"Violins of Hope" tells stories of Jewish musicians during the Holocaust

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- Students at the Arizona School for the Arts will be telling the stories of Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, in a very unique way.

They'll be performing with special violins called the Violins of Hope. These violins are actual instruments that were used by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.
They symbolize tolerance, inclusion, and diversity for our future generations, and it is all part of a two-month event.

Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein and his family have devoted the last 20 years to restoring and locating the old violins of the Holocaust era. Amnon's son continued his legacy.

"My grandfather had 11 brothers and sisters, only one of them survived," said Avshalom Weinstein. "None of my grandmothers family survived."

This as a tribute to his relatives, survivors and the lives that were lost.

"If we don't talk about it, tell the stories and make sure that we remember, we might do the same mistakes again," said Weinstein.

More than 70 violins have been restored, some being played by students at the Arizona School for the Arts.

"Allows our understanding of the Holocaust to be connected through music, and it gives a different perspective about the Holocaust," said 8th Grader Casey Hendin.

"I am putting myself in their shoes and I'm getting to play their violin," said 8th Grader Madeline Yang. "It was kind of emotional for me."

These students read the Violins of Hope book, and heard individual stories about those who were imprisoned in concentration camps and survived by playing their violins.

"This gave them many times a little more food, a little reprieve from what was going on for them to play these instruments," said Rachel Hoffer, Co-Chair of Violins of Hope.

Now, these musical notes are giving a symbolic voice to the victims, to spread messages of hope and harmony.

"It's really a once-in-a-lifetime for us," said Leah Fregulia with Arizona School for the Arts. "We never had this opportunity, and we would do this again in a heartbeat."

Weinstein said Violins of Hope transcends religion and other barriers to spark more conversations about music, art, and social justice. There are events and performances going on throughout the month of March, many of which are open to the public.

Violins of Hope