Violins of Hope at Galileo Academy, San Francisco, CA – October 23, 2019

by George J Elbaum

The Holocaust Center of Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) together with Facing History and Ourselves jointly organized a professional development workshop for educators in the greater San Francisco area on the topic of Music in the Holocaust, and specifically on the Violins of Hope Project.

The Violins of Hope is a collection of 16 instruments played by Jewish musicians during The Holocaust. They were collected and lovingly restored by an Israeli violin maker, Amnon Weinstein, who spent more than two decades painstakingly amassing this tragic collection which he calls “Violins of Hope” because they survived concentration camps, pogroms and many long journeys to tell remarkable stories of injustice, suffering, resilience and survival.  The Violins of Hope Project includes a national concert tour of these instruments and a documentary movie narrated by Academy Award-winner Adrien Brody, and it symbolizes the power of music.  It is thus a worthy topic of a workshop for Holocaust educators.

The event was held at the Galileo Academy and organized by Morgan Blum Schneider, Director of the JFCS Holocaust Center, and Elaine Guarnieri-Nunn, Executive Director, San Francisco Bay Area, Facing History and Ourselves, plus Facing History staff Lindsay Gutierrez,  Nga Mai, and Jared Kishidawa, Office Manager & Program Coordinator, who brought in trays of sweets for snacking which I much appreciated :-).  My participation was arranged by Penny Sevryn, Program Coordinator of JFCS Holocaust Center.

introduction by Morgan Blum Schneider



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