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Violins of Hope

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The Violins of Hope are a collection of more than 50 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.

The Violins of Hope are now giving voice to the horrors of the Holocaust as part of a series of programs being held in cities in Europe, Israel and the United States.  The Violins of Hope are being brought to Louisville to facilitate a citywide dialog about music, art, social justice and free expression.

Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein has spent the last two decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians killed in the Holocaust.  His aim was to restore these violins, working along with his son, Avshi, painstakingly piecing them back together, to her them played again restoring the memories of the voiceless millions who were lost including the musicians and artists.  Today, their voices and spirits live on through the violins that Amnon and Avshi have lovingly restored.  Amnon and Avshi call these instruments the Violins of Hope.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 21, 2019) – The Violins of Hope: Strings of the Holocaust, a collection of more than 60 restored instruments played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, will visit Louisville for 10 days of special programs and events, October 17-26, 2019. The Violins of Hope, being brought to Louisville by a consortium of partner organizations and presented by the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, will bring awareness and cultural education to the Louisville area. 


“Violins of Hope will honor the Jewish people, celebrate art, music and resilience, and facilitate dialogue about human rights and social justice,” said Miriam Ostroff, Violins of Hope program director. “We are thankful for the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence and all of our collaborative partners who are helping us make this impactful and moving experience available to Louisville residents and visitors.”


Violins have been an important part of Jewish culture for centuries and assumed a greater role during the Holocaust, when they provided comfort and connection during unthinkable challenges. Violins of Hope brings to the community 60 instruments that survived concentration camps, pogroms, and many long journeys to tell their story of hope and the resilience of the human spirit. Painstakingly collected and restored by Israeli luthiers Amnon and Avshi Weinstein, these special violins have traveled to cities in Europe, Israel and the United States.


The ten-day program in Louisville will consist of more than 30 community events, exhibits, performances and educational experiences created to inspire, enrich and educate.


“Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence is proud to be a partner in sharing Violins of Hope with Louisville,” said Linda Schuster, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence. “Its influence stretches far beyond the Jewish community, with the potential to connect a wide audience to a difficult history with important lessons of tolerance, inclusion and diversity so relevant to current events.”


Violins of Hope will offer a variety of events for the public to see these rare instruments, hear their music, and learn their stories. The violins will be on exhibit at The Frazier History Museum throughout the 10-day program. In addition, Weinstein and the violins will make appearances at lectures and performances at the Louisville Free Public Library, Bellarmine University, Indiana University Southeast, University of Louisville and the Filson Historical Society, as well as elementary schools, synagogues and churches. The program will culminate with a special performance by the Louisville Orchestra at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, October 26.


This is a collaborative project made possible by the generous support of arts and cultural organizations, grants, corporate sponsors and individual donors. Along with presenting sponsor Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Violins of Hope is fiscally sponsored by the Community Foundation of Louisville, Inc., a 501c3 public charity.  Other key collaborative partners include The Frazier History Museum, The Louisville Orchestra, Jewish Federation of Louisville, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, The Center for Interfaith Relations, University of Louisville School of Music, Bellarmine University and Jefferson County Public Schools.  


To learn more about the Violins of Hope program, please visit

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