Town Crier Articles

Quick Getaways -- Violins of Hope
Posted on October 1, 2021 6:34 AM by Jim Ducibella
Categories: General
 
Feivel Wininger, his family and a few friends stayed alive because Wininger played the violin – and only because he possessed that skill.
 
As part of the Holocaust, Wininger, a violinist from Romania, was sent on a death march by the Nazis during the winter to the territory of Transnistria. His uncle and his mother died. His infant daughter, Helen, who was nine months old, was growing weaker and weaker.
 
But because he played the violin, he was able to leave the ghetto and perform at parties for the Nazis. He would bring home any leftovers of food back to the ghetto. It was the only way he could sustain himself and the others through the Holocaust.
 
Feivel named his violin “Friend.”
 
Wininger’s Friend, and more than 60 other violins played by Holocaust victims, are on display through October 24 at the Virginia Holocaust Museum, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture and the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia. (Nineteen are on display; the rest have been played in concerts and are being used in educational programs).
 
The violins were recovered and restored by Amnon Weinstein, an Israeli violin shop owner and master craftsman who lost 400 family members in the Holocaust.
 
He was born in 1939, the year after his family immigrated to Palestine. His father, Moshe, was also a violinist and luthier and taught the craft to his son. In the 1980s, after Weinstein repaired a violin for a Holocaust survivor who walked into his Tel Aviv shop, he started tracking down violins played by Jews in ghettos or in concentration camp orchestras, or who buried them to hide and save them. The exhibit has never been to the Mid-Atlantic before.
 
According to a news release, the mission of Violins of Hope is to create more meaningful conversations about social justice and tolerance.
 
For more information, visit this website violinsofhoperva.com.
 
      
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