Violins of Hope in Long Beach
Chairman, Board of Directors
To Be Rescheduled
A unique program of special interest to the Jewish community is coming to Long Beach this Spring. There will be several opportunities to see and hear performances with and about these instruments that we would like to bring to the attention of NCJW members. Please click on the link and try to attend some of these events, including the Arlene Solomon Visions Dinner on March 5. You will be touched and thrilled by the commitment and dedication that resulted in the survival and restoration of these instruments that survived the Holocaust.
Violins of Hope Los Angeles County - 2020
Summary: The Violins of Hope are a collection of restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during The Holocaust. These instruments have survived concentration camps, pogroms and many long journeys to tell remarkable stories of injustice, suffering, resilience and survival. Long Beach Symphony is bringing the Violins of Hope to our community to facilitate a regional dialogue about music, art, social justice and free expression. Twelve violins, one viola and one cello will be played my Symphony musicians or displayed throughout the week.
History: Approximately 60 instruments, including one viola and one cello, have been painstakingly restored by Amnon Weinstein, a second-generation violin-maker, and serve as testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of music to lift hears in even the most horrific of circumstances. For Jews enduring utter despair and unimaginable evil during the Holocaust, music offered haven and humanity. The strains of a beloved song supplied solace, even if only for a few moments. The chords also provided a vital reminder that even the most brutal regime could not rob them of their faith. No matter what, their souls could be free.
In some cases, the ability to play the violin spared Jewish musicians from more grueling labors or even death. Nearly 50 years ago, Amnon Weinstein heard such a story from a customer who brought in an instrument for restoration. The customer survived the Holocaust because his job was to play the violin while Nazi soldiers marched others to their deaths. When Weinstein opened the violin’s case, he saw ashes. He thought of his own relatives, 300 of whom had perished, and was overwhelmed. He could not bring himself to begin the project. By 1996, Weinstein was ready. He put out a call for violins from the Holocaust that he would restore in hopes that the instruments would sound again, giving a voice to the voiceless.
The Violins of Hope now serve to educate and memorialize the lives of prisoners in concentration camps through concerts, exhibitions and other projects. The collection is owned by father and son team Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein, who are both violin makers and now reside in Tel Aviv.
The Long Beach Symphony is partnering with dozens of individuals and organizations on a community-wide series of events around these instruments, highlighted by an exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. The sound, presence and stories of these instruments will drive the creation of music, public conversation, interfaith dialogue, readings and educational activities throughout Long Beach.
Violins of Hope Long Beach Artistic, Education & Community Partners
Susanne Reyto, Chair, Violins of Hope Los Angeles County
Avshi Weinstein, owner, Violins of Hope
James Grymes, author, Violins of Hope
Niv Ashkenazi, violinist, educator and presenter, Violins of Hope
Deborah Goldfarb, Liaison, Jewish Community
Long Beach Unified School District
California State University, L.B. - Jewish Studies, Music, and History departments
Jewish Long Beach
Alpert Jewish Community Center of Long Beach
National Council of Jewish Women
Jewish Family and Children’s Services
Temple Israel of Long Beach
Temple Beth Shalom
Temple Beth Ohr
Temple Ner Tamid of Downey
Chabad of Los Alamitos and Cypress
Congregation Shir Chadash
Congregation Sholom of Leisure World, Seal Beach
Shul by the Shore
First Congregational Church of Long Beach
California Conference for Equality and Justice
City of Long Beach Human Relations Commission
Camerata Singers of Long Beach
Long Beach Chorale
Aquarium of the Pacific