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Music in concentration camps 1933-1945 Music was an integral part of camp life in the Nazi-run camps. I. Singing on Command • while marching, doing exercises, on the way to or from work, • to frighten and humiliate prisoners, • after a long day of hard work, singing was an enormous physical effort and could be life-threatening. Orders: “In step ... March! Sing!” “Sing, a Song!” • anyone who did not know the song was beaten, • anyone who sang too softly was beaten, • anyone who sang too loud was beaten . Songs • • • • • • banal naive humiliating double-meaning obscene texts offending the prisoners’ sense of shame Anthems • Many concentration camps had their own special anthems - official tune for the camp, e.g.: - „Moorsoldatenlied” - „Treblinkalied” (Treblinka Song) Music from radio or gramophone • Propaganda speeches • Music by a German composer and antisemite - Richard Wagner Camp orchestras • amateur and professional musicians, • from a temporary trio in Treblinka to a symphony orchestra in Auschwitz. • The camp orchestras: - provided background music for punishments and executions - gave concerts for the entertainment of the SS guards - deceived the newly-arriving prisoners at the selection process. Music to entertain the guards • often members of the camp orchestras gave private performances for the guards, • works by Grieg, Schumann and Mozart were played for the guards who came to “relax” after the process known as selection. II. Music initiated by the prisoners • music gave the prisoners consolation, support and confidence, • aim: to set an example of solidarity and humane behavior in their dehumanized surrounding. Spontaneous Music • when prisoners marched to the gas chambers they sang the Jewish song “Hatikvah”, • they expressed their protest, and showed that they had not been broken. Partisans’ songs • associated with resistance and freedom • for the German-speaking prisoners: “Die Gedanken sind frei” (“Thoughts are free”) • for the Polish prisoners: “Warszawianka” • for the Jewish prisoners: “Zog nisht keyn mol” ("Never Say”) Conclusions • music - an integral part in the daily life of the Nazi concentration camps, • professional and amateur musicians, of different ages, genders and nationalities, played music on command, and on their own initiative, • they performed solo, in choirs, in chamber music groupings, in small ensembles, in jazz bands, in camp orchestras and in symphony orchestras, • music of various kinds: from light music to classical music, from traditional folk songs to critical cabaret songs, • music was used in the „process of breaking the will, and degrading the prisoners” as human beings, • music was used also a sign of resistence and freedom, • it was made in spite of constant hunger, mental and physical violence, diseases, an uncertain future and acts of terror. Task • Listen to the soundtrack from The Schindler’s List and express your feelings and emotions by making coal paintings. • You can: - draw - write (e.g. poems, notes, thoughs…) - or whatever artistic you wish.