In the years after the Holocaust, many pieces of music have been composed commemorating Holocaust events or experiences. Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw, composed in 1947, presents audiences with a fictional representation of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. In fact, it contains inaccurate information about the Warsaw ghetto, for example the mention of gas chambers even though none existed in the ghetto. 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. This was one of the largest mass murders at an individual location during World War II (see box below).
Evtushenko returned to his hotel room and immediately wrote a memorial poem in which the first line, which reads: There are no monuments over Babi Yar, the steep precipice, like a rough-hewn tomb reflected his ‘refusal to accept the injustice of history, the absence of a monument to so many innocent slaughtered people’. Not long after this, Shostakovich read the poem and decided to set it as part of a symphonic work that would include five movements, each of them based on an Evtushenko poem. In Different Trains (1988), Steve Reich presents a semi- autobiographical account of the Holocaust that elec- tronically mixes his memories of being a Jewish child in the 1940s with those of child-survivors of the Holocaust who later recorded their testimonies.