Violins of Hope create unforgettable learning experience

Oley Valley School District  |  Posted on

On November 3, students from Mr. Kallis’s History of the Holocaust CP and Mrs. Kallis’s English II CP (who recently studied Night by Elie Wiesel) participated in a unique presentation in the high school auditorium.

Violins of Hope is an international traveling collection of restored string instruments that survived World War II. The instruments, mostly violins, belonged to European Jews who tragically experienced the Holocaust. The Nazis used music to control and deceive Jews. Concentration and extermination camps formed orchestras with a dual purpose: to entertain Nazi guards and to lull newly arrived prisoners into a false sense of security.
However, there are numerous stories of defiance and resistance attached to the violins. For example, a Jewish musician once played at a club that was frequented by Nazis. With the support of the local resistance, he was able to hide and smuggle enough explosives in his violin case to blow up the club and kill several Nazis.

Today, these special instruments are symbols of hope used to educate future generations. It is crucial to remember and celebrate the lives of both victims and survivors. When one of these violins is played, its beautiful music is a reminder of the human spirit’s strength to conquer evil and unite humanity towards peace. Each of the violins exhibited is a witness to an extraordinary story and possesses a powerful legacy.

Creating an unforgettable memory, Oley Valley High School violinists were afforded the rare opportunity to play the instruments for their peers. To conclude the presentation, all students were able to interact closely with the violins and speakers.