Violins of Hope Commemorative Book

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Violins of Hope: Stories of Defiance, Resilience, and Legacy November 14, Allen County Courthouse Photo credit: Ray Steup

Photo credit: Ray Steup

DEAR FRIENDS: Something quite special happened in Fort Wayne in November 2019. Violins of Hope came to town, and while we had hoped the two-week commemoration of music, visual art, public conversation, interfaith dialogue, readings, and educational activities would be meaningful, none of us could have imagined the outpouring of interest and support the project would engender. The Violins of Hope Steering Committee determined early on that the project would focus on both the memory and legacy of those who were murdered and survived the Holocaust. Therefore, the themes of Defiance, Resilience, and Legacy were chosen to guide Violins of Hope Fort Wayne. We want to take this opportunity to thank the countless individuals who made possible Violins of Hope Fort Wayne. Through the financial generosity of foundations, corporations, arts and cultural institutions, and ordinary citizens, this community movingly told stories of defiance and resilience, and commemorated the legacy of these brave Jewish heroes. None of what we experienced could have been realized without this significant financial support. Nearly 30 community partners poured their collective hearts and souls into making this a true collaboration. Each invested time, talent, and treasure into creating a model community undertaking, the likes of which none of us had experienced before. Two hundred fifty musicians of our community brought to life the sound, presence, and stories of Violins of Hope. Through dozens of local area performances, they helped us honor the memories of the brave musicians who owned and played these precious instruments. Educators, scholars, and community representatives who formed the Violins of Hope steering committee, and many other volunteers, worked tirelessly for nearly two years to meticulously

plan this project. From creating sophisticated arts and education programs to serving as docents, gallery greeters, and drivers for our violin maker and author, no task was too daunting or too small. Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein painstakingly and lovingly restored these instruments, and in the process reclaimed their lost heritage. They continue to give voice to the victims of the Holocaust throughout the world and reinforce the positive messages of hope and harmony. We were honored to tell the stories and bear witness to the musicians who originally played these Strings of the Holocaust, who were deported from their homes, endured untold hardships, were beaten and forced into hard labor, and who gave their lives. Their sacrifices remind us that heroic aspirations will always remain a cause for optimism and that a wellspring of beauty can emerge from morally desolate barbarism. There is a lovely Yiddish word used to signify that something blessed is meant to be...“bashert.� We truly believe that the visit of Violins of Hope to Fort Wayne was bashert. With gratitude we thank you for making Violins of Hope Fort Wayne such a stunning and memorable success. Sincerely,

Jaki Schreier James W. Palermo Executive Director Managing Director Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Philharmonic

ABOUT A stirring testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of music, Violins of Hope comprise a collection of instruments that tell remarkable stories of the defiance, resilience, and legacy of Jewish musicians during the Holocaust, and of the Israeli violin makers dedicated to bringing these inspirational Strings of the Holocaust back to life.

THE FOUNDER Amnon Weinstein has spent the last two decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. He dedicates this important work to 400 relatives he never knew, all of whom were murdered during the Holocaust. After becoming one of the most respected violin makers in the world, Amnon was determined to reclaim his lost heritage. He started locating violins that were played by Jews in the camps and ghettos, painstakingly piecing them back together so they could be brought to life again on the concert stage. Although most of the musicians who originally played the instruments were silenced in the Holocaust, their voices and spirits live on through the violins that Amnon has lovingly restored. He calls these instruments the Violins of Hope.

Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein

VIOLINS OF HOPE F O R T WAY N E The Violins of Hope collection has toured many cities around the world and came to Fort Wayne from November 9–23, 2019. Organized by lead partners, the Jewish Federation of Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, a steering committee of local professionals was formed to work with area partners on a community-wide series of events focusing on these instruments. The sound, presence, and stories of Violins of Hope Fort Wayne drove the creation of music, visual art, theater, public conversation, interfaith dialogue, readings, and educational activities throughout Northeast Indiana. Most importantly, Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Youth Symphony Orchestra musicians brought to life the humanity and stories of those who owned these precious instruments through dozens of local area performances on the instruments.

G O A L S A N D PA R T N E R S In an increasingly complex, interrelated world, the critical goal of Violins of Hope Fort Wayne was to support and uphold Jewish culture, and impart an understanding of the Holocaust while highlighting human behavior “from ultimate evil to ultimate good.� The entire two-week commemoration of community-wide events focused on themes of defiance, resilience, and legacy, portraying stories of courage in the face of oppression and horrific persecution. The violin has become an important symbol of Jewish culture for centuries, both as a popular instrument with classical Jewish musicians and as a central factor of social life, as in the Klezmer tradition. But during the Holocaust, the violin assumed an extraordinary role within the Jewish community. It is those stories that Violins of Hope Fort Wayne told. It is the hope of all involved that these Strings of the Holocaust left participants with a sense of purpose, strength, and optimism for the future.


Instruments of Hope Wayne New Tech Academy and University of Saint Francis Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center


Irv Adler – Families Lost and Found: Tracing My Viennese Roots After the Holocaust George R. Mather Lecture Series History Center


Kayleen Reusser – Bearing Witness: Holocaust Through the Eyes of Soldiers George R. Mather Lecture Series History Center


Exhibition and Opening Reception: Strings of the Holocaust, November 9 - December 1

Weatherhead Gallery, Ian and Mimi Rolland Center, School of Creative Arts, University of Saint Francis


Reveal: Musicians Meet Violins, November 3 and 10 Auer Performance Hall, Purdue University Fort Wayne


A Conversation with James Grymes About Violins of Hope Allen County Public Library Theater

Photo credit: Ray Steup

Photo credit: Ray Steup

Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra: The Violins Live On, Concert and Chancellor’s Reception Auer Performance Hall, Purdue University Fort Wayne

The Pianist, November 10 - 21 Cinema Center


Downtown Rotary Club Parkview Field

Exhibition and Opening Reception: 5 Violins from the Shoah Fort Wayne Museum of Art


Guitars and Violins: Tone, Wood, and Structure as Described by the Luthiers Who Build Them Sweetwater


Appreciation Reception History Center


Violins of Hope: Stories of Defiance, Resilience, and Legacy Allen County Courthouse


Shabbat Service Congregation Achduth Vesholom


Violins of Hope: Music from the Shoah Allen County Public Library Theater

Three Rivers Choral Festival: Voices of Hope Auer Performance Hall, Purdue University Fort Wayne

The Klezmatics Embassy Theatre


Researching Victims and Survivors: Holocaust Genealogy Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center


Defiance: Screening of the Movie College of Professional Studies, Purdue University Fort Wayne


Perspectives on Defiance: The Courage of the Bielski Partisans College of Professional Studies, Purdue University Fort Wayne


Anthony Wayne Rotary Club Holiday Inn Purdue - Fort Wayne

Jewish-Catholic Prayer Service St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church


Culinary Diplomacy: A Melody of Jewish Foods Joseph Decuis Farm


Family of Composer Walter Bricht

Andrew Constantine with Daughters of Composer Walter Bricht

Fort Wayne Philharmonic: Violins of Hope Concert and Reception Embassy Theatre and Allen County Courthouse

Education Programs and School Visits


Docents and Community Engagement Events, September, October, November

89.1 WBOI, Northeast Indiana Public Radio, October – November

Composer Erwin Schulhoff

Ghetto, Purdue University Fort Wayne Theatre, November 15 - 23

WFWA, PBS39 October and November 2019, January 2020

THANK YOU TO THE FOLLOWING: Partners, Collaborators, Sponsors, Docents, and Volunteers Violins of Hope Steering Committee: Carol Adelman, Ben Eisbart, Carol Lindquist, David Lindquist, Todd Pelfrey, Jim Palermo, Jaki Schreier City of Fort Wayne and Mayor Tom Henry Larry Adelman Douglas Dennis Lee and Bonnie Pomerantz Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Emily Shannon Brooke Sheridan Rabbi Paula Jayne Winnig




The Waterfield Foundation, Inc.