single-year increase on record and the second highest number reported since the ADL started tracking such data in 1979.”

This is one of the largest collaborations of nonprofit organizations to be implemented throughout the state, the press release stated. Many events are free or low-cost to encourage participation.

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