Violins of Hope will bring their stories of survival to Fort Wayne

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“The Nazis aren’t here anymore. The violins, they are.”– Amnon Weinstein

With a story as sobering as it is uplifting, the Violins of Hope are scheduled to visit Fort Wayne, Indiana this fall. The Violins of Hope are a set of more than two dozen violins whose original owners lost their lives in the Holocaust. Through research, the stories of the instruments’ owners have been told. The stories of the violin exist as a book, as an art exhibit in cities where they travel, as a documentary and as a performance. The Violins of Hope will be in Fort Wayne from Nov. 9-24, 2019.

Violins of Hope: stories worth telling different ways

On Nov. 9, the violins will be on display at the Ian and Mimi Rolland Center at the University of Saint Francis campus, 2701 Spring St., Fort Wayne. The exhibit will run until Dec. 1. According to the Violins of Hope Fort Wayne website, visitors are “invited to view, learn and contemplate the Violins of Hope.” The instruments survived dangerous journeys during the Holocaust. Each is treated like a survivor, an extension of its owner who cannot speak for him or herself anymore.

Beyond the art exhibit, on Nov. 10, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestras will play compositions written by musicians who have ties to the Holocaust. The concert will take place at Rhinehart Center for the Performing Arts on the Purdue Fort Wayne campus, 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd.

The organization, Violins of Hope Fort Wayne, is continuing to add events to their schedule and interested audiences are encouraged to check the group’s website, https://violinsofhopefw.org/events for more information.

Violins of Hope: origins in tragedy

The violins of Hope were organized by Amnon Weinstein. He was inspired by the memory of his father recalling that 400 members of his family had been killed in the Holocaust. The elder Weinstein could never speak of them again. The story is beyond poignant and is the perfect catalyst for a project like the Violins of Hope. In memory of his own relatives who were lost in the Holocaust, and the memory of musicians who left behind their violins in various ways, the Violins of Hope offer a story of resilience and the refusal to be silent.

There are a number of interesting and thoughtful events associated with the Violins of Hope this fall. While tickets for some events have yet to go on sale, some events like the art exhibit, are free. The group’s website is helpful in assisting audiences in navigating the scope of events.

“We are restoring the violins now, so when you hear them again, it is a victory. And, when it is a victory, you cannot take it away”–Amnon Weinstein

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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