Violins of Hope

Thanks to the Sponsorship of the Seigle Foundation and Palmer Foundation

Thank you to local partners:


Kneseth Israel, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin History Museum, School District U-46, City of Elgin, Chamber Music on the Fox and Pace





Violins of Hope is be hosted by JCC Chicago and other partner organizations. The collection of string instruments played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust have been painstakingly restored and are now coming to our area for cultural exhibitions, performances, and community education with a message of hope, resistance, resilience, and unity. For more information, visit

Take the Virtual Tour


NBC News - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - Nightly News


'Violins of Hope' performance honors Holocaust victims with restored instruments

Avshalom Weinstein and his father restore instruments, many of which were once owned by those who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived. The two Israeli violin makers tour the instruments around the world and honor those impacted. NBC News’ Jesse Kirsch shares the story.

Daily Herald-News - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - by Rick West

A refrain of 'never again': Violins of Hope Exhibit arrives in Elgin, showcasing Holocaust-era instruments

Bringing a message to never forget the past, the Violins of Hope arrived in Elgin Monday. The project is a series of concerts and exhibits...

Daily Herald-News - Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - Submitted by Melissa Rubalcaba Riske, Beth Tikvah Congregation

Violins of Hope concerts, exhibits make their way across state

Musical instruments aren't mere artifacts. They are meant to make music. And that is exactly what a collection of stringed instruments, some dating back 100 years...

Daily Herald-News - Thursday, April 13, 2023 - by Dave Oberhelman

'Victory of the human spirits': Violins played by Jewish musicians coming to suburbs

A child's violin has been restored but remains unplayable. Was it ever played? Sovering questions may come to mind when people see -- and hear -- the...


Elgin Courier-News - Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - by Gloria Casas

Instruments owned and played by Holocaust victims now part of the Violins of Hope exhibit at Elgin library

Ten heirloom violins played by musicians before and during the Holocaust, instruments that symbolize the strength, resilience and hope of...

> > > Read this article with your library card number by using our databases! Click here to read on NewsBank. 

Daily Herald-News - Friday, April 7, 2023 - Daily Herald Report

Violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust to visit Elgin

Ten violins played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust will arrive at the Gail Borden Public Library next week to be put on...

ABC7 - Monday, March 20, 2023 - By Roz Varon


Violins of Hope: Instruments rescued from Holocaust keeping Jewish musicians'  stories alive

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Violins of Hope is a collection of 70 restored string instruments that were played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. They've traveled the world, and next month you'll be able to see and hear them here...


Gail Borden Press Release 4/6/23


Exhibit Tours

Sign up for docent-led tours here.


Volunteering Opportunities

Please become a trained volunteer. We are recruiting volunteers to be trained. For more information on the volunteer training and commitment please visit the link below.

Sign up here:



Violins of Hope Grand Opening




⭐ Featured Violins of Hope Grand Opening

📆 Monday, April 24 ⏰ 7:00pm - 8:00pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

Meet the amazing violins that survived the Holocaust, and Avshi Weinstein, who restored these violins and their stories.


Sponsored by JCC Chicago, Elgin Symphony Orchestra, and the Seigle Foundation.

Watch Video

Luminaries: Distinctive Lives of Elgin’s Jewish Experience

With Richard Renner

📆 Thursday, April 27 ⏰ 7:00pm - 8:00pm

📍 Main Library - Elgin Room

Elgin's Congregation Kneseth Israel is celebrating 130 years! Historian Richard Renner highlights Jewish families and culture in Elgin over one hundred years from the 1850s.





Defiant Requiem: Film Screening

📆 Tuesday, May 2 ⏰ 6:30pm - 8:30pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

The true story of a courageous conductor in the Terezín concentration camp who led 150 fellow prisoners to learn and perform Verdi's Requiem during the darkest days of WWII.


The Thin Edge Of The Wedge

📆 Tuesday, May 9 ⏰ 6:30pm - 8:00pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

Drama students from South Elgin High School perform former Elgin resident Phyllis Zimbler Miller's play, which brings to life the words of Holocaust survivors.


Hemmens Concert

📆 Thursday, May 18

📍 Hemmens Cultural Center of Elgin - 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120

This concert is performed by ESO’s string quartet on the Violins of Hope and up to 24 music students with visiting students from area high and middle schools.


Open to students only.

Violins of Hope Author Talk

With James A. Grymes

📆 Saturday, May 20 ⏰ 2:00pm - 3:00pm

📍 Main Library

Meet James Grymes, critically acclaimed author and a dynamic speaker. He will discuss his award winning book, "Violins of Hope".


Members of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra Performing on the Violins of Hope

With Guest Conductor Matthew Sheppard

📆 Saturday, May 20 ⏰ 7:00pm - 9:30pm

📍 Hemmens Cultural Center of Elgin - 45 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120

The concert will begin at 8 pm with a pre-concert chat with author James A. Grymes starts at 7 pm

The concert will include “Theme from Schindler’s List” by John Williams, as well as music by Mahler and Mendelssohn.

Tickets $20, 40, 65, Students $10

Go to or Call: 847-888-4000

Box Office Hours: T-F 10-3 at the ESO Office, 20 DuPage Court, Elgin, IL 60120

In Partnership with the Gail Borden Public Library and the City of Elgin, an InKind Sponsor

Lost Voices

📆 Sunday, May 21 ⏰ 3:00pm - 4:00pm

📍 Congregation Kneseth Israel - 330 Division Street, Elgin, IL 60120

Join us on May 21st for a program dedicated to the music and memory of artists who perished in the Holocaust. Lost Voices will include music by Gideon Klein and Ilse Weber, who both perished in the Holocaust, as well as Andre Previn’s Clarinet Quintet, a contemporary work that was composed as a living memorial to the musicians of the Terezin concentration camp. The program will also include an excerpt from Oliver Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.



Concert Sponsors: JCC Chicago/Violins of Hope; Seigle Foundation, Gail Borden Public Library, Congregation Kneseth Israel, Palmer Foundation.

Tickets are Free but require reservation:

Website page:




Crescendo: Film Screening

📆 Thursday, June 8 ⏰ 6:00pm - 8:30pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

A world-renowned conductor takes on a challenge that offers no easy solution, but is full of hope: putting together an orchestra of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians.

Following the film, the EYSO Hanson Quartet will perform.


The Music of Terezín

📆 Thursday, June 15 ⏰ 6:30pm - 7:30pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

ESO cellist Sara Sitzer explores the incredible musical culture of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp for artists during WWII. Following the lecture, musicians will perform Gideon Klein's trio.



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