Israeli luthier Amnon Weinstein, known for founding the Violins of Hope collection, has died. He was 84.

Born in Tel Aviv in 1939, Amnon was the son of violinist and luthier Moshe Weinstein, with whom he trained as an apprentice. He then moved on to study violin making in Cremona under luthiers Pietro Sgarabotto, Giuseppe Ornati and Ferdinando Garimberti. 

A year before his son’s birth, Moshe had begun to collect violins himself once Jewish violinists residing in Palestine began to break or discard their instruments in response to their persecution in Germany.

Managed alongside his son Avshalom, Weinstein was best known as the founder of the Violins of Hope collection. Repairing a violin for a customer’s grandfather in the 80s, Weinstein discovered black ash within the instrument from when it had last been played in Auschwitz. From 1996 onwards, he then began to restore and collect instruments with a connection to the Holocaust. The Violins of Hope collection now spans over 100 instruments, at least 80 of which are played around the world. The project ensures that the victims of the Holocaust are never again silenced.