Guía para docentes – Resistencia y exilio
Hoy en día, los historiadores reconocen que la resistencia judía frente al Holocausto fue generalizada y que adoptó muchas formas. En esta unidad analizaremos las diferentes formas de resistencia y el papel que desempeñó la música en todo esto.
Entre 1941 y 1943, los movimientos de resistencia clandestina se desarrollaron en aproximadamente cien guetos de la Europa oriental ocupada por los nazis (alrededor de un cuarto del total de los guetos), especialmente en Polonia, Lituania, Bielorrusia y Ucrania. Sus principales objetivos eran organizar levantamientos, escaparse de los guetos y unirse a las unidades partisanas en la lucha contra los alemanes. Los judíos sabían que los levantamientos no iban a frenar a los alemanes y que sólo un puñado de los combatientes podría llegar a tener éxito en escapar para unirse a los partisanos. Aun así, algunos judíos tomaron la decisión de resistir. Algunos judíos huyeron de Europa antes de la Segunda Guerra Mundial o lograron escapar de la Europa ocupada por los nazis.
Lesson 1 - Music as a form of resistance to the Nazi regime
- To recognise that Jewish resistance in the Holocaust was widespread and took many forms
- To consider how music was used as a form of resistance to the Nazi regime
- To understand how historical interpretation can change over time as new evidence comes to light
- Map of ghettos and concentration camps
- Map of uprisings/resistance
- Songs of ghettos and camps resource sheets (PDF)
- Music Glossary
ACTIVITY 1 - Considering the term 'resistance'
Ask class to suggest ideas about what is meant by the term ‘resistance’.
Offer the following definition for consideration: ‘Resistance to the Nazis meant fighting back’.
What were the obstacles to resistance?
Conditions, scale, antisemitism, war machine, fear/threats, terror, shock, feelings of responsibility to others – reprisals/ collective punishment, starvation, rations, etc.
What were they resisting?
Forbidden to practice religion, listen to radio, Nazis aimed not just to kill, but also destroy culture, dehumanise, degrade, crush spirit, etc.
What choices did Jewish people have when considering resistance?
whether or not to go against their own moral or religious code; whether or not to risk their own or others' lives; whether their resistance would be individual or communal...
ACTIVITY 2 - Exploring music and lyrics
Divide the class into three groups and assign each group one of the following pieces:
- A toyber hot gehert
Each group should listen to their piece of music and read the lyrics, then answer the following questions in relation to their music:
- Where did this song originate?
- What do we learn from the lyrics about the place it originated? (conditions, descriptions etc)
- What language is it in and what does this tell us?
- What is the overall feeling/mood of the piece?
- How is this achieved? (refer to music glossary - tempo, pitch, instrumentation, etc.)
- Why do you think this song became popular in … (place)?
ACTIVITY 3 - Discussion
How did music aid in concentration camp and ghetto morale and survival?
[Include music vocabulary in your answers]
Responses may include:
Feeling of togetherness, lyrics - reinforcing ideology; tempo – e.g.: upbeat, expressed shared hopes and dreams and singing together demonstrated solidarity, gave chance to think about home while singing – would have brought images to mind, helps people to remain human in face of attempts at dehumanisation.
Would you consider this piece of music to be ‘resistance’ and why?
Responses may include:
Yes – retaining their identity in any way was an act of courage and resistance; joining the partisans was dangerous and people risked their lives to fight in the underground; expressing any views against the Nazis was forbidden so singing these songs was defiant and risky, singing in Hebrew was a clear expression of hope and identification with the Jewish homeland, etc.
Research other acts of resistance, uprisings.
Lesson 2 - Partisans
- Learn about partisan activity through listening to and interpreting partisan songs
- Consider and present a creative response to the music and lyrics of partisan songs
- Think about songs which are inspirational in our own lives
- Links to partisan songs
- Image Theatre tableaux guide sheet (PDF)
ACTIVITY 1 - Research
Read about the song Zog Nit Keyn Mol, read the lyrics in English translation
Read and listen:
- The Biography of Hirsh Glik
- Jewish Partisans of Lithuania and Byelorussia
- Partizaner-marsh (recording)
- Shmerke Kaczerginski
ACTIVITY 2 - Create
Illustrate the dreams expressed in this song.
Or create a tableaux to physicalise the ideals.
Or create a dance/movement piece to represent to feelings/ideals.
ACTIVITY 3 - Discussion
Why do you think the words are so powerful?
Responses could include:
Lyrics are powerful, conjure up strong images in your mind, although they were written at and about a particular time/place, they are quite general – anyone can relate to the ideas expressed, it covers past and future, lyrics are optimistic
ACTIVITY 4 - Inspirational Songs
Are there any songs which you consider to be inspirational in your life?
What is it about the song which affects you – describe the music and/ or the lyrics (use the music glossary to help)
Ask students to share their song and reasons with a partner/in small groups/with the class.
The class could prepare an assembly presentation about inspirational music - perhaps opening with partisan song(s) and sharing some of the creative responses, then leading into songs students have chosen which share something with the partisan songs eg: inspires a feeling of solidarity; or lyrics express a strong ideal which they believe in.
Visit the Jewish Partisans website for biographies, photographs, documentary films
Lesson 3 - The contribution of exiled "degenerate" Jewish composers
- To learn about Nazis objections to certain kinds of music/certain people
- To learn about the situation of being in exile by exploring a case study of an exiled composer.
- Class in role guide sheets (PDF) exiled composer biography.
- Music of chosen exiled composer
In this lesson the main activity involves the class playing a role exercise as exiled composer(s).
Reasons and benefits for using a case study to explore a theme:
- Taking a big issue down to a small scale
- Personalising the issue – the person has a name, you like the person, you can identify with the person
- Emotional connection with that person – similarities between us become clear
- Learning directly from someone rather than learning about someone
- Improving the class’s emotional literacy
ACTIVITY 1 - Class in role
Hand out the biography of an exiled composer to be read aloud by one person, or change the reader at each paragraph, then ask class questions in-role. Ask questions and encourage students to respond in the first person. Repeat each question a number of times and take a range of responses for each question to uncover the complexity of the situation and feelings
Remember – no right or wrong answers, the class is not being asked to imagine they were actually in this situation, rather they are imagining emotions that they will relate to in some way…
Take a range of responses to understand complexity of decisions/situation/individuals and emotions – people are complex, often confused, and multi-layered – this exercise should help to reveal.
What did you leave behind?
(material possessions, home, job, family members, friends, familiar surroundings, language – being understood, family and personal history)
What are your dreams/ambitions (and why?)
(have a family, be safe, continue to write music, find a job, forget the past, never forget the past, return to Germany, practice my religion, leave my religion behind, become a famous and celebrated composer)
How did your family feel about you leaving?
(relieved that I would be safe, abandoned, hope that they will be able to follow)
You can put the class in-role as more than one character in your chosen case story in the same way to explore other perspectives on the theme.
ACTIVITY 2 - Listening to music
Listen to music excerpts of the chosen composer.
What made their music objectionable to the Third Reich?
ACTIVITY 3 - Concluding discussion
Knowing about their life and thinking about the complexity of their experience – how does that make you feel as you listen to the music? Does that affect you as an audience member?
Think about refugees today/your community – investigate their stories, campaign, befriend, fundraise… websites for more information…
Research stories of survivors who claim that music was a sustaining force in their lives through the Holocaust.
Create own music / soundscapes to …
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