Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Ghettos and Camps

Synopsis

In Music in the Holocaust Shirli Gilbert provides the first large-scale, critical account in English of the role of music amongst communities imprisoned under Nazism. She documents a wide scope of musical activities, ranging from orchestras and chamber groups to choirs, theatres, communal sing-songs, and cabarets, in some of the most important internment centres in Nazi-occupied Europe, including Auschwitz and the Warsaw and Vilna ghettos. Gilbert is also concerned with exploring the ways in which music--particularly the many songs that were preserved--contribute to our broader understanding of the Holocaust and the experiences of its victims. Music in the Holocaust is, at its core, a social history, taking as its focus the lives of individuals and communities imprisoned under Nazism. Music opens a unique window on to the internal world of those communities, offering insight into how they understood, interpreted, and responded to their experiences at the time.