Moving, musical exhibit coming to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

GRANADA HILLS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- An incredible exhibit is coming to the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust this spring, but before it opens, local students are getting an early look.

"Violins of Hope" is a collection of more than 60 stringed instruments that were rescued from the Holocaust and restored to their original condition.

Some musicians in Nazi concentration camps were forced to play in ensembles, but their instruments were abandoned or lost afterwards. Moshe Weinstein and his wife fled to Israel before the war and he rescued some of those instruments. His son, Amnon, and Amnon's son now restore them in Tel Aviv.

In the spring, most of the "Violins of Hope" will be on view at the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. There will also be a series of concerts at The Soraya in Northridge. Until then, a series of workshops are being performed at 40 area schools.

"I'm hoping they understand that even though it's important to think of the Holocaust and 'Violins of Hope' as a historical document, that that's not just something to live in the past," said Anthony Cantrell, The Soraya's Director of Arts Education.

Niv Ashkenazi played one of those very special violins for the dance students at Patrick Henry Middle School in Granada Hills. The Julliard-trained violinist has his instrument on long-term loan.

"It has a beautiful sound. One of the main ideas of 'Violins of Hope' is to allow voices that were silenced to be heard again, and by restoring these instruments and getting them played on, those voices will never be silenced," said Ashkenazi.

All of the instruments in the exhibit tell the stories of their previous owners and celebrate the triumph of the human spirit. "Violins of Hope" is set to open this March.
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