21 June 2023
Promo poster with violin and a cutout of a man playing the violin

We at the Gail Borden Public Library District are honored to be hosting Violins of Hope, ten lovingly restored violins played before or during the Holocaust.

This project showcases Jewish stories of resilience, resistance, and unity through the power of musical performance.
“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.  
Locally, thanks to the support from the Seigle Foundation and the Palmer Foundation, unity encompasses this project as Kneseth Israel, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin Historical Society, School District U-46, City of Elgin, and Chamber Music on the Fox collaborate together.

"The Library is honored to host this extraordinary exhibit and to partner with so many to coordinate these many meaningful events throughout the community," said Carole Medal, CEO of Gail Borden Public Library District.  "We think there is so much to learn about the role of music past and present. Our hope is that the music and programs offered to the community via this collaborative will serve to create improved understanding for the future."

The local community and people coming from afar have responded in extraordinary fashion to the many concerts, programs, and tours that have already taken place throughout the community. Visitors from all over the Chicago area and other states including California, Idaho, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado have viewed the ten violins on display. Evident from the comments in the guestbook, many were moved by the stories about the Jewish musicians who played the violins during the Holocaust as well as those who risked their lives to save Jewish children and adults from the Nazis.

Other RAILS libraries are part of this amazing Violins of Hope project either through exhibitions or programs or both.

Library Programs of Hope  (Part of the JCC's Violins of Hope project) - Everyone is invited to attend programs in person at library locations or to participate in all programs virtually. 

All of these programs are offered hybrid - in person at the listed location and virtually from Schaumburg Township Public Library, Joliet Public Library, Vernon Area Public Library, Aurora Public Library District, Skokie Public Library, and Gail Borden Public Library.  Please check in-person locations.

Through the Eyes of a Friend is s a nationally acclaimed performance that honors the world of Anne Frank and young people during the Holocaust. Bear witness to history and experience World War II through a dynamic combination of live theater and archival film footage. It will be performed by Elgin Kelley who started working with Living Voices in 2008. She studied theatre at Webster Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Drew University. 

Through the Eyes of a Friend - Locations, audience, and time

August 1, 2 pm  - Age - Families, in person at Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove, Elgin, Illinois

August 1, 7 pm Age - Adults, in person at Aurora Public Library, 101 S. River St., Aurora Illinois 60506

Friday, August 11, Noon, Footsteps of My Father: A Story of Courage, Resilience, and Honor

Age - Everyone.  In-person at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, 500 N Dunton Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60004

Pastor Chris Edmonds tells the story of his father, WWII hero Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds, whose fearless bravery saved the lives of more than 200 Jewish American soldiers in a prisoner of war camp in Germany.

People may walk through Gail Borden’s Violins of Hope exhibit and learn more at https://gailborden.info/violinsofhope.

Today's blog post is by Denise Raleigh, Division Chief, Public Relations & Development, Gail Borden Public Library District