Monday, January 23, 2012

Music to Commemorate the Holocaust (Jan. 27)

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as established by the United Nations to remember the victims of the Holocaust and to prevent future acts of genocide.

Music played a role in the Holocaust, as many of the victims were musicians, and many the soldiers who carried out the Nazi plans were music lovers.  Terienstadt (Terezin), a village near Prague where musicians and artists were sent, boasted concerts as part of a propaganda scheme to make Nazi "resettlement" efforts appear more humane than they were.   In work camps, prisoner bands or orchestras accompanied the work of the camp.  In death camps, orchestras accompanied victims as they marched to the gas chamber. Musicians came from all parts of Europe and included Romany (gypsies) as well as Jews. 

Later composers have memorialized the victims, as heard on these compact discs.  You can also hear music of remembrance via Naxos Music Library, for example the Holocaust Cantata by Donald McCullough.

The Music Collection also has many books on the history of Jews in Music, and Jewish music, including music from Biblical times to the present.

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