Music amongst Displaced Persons

The Displaced Persons’ camps were home to a diverse range of musical activities. Surviving victims of the Nazi genocide used music as a means to chronicle what they had experienced, to raise morale, and to imagine possible futures after the catastrophe.

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Music for Memorial Events

Music has played a part in Holocaust commemoration from even before the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau on 27 January 1945. Jewish Historical Commissions in Germany and Poland gathered songs written during the Holocaust, preserving them in written or recorded format.

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Babi Yar memorial

BABI YAR In 1962, the Russian poet Evgeny Evtushenko visited the site of Babi Yar, a deep ravine northwest of Kiev, where in September 1941 an estimated 70,000 Jews were executed by Nazi soldiers. Evtushenko returned to his hotel room and immediately penned a memorial poem in which the first line – 'There are no monuments over Babi Yar, the steep precipice, like a rough-hewn tomb'.

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Different Trains - Steve Reich

Steve Reich selected sound clips through digital sampling and then arranged them into a semi-coherent narrative, which divides into three movements: 'America, before the war', 'Europe, during the war' and 'After the war'. In all cases, the spoken testimonies are accompanied by a string quartet.

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Bergen-Belsen DP Camp

The Kazet-Theater (Concentration Camp Theatre) was headed by the actor and director Sammy Feder, and consisted of up to 50 actors, some of whom had already gathered experience and worked with Feder in the ghetto Bendin and the concentration camp Bunzlau.

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David Botwinik


Mieczysław Weinberg


The prolific Soviet composer Mieczysław Weinberg (1919-1996) wrote 22 symphonies, 17 string quartets, 7 operas, 6 concertos, 3 ballets, 30 sonatas and more than 200 songs as well as 60 film scores and incidental music for theatre and circus.

Mikhail Gnessin


Mikhail Fabianovich Gnessin was a Russian Jewish composer and teacher. Gnessin's works "The Maccabeans" and "The Youth of Abraham" earned him the nickname the "Jewish Glinka".


ORT and the DP Camps

The end of WWII presented ORT and other relief organisations with many challenges. As many as 80,000 Jews passed through ORT training projects after the war.