Violins of Hope

Thanks to the Sponsorship of the Seigle Foundation and Palmer Foundation

Thank you to local partners:


Kneseth Israel, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin History Museum, School District U-46, City of Elgin, Chamber Music on the Fox and Pace





A new collection of Violins of Hope is now on display at the Gail Borden Public Library at 270 N. Grove, Elgin, Illinois.

The new collection is composed of violins that all have poignant stories as they were played before or during the Holocaust.  "The Silberstein" was played by Violette Jacquet-Silberstein, who played in Alma Rosé's Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz.  This violin just became part of the collection in 2022, when the family honored the project with her story of survival based on making the orchestra. The Feivel Wininger Violin supported not only former gifted child violinist Feivel Wininger, but also his family and 17 other people. The Vanderveen was played and owned by Joyce Vanderveen, who fled the Nazis on bike.  She became the star of the Royal Netherlands Ballet and the Monte Carlo Ballet. She also starred in many television shows and movies, including The Ten Commandments.

“Through hands-on experiences of performance, learning about their unique stories, and thinking into the future with the powerful knowledge of the ability of the human spirit to overcome hate and evil, we aspire to make a difference for all who experience this amazing project,” said Ilene Uhlmann, JCC Chicago’s Director of Community Engagement and Violins of Hope. 

The Violins of Hope are located on the second floor of the library. Violins of Hope is hosted by JCC Chicago and other partner organizations. The collection is composed of string instruments that were played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust have been painstakingly restored and are now coming to our area for cultural exhibitions, performances, and community education with a message of hope, resistance, resilience, and unity. For more information, visit



Strings of Resilience

A Tribute to Violins of Hope is composed of pieces by visual artists of the Jewish Artists Collective of Chicago that reflect their responses to the stories and musicians featured in the Violins.




The Jewish Experience

Elgin History Museum's award-winning traveling exhibit focuses on a century of the Jewish experience in Elgin, IL. Starting with the arrival of the Adler brothers in the 1850s, it portrays a significant story of struggle and achievement culminating a century later with the building of a new synagogue, the consecration of a Jewish cemetery and the valued participation of Jewish individuals in all aspects of Elgin’s life.




Take the Virtual Tour


Daily Herald-News - Wednesday, August 23, 2023 - by Elizabeth Clemmons

The "Violins of Hope" on display through Sept. 15 at Gail Borden Public Library in Elgin tell the stories of the Jewish musicians who played the violins before and during the Holocaust.


Gail Borden Press Release 7/19/23

NBC News - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - Nightly News


'Violins of Hope' performance honors Holocaust victims with restored instruments

Avshalom Weinstein and his father restore instruments, many of which were once owned by those who perished in the Holocaust and those who survived. The two Israeli violin makers tour the instruments around the world and honor those impacted. NBC News’ Jesse Kirsch shares the story.

Daily Herald-News - Wednesday, April 26, 2023 - by Rick West

A refrain of 'never again': Violins of Hope Exhibit arrives in Elgin, showcasing Holocaust-era instruments

Bringing a message to never forget the past, the Violins of Hope arrived in Elgin Monday. The project is a series of concerts and exhibits...

Daily Herald-News - Wednesday, April 19, 2023 - Submitted by Melissa Rubalcaba Riske, Beth Tikvah Congregation

Violins of Hope concerts, exhibits make their way across state

Musical instruments aren't mere artifacts. They are meant to make music. And that is exactly what a collection of stringed instruments, some dating back 100 years...

Daily Herald-News - Thursday, April 13, 2023 - by Dave Oberhelman

'Victory of the human spirits': Violins played by Jewish musicians coming to suburbs

A child's violin has been restored but remains unplayable. Was it ever played? Sovering questions may come to mind when people see -- and hear -- the...


Elgin Courier-News - Tuesday, April 11, 2023 - by Gloria Casas

Instruments owned and played by Holocaust victims now part of the Violins of Hope exhibit at Elgin library

Ten heirloom violins played by musicians before and during the Holocaust, instruments that symbolize the strength, resilience and hope of...

> > > Read this article with your library card number by using our databases! Click here to read on NewsBank. 

Daily Herald-News - Friday, April 7, 2023 - Daily Herald Report

Violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust to visit Elgin

Ten violins played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust will arrive at the Gail Borden Public Library next week to be put on...

ABC7 - Monday, March 20, 2023 - By Roz Varon


Violins of Hope: Instruments rescued from Holocaust keeping Jewish musicians'  stories alive

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Violins of Hope is a collection of 70 restored string instruments that were played by Jewish musicians before and during the Holocaust. They've traveled the world, and next month you'll be able to see and hear them here...

Gail Borden Press Release 4/6/23


Exhibit Tours

Sign up for docent-led tours here.


Volunteering Opportunities

Please become a trained volunteer. We are recruiting volunteers to be trained. For more information on the volunteer training and commitment please visit the link below.

Sign up here:



Violins of Hope Grand Opening




The Suitcase

📆 Thursday, September 7 ⏰ 6:30pm - 7:30pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

Tim Lorsch puts on a one man show to share his family’s experience before, during, and after the Holocaust. It's a story of refugees, community and survival.



Sound Collaboration: ESO String Quartet and GBPL

📆 Wednesday, September 13 ⏰ 6:30pm - 8:00pm

📍 Main Library - Meadows Community Rooms ABC

Join the ESO String Quartet in concert commemorating the extraordinary Violins of Hope exhibit. Learn about exciting new exhibits and events coming soon to the library and symphony.




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