Asking Amnon Weinstein to choose a favorite from among the more than 60 Holocaust-era violins he has restored “is like asking me which child I love best,” he says.
But if he had to pick one, it would be his first restoration, an instrument made in 1924 by Yaakov Zimermann for his close friend, Shimon Krongold. Adorned with a Star of David, its label includes a note in Yiddish: “I made this violin for my loyal friend Shimon Krongold.”
Krongold was a wealthy Warsaw industrialist and patron of several child violin prodigies. Carrying the violin, he escaped from Poland in 1939 and made his way to Russia and then Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where he died of typhus. Before his death, Krongold asked a friend to bring the violin to his family in Jerusalem. Those family members brought it to Weinstein.
Weinstein says he feels a “deep attraction to Zimermann,” who helped train his father, Moshe, in the craft of violin making.
“Zimermann was killed during the war, but his instruments come now back to life,” Weinstein says. “They play and reach out to people wherever we go.” •