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Violins of Hope

Violins of Hope at Northbrook Public Library

Violins of Hope at Northbrook Public Library Display & Storytelling

Violins of Hope is a private collection of lovingly restored violins, violas, and cellos played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

In partnership with JCC Chicago, we are proud to host a display of five of these remarkable instruments at the library, as well as provide the opportunity to hear stories about the instruments from historian, musician, and author James A. Grymes.

Violins of Hope Display at Northbrook Public Library

In partnership with JCC Chicago, we are honored to be able to display five of the remarkable instruments from the Violins of Hope collection in our Reference department on the days and times listed below. You do not need to register to visit the display.  

Sunday, August 6, 1:00-2:00pm

About the Violins on Display at Northbrook Public Library

The Wagner and Weichold Violins

Both fine, high-quality instruments belonged to members of the Palestine Orchestra created in 1936 by Bronislav Hubermann. They tell the story and history of the musicians who after 1948 became the IPO – Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Most members of the IPO were first-rate musicians in European orchestras but lost their positions when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and racial laws were enforced in Germany. The IPO musicians refused to play on German-made instruments and asked Moshe Weinstein to buy their violins. After 50 years, these silent violins have come back to life. 

JHV 7 The Feivel Wininger Violin

Made by Brother Placht workshop in Schonbach, Germany around 1880. in October 1941, after he and his family were deported by train to the Ukraine, Feivel Wininger was able to survive and feed his family by playing Ukrainian and Romanian music for weddings and holidays on a violin he was given. He later donated his violin to the Violins of Hope collection. 

JHV 16 The Bielski Violin

This Bielski violin is a klezmer instrument decorated with a mother-of-pearl Atar of David. It is a German-made instrument, probably around 1870. Most klezmers were self-made and self-taught musicians with a natural talent for music. The restoration work of this violin is dedicated to the Bielski partisans who lived, fought, and saved 1230 Jews during the war.

JHV 28

This klezmer violin has a Star of David on the back. It is dedicated to Cihat Ashkin from Turkey who initiated the very first concert of Violins of Hope in Istanbul.

JHV 33 The Violin from Lyon, France

This violin was made in Germany around 1900. In July 1942 thousands of Jews were arrested in Paris and sent by cattle trains to concentration camps in the East, most of them to Auschwitz. On one of the packed trains was a man holding a violin. When the train stopped somewhere along the roads of France, the man in the train cried out: "In the place where I now go – I don't need a violin. Here, take my violin so it may live!" The man threw his violin out the narrow window and it was picked up by one of the French workers. For many years the violin had no life. No one played it or had any use for it. Years later, the worker's children found the abandoned violin in their father's attic and told its story to a local violin maker in the South of France. The French violin maker heard about Violins of Hope and donated it to the collection, so the violin would live.

About the Violins of Hope Collection

Master violinists and makers Amnon and Avshalom (Avshi) Weinstein have spent the past 20 years collecting and lovingly restoring lovingly restored Holocaust-era violins and other stringed instruments, some with the Star of David on the back and others with names and dates inscribed in the instrument.

Their wish was to bring the instruments to the world to give voice to the victims and reinforce messages of hope, harmony, and humanity.
Avshi and Amnon continue to collect instruments and stories and travel the world to make sure their stories continue to be heard.

Visit for more information about Violins of Hope.