Eighteen violins from European Jewish communities destroyed during the Holocaust are now being heard nearly 70 years later in North Carolina. Amnon Weinstein began collecting the instruments in 1996, some of which were played by Jews inside Nazi concentration camps while others “belonged to the Klezmer musical culture”, according to the “Violins of Hope” website.
“When I play one of these instruments, I go through that same process of discovering what makes this instrument sound the best,” University of North Carolina music professor David Russell recently told NPR. “That means that I’m walking in their footsteps and their voice is actually heard by my playing of this violin.”
The “Violins of Hope” exhibit opened last week at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, and the exhibit’s violins will be featured in concert on April 21 at the Charlotte Symphony.
Making their North American debut, the instruments were first played publicly in Jerusalem in 2008, and in Switzerland in 2010.