La Oferta

December 7, 2023

Peninsula Symphony Brings the Sounds of the “Violins of Hope”

March 13 at 8 p.m. at San Mateo Performing Arts Center in San Mateo
March 14 at 8 p.m. at Heritage Theatre in Campbell

By Lina Broydo

Luthiers, makers of the stringed instruments such as violins and guitars, like the Weinsteins, repair and restore violins such as this one. “Isn’t it amazing how such a small, lightweight instrument is able to produce such powerful and profound music?”

Musicians of the Peninsula Symphony will perform an unforgettable program, adding the “Violins of Hope” to the full orchestral texture. Renowned Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein has devoted the past twenty years to restoring the violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost, including four hundred of his own relatives. Today, these instruments serve as powerful reminders of an unimaginable experience – they are memorials to those who perished and testaments to those who survived. The concert’s repertoire features Avinu Malkeinu, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, Op. 64 (featuring Cihat Askin on violin); Prokofiev, Overture on Jewish Themes, Op. 34; and Bloch, Three Jewish Poems. This program is part of Violins of Hope presented in association with Music at Kohl Mansion.

On my visit to the Los Gatos New Museum, one of the locations participating and showcasing the “Violins of Hope” exhibits.

Tickets and Information: 650-941-5291;

For me personally, a grandchild of the grandparents who perished in the Hollocaust and whom I never met, this is definitely a concert not to be missed and the memories not to be forgotten.

A priceless collection of 50 string instruments once played by Jewish prisoner-musicians from the camps and ghettos of the Holocaust have been showcased by 42 Bay Area organizations in a series of 17 classical music concerts, 11 Klezmer and folk concerts, curated exhibitions, bold films, 20 school programs, educational forums and special civic events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and International Remembrance Day.

Yes, I was able to gently handle this violin to get a sense of its shape, weight and other features. A truly emotional moment.

The “Violins of Hope,” the treasured and precious instruments rescued from the Holocaust and lovingly restored by renowned Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein, will sing again. “Even if the Jewish violinists (of the Holocaust era) have disappeared. I try to promise to them that their legacy will be born again as the notes are played,” declared Amnon Weinstein. Why do so many Jews play the violin? Because, according to the old explanation, when the time came to flee, you could always run with a violin. That’s the tragic yet ultimately inspiring origin of “Violins of Hope,” a collection of stringed instruments that survived the Shoah though their former owners did not. 26 of the 50 restored instruments making a trip from Israel to the West Coast were featured at a number of special exhibits for us to see. “Our violins represent the victory of the human spirit over evil and hatred,” said Amnon Weinstein.  If you have a violin from Europe with a Holocaust story and you wish to offer the instrument for inspection call 650-762-1130.