By Austin Durkin
Violins of Hope is an organization founded by Amnon Weinstein that is devoted to saving and/or restoring instruments from World War II, specifically of Jewish make during or before Holocaust times. Though Violins of Hope is only 22 years in the making, these instruments have been collected for three generations. This organization began because of Amnon’s father, Moshe, who collected many violins and instruments in his time. Many Jewish people gave instruments to him saying, “Either you’re going to buy this instrument from me, or I will simply break it.”-Paraphrased by Avshalom Weinstein (Amnon’s son). This was disgraceful in his eyes, so he bought every single one of them he could. Now in present day, Violins of Hope has a collection of 72 instruments. Around 30 were brought to Knoxville as an exhibition just last week, some were even played.
Violins of Hope brought their message to Powell High School. We got to hear Avshalom Weinstein talk about 11 different stories of musicians during the holocaust. We also got to listen to two violinist play three beautifully performed songs. When they played, the room went quiet, and you could hear the struggle and strife in each chord they played. You also heard beauty and elegance. It made you feel as though you’ve heard this song a thousand times, each time better than the last. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
It is not my place to tell these stories, however. For anyone interested, go look up Violins of Hope on youtube or go to their website. These are stories that people need to hear, and I personally feel enlightened after experiencing this amazing and tragic display of stories lost to time.