Amnon Weinstein, who restores violins previously owned by Jewish Holocaust victims, has been honoured for his work   


Amnon Weinstein in his Tel Aviv workshop

Last month, renowned violin maker Amnon Weinstein was awarded the Legion of Honor in Israel.  

Restoring violins previously owned by Jewish musicians, Weinstein collects pieces often in a terrible condition marked by time: broken, cracked and, on occasion, containing ashes. The violins belonged to Jews deported during the Holocaust or were found in the camps by survivors or American soldiers after the liberation.  

Once restored, these instruments become part of Weinstein’s collection, Violins of Hope which now boasts nearly 120 violins.  

‘A violin becomes better once it is restored and that is the best revenge in history,’ Weinstein said. ‘When I receive the violins, I try to put my emotions aside, but when I hear their story, it’s amazing, sometimes I can’t even touch them.’ 

Weinstein‘s principal aim is to hear the instruments played once more. Violins of Hope performs its own series of concerts as well as lectures and educational programmes.  

Violins of Hope will next be showcased in Paris for the 80th anniversary of the Vel D’hiv roundup, which remembers the largest single French deportation of Jews during the Holocaust. Many of the violins performing at the concert were recovered from the roundup itself.  

Weinstein has received numerous awards for his work, including a gold medal and a certificate of excellence for violin sound at Salt Lake City in 1982 and the Ole Bull prize in 2007, as well as the Medal of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ernst-Cramer-Medal for his work with Violins of Hope.