Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein, Luthiers and Violins of Hope Founders
Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein has devoted the last 20 years to locating and restoring the violins of the Holocaust as a tribute to those who were lost, including 400 of his own relatives. He calls these the Violins of Hope.
Amnon was born in 1939, one year after his parents immigrated to Palestine. His father, Moshe, was a violinist and luthier. Amnon followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming one of the finest luthiers in the world. In the late 1980’s, a man who played the violin in Auschwitz visited Amnon and asked if he would restore his violin. This man had not played the instrument since leaving the camp and wanted it restored for his grandson.
Weinstein lovingly restored that first violin. From that day on, he had a new mission in life. He tracked down and restored scores of other violins played by Jews in ghettos, forest hideouts and concentration camp orchestras. For years, he worked alone in a cramped basement workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel. Then his son, Avshalom, added two more helping hands. Working together, they’ve now restored more than 70 violins as a way to reclaim their lost heritage, give a voice to the victims, and reinforce positive messages of hope and harmony.
Third-generation Israeli violin maker Avshalom Weinstein was trained by his father, master violin-maker Amnon Weinstein. He began working with his father in their Tel Aviv atelier in 1998 as a violin-maker and restorer of violins, violas and cellos of the highest quality.
He is trained in the tradition of the Italian Cremonese School of violin-makers and the French school of restoration. Avshalom also has worked with his father at the Keshet Eilon Violin- and Bow-making atelier and Keshet Eilon Master Classes for young violinists each summer since 1998. He was invited to join the CAKA Program (Cihat Askin and Kucuk Arkadaslari) in Turkey in 2006. Avshalom opened his own workshop in Istanbul in 2009, where he continues the family tradition.
Avshalom has also been training with Master Bow-Maker Daniel Schmidt from Dresden in bow repairs since 2009.
Avshalom is the co-founder of the Violins of Hope project together with his father. Violins of Hope refers to the Weinsteins’ collection of instruments with unique stories dating back to Jewish musical tradition and World War II. Both Amnon and Avshalom Weinstein collect these instruments and restore them with love and attention and bring them back to life as concert instruments.
Since 2006, the Violins of Hope have been touring Europe and North America, appearing with major orchestras and at music festivals. The project also includes chamber music concerts as well as educational programs, lectures, exhibitions of the instruments and their histories.