Holocaust-Era Violins to Be Played in Cleveland This Fall

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Amnon Weinstein in his studio - DEBRA YASINOW
  • Debra Yasinow
  • Amnon Weinstein in his studio
A very special and unique musical arts exhibition is coming to Northeast Ohio, giving us all a look and a listen into history.

Violins of Hope builds a bridge to Nazi Germany, where music played a vital role in the minute sense of hope that was illuminated for the dying.

The group’s founder, Amnon Weinstein, first encountered a customer at his restoration businesses who described violins being played by Jewish musicians while Nazis marched other victim to death. Almost 20 years ago, Weinstein began actively collecting and restoring violins that had been played during the Holocaust.

“Wherever there were violins, there was hope,” Weinstein says of the program.

“A profound personal story lives within each violin, and together they possess the potential to leave an indelible impact on every person who sees and hears them,” says Richard Bogomolny, Cleveland Orchestra chairman of the board and one of the leaders of the Violins of Hope Cleveland effort.

This is only the second times the violins have been seen and heard in the U.S. (they were first hosted in Charlotte in 2012). Violins of Hope Cleveland will launch Sept. 27, 2015 and will conclude on Jan. 3, 2016. The months of programming with be anchored by a major exhibition at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, and events will take place all over Northeast Ohio.

From the exhibition hosts: “The multimedia exhibition contextualizes and shares each of the instruments’ very different stories and further illustrates both the strength of the human spirit and the power of music.”

The program is organized by Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Orchestra, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and ideastream.

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