Music and the Holocaust

What information is on the site?

The subject of music during the Nazi period has attracted increasing attention in recent years. Growing numbers of scholars, writers, teachers, and performers have begun to explore diverse dimensions of the subject, from the ‘Nazification’ of music in Germany after 1933 to the banning of ‘degenerate’ music, the use of music by groups like the Hitler Youth, the work of the many composers exiled or displaced by the regime, and the ambiguous position of musicians who chose to continue their work in Germany throughout the Third Reich.

This website is focused on a particular aspect of that broad subject, namely the role of music in the Holocaust—the systematic mass murder by the Nazis of six million European Jews, as well as homosexuals, communists, Roma, and other victims during the Second World War.  The articles describe the wide range of musical activities that took place in camps and ghettos across Nazi-occupied Europe, focusing not only on the work of professional musicians and composers but equally on the music created and performed by millions of ‘ordinary’ people in response to their experiences of internment. The recordings include songs written and sung by victims across Europe, as well as full-length compositions written primarily in Theresienstadt and in the post-war period.

Who is the site intended for?

The site provides concise, informative articles for a broad audience of teachers, students, commemoration organisers, and members of the general public interested in the subject. The Resources and References section contains resources that have been created specifically for secondary school teachers as well as for those interested in including music in their Holocaust commemoration events. Those interested in pursuing other aspects of the subject are invited to consult the Links page as well as our extensive bibliography and discography for further reading and listening suggestions.