The historical instruments “Violins of Hope” transmit a message of tolerance through music

LONG BEACH (KABC) — “Violins of Hope” is a program with a message of tolerance. Many instruments were owned by Jews before and during World War II; many songs performed in concentration camps where millions of them would die.

“Talking about the Holocaust is always important, and using music to talk about these difficult topics makes it a little easier,” said Eckart Preu, director of the Long Beach Symphony.

“Violins of Hope” performed at the Long Beach Symphony. And each instrument has a story. For example, a Jewish musician brought one in for repairs; the man doing the repairs returned it, only after drawing a swastika and inscribing the words “heil Hitler” on the violin.

But decades later, these instruments endure…and still make great music.

“All the instruments that were silenced by the effects of the Holocaust in World War II came back to life to sing to the world, and what better way to teach history through music,” said Susanne Reyto, Violins of Hope.

Gerda Seifer attended the concert. She lost her entire family in the Holocaust.

“Hearing the music is very sad for me, but I’m glad I heard it,” Seifer said. “It is very important that this story is not forgotten or overlooked, and we must remember that similar things should never happen to anyone.”

The final performance with the Long Beach Symphony will take place on Friday, January 14.

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