Violins of Hope

Instruments for Unity

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Reading, Pennsylvania

Events and Programs November 1-14, 2021

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EXPERIENCE THE VIOLINS OF HOPE

A Stunning Exhibit of the Strings of the Holocaust

Plus two weeks of moving events throughout Berks County.

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About

Violins of Hope Reading is a collaborative effort by organizations across Berks County. Each instrument in this collection belonged to an individual with their own unique and personal story. We hope you will learn and share their stories, as an act of remembrance for the many victims of the Holocaust.

Just like our diverse community, these violins and the individuals who played them, came from many different countries and a variety of experiences and faiths. They are connected through music and its ability to speak beyond differences in language, politics or religion. We present Violins of Hope Reading as the start of a community-wide conversation on unity and understanding.

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Violin Stories

"As long as they had their violins, they still had hope." ~ Dr. James Grymes, Author, Violins of Hope

The Buried Violin

Heinrich Herrmann was born and raised in Schwabach and Nuremberg, in the south of Germany, where he learned to play the violin. He studied law and became a judge, but following the Nuremberg laws, lost his position because of his Jewish identity. He then fled to Amsterdam, where he became a typewriter salesman and met his wife, Ilse. Heinrich clung to his old, inexpensive Gypsy violin and often played chamber music with friends.
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The Auschwitz Violin

This instrument was originally owned by an unnamed inmate who performed in the men’s orchestra at the concentration camp in Auschwitz—and survived. Abraham Davidowitz, a Jew who fled from Poland to Russia in 1939, encountered the instrument upon returning to postwar Germany to assist Jewish survivors living in displaced people’s camps near Munich.
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The Klezmer Violin

This lovely violin was originally made for a klezmer musician. The restoration work is dedicated to siblings Wolf and Bunia Rabinowitz, both gifted young violinists. They played multiple concerts in the Vilna ghetto during World War II, and were murdered with the last residents of the ghetto, most likely in the forest of Ponar, about 10 km outside the city.
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Events

Attend performances, exhibits, and activities throughout Reading

All events have concluded. Please click the link below to see what was previously available.

"For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." Elie Wiesel