Presentation Title

Creating Beauty Out of Darkness: An Exploration into the Artistic Resistance of Jewish Music of the Holocaust

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

Holocaust, Jewish Music, Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krása, Gideon Klein, Shmerke Kaczerginski, Terezin, Entartete Musik, Brundibar, Brezulinka

Department

Music

Major

Music (Applied Voice)

Abstract

When we think of the the Holocaust, we rightfully remember the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazi regime. However, we often fail to recognize the beautiful, albeit tragic, music that was composed in the concentration camps, specifically in Terezín. In this project, I study the Jewish composers and lyricists who contributed to this musical output, specifically Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krása, Pavel Haas, and Schmerke Kaczerginski. The goal of this study is to identify and examine specific components of resistance within these composers’ works and show how they come together to create a larger opposition to Hitler’s regime despite oppressive and exploitative conditions.

In going about my research, I studied numerous musical scores written during the Holocaust. I then chose those that best represented this artistic resistance and elaborated on them. I also read articles, books, and documents that gave me a further insight into the art and life of this tragic period. Additionally, I was able to obtain an interview with Terezín survivor Inge Auerbacher, who spoke about her experiences.

I found that these composers and lyricists integrated resilience into their work through themes, lyrics, Jewish and cultural folk elements, and the very act of making art itself. I was astonished by the strength and ability of these men to create art and express themselves under these conditions. They left a Jewish legacy to be passed down to posterity despite their own eventual deaths, and in doing so ensured that the Jewish people, and art itself, would live on.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Gary W. Cobb

Funding Source or Research Program

Academic Year Undergraduate Research Initiative

Presentation Session

Session A

Start Date

23-4-2021 4:15 PM

End Date

23-4-2021 4:30 PM

AYURI Research Project Paper.pdf (12645 kB)
Creating Beauty Out of Darkness: An Exploration into the Artistic Resistance of Jewish Music of the Holcaust

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Apr 23rd, 4:15 PM Apr 23rd, 4:30 PM

Creating Beauty Out of Darkness: An Exploration into the Artistic Resistance of Jewish Music of the Holocaust

When we think of the the Holocaust, we rightfully remember the atrocities committed by Hitler and his Nazi regime. However, we often fail to recognize the beautiful, albeit tragic, music that was composed in the concentration camps, specifically in Terezín. In this project, I study the Jewish composers and lyricists who contributed to this musical output, specifically Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krása, Pavel Haas, and Schmerke Kaczerginski. The goal of this study is to identify and examine specific components of resistance within these composers’ works and show how they come together to create a larger opposition to Hitler’s regime despite oppressive and exploitative conditions.

In going about my research, I studied numerous musical scores written during the Holocaust. I then chose those that best represented this artistic resistance and elaborated on them. I also read articles, books, and documents that gave me a further insight into the art and life of this tragic period. Additionally, I was able to obtain an interview with Terezín survivor Inge Auerbacher, who spoke about her experiences.

I found that these composers and lyricists integrated resilience into their work through themes, lyrics, Jewish and cultural folk elements, and the very act of making art itself. I was astonished by the strength and ability of these men to create art and express themselves under these conditions. They left a Jewish legacy to be passed down to posterity despite their own eventual deaths, and in doing so ensured that the Jewish people, and art itself, would live on.