‘It’s another way of telling the story:’ Violins Of Hope visit Upstate

Published: May. 4, 2022 at 6:33 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A special set of instruments restored and collected from Holocaust victims and survivors now travel the world to share an important message.

“It’s another way of telling the story,” said Violins Of Hope Co-Founder Avshalom Weinstein.

Inside each violin, viola, and cello collected is history.

“We can sit and listen to a piece of music and we might all have different reflections on it but we can share the values and share history in this way. And it helps us to pass the baton on to the next generation,” explained Varna International Operations Director Sharon Tchonev.

Violins Of Hope have collected and restored 94 instruments to date, all of which belonged to Jewish people before or during the Holocaust.

“Almost every single camp had an orchestra, they also played music in the ghettos and the camps, so there are tens of thousands of instruments. The vast majority is gone, but we try to get what we can get,” said Weinstein.

On Wednesday, four of the violins were at St. Joseph’s Catholic School where two 10th graders, Nina and Isabella, were able to play them.

“It just teaches me so much about what music can do to the heart,” said Nina.

“They went through such a different experience, so it transcends time,” added Isabella.

Along with each performance comes a story of the person who used to play that same instrument.

That’s why St. Joseph’s Catholic School History Teacher Marla Palmer wanted to bring the program to her school.

Palmer also serves on the board of the South Carolina Council on the Holocaust.

“There were people who stood up and resisted the Nazi’s and it did make a difference,” she said.

Violins of Hope is partnering with Varna International to put on several concerts across South Carolina over the next few weeks, including in the Upstate.

For more information on those events, click here.