Monthly Archives: May 2012

Viktor Ullmann: Der Kaiser von Atlantis (c. 1943)

A one-act opera with libretto by Peter Klein, written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. It was rehearsed in 1944 but never performed. Both Ullmann and Klein were murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.

Click here to access excerpts from the opera on youtube

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Hans Krása: Brundibár (1938-1943)

Opera by Hans Krása, libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister, written in Theresienstadt concentration camp.

The Moran Choir from Israel and the Gewandhaus Childern Choir from Leipzig, and conductors Naomi Faran and Frank-Steffen Elster. Together the two choirs performed the opera in the Gewandhaus hall in Leipzig, the Modern Jewish Museum in Berlin and in the Rishon LeZion central hall in Israel.

This performance recorded at the Gewandhaus Leipzig, March 22, 2010.

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Jewish (Art) Music in the time of the Holocaust

Presenters: Timothy Cheek, associate professor of voice, and Caroline Helton, assistant professor of voice, U-M; Kathryn Goodson, piano; Allen Schrott, bass-baritone.

Co-sponsored by Center for European Studies, Center for Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies, and Frankel Center for Judaic Studies.

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Cursive letter ayin

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Cursive letter samekh

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Cursive letter langer nun

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Cursive letter nun

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Cursive letter shlos mem

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Cursive letter mem

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Cursive letter lamed

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Forced Labour 1939-1945: Memory and History

A Digital Archive for Education and Research

A Cooperation between the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (EVZ), Freie Universität Berlin and the German Historical Museum

“Forced Labor 1939-1945” commemorates the more than twelve million people who were forced to work for Nazi Germany. Nearly 600 former forced laborers from 26 countries tell their life stories in detailed audio and video interviews. The interviews were digitized and have been made accessible online to support education and research.

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First Days of the Latvian Holocaust (Dovid Katz)

Eyewitness testimony, filmed and compiled by Dovid Katz, of the onset of the Holocaust in Latvia.

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First Days of the Lithuanian Holocaust (Dovid Katz)

Eyewitness testimony, filmed and compiled by Dovid Katz, of the onset of the Holocaust in Lithuania on 22 June 1941 and in the following days, in some cases before the arrival and/or establishment of authority by German Nazi forces at various localities. Some testimonies carry parts of the narrative further into July and August of 1941.

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Oral Histories: Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust

Wisconsin Historical Society archivists interviewed 22 Holocaust survivors and two American witnesses between 1974 and 1981. These oral histories are now available digitally and in their entirety for the first time, uncensored and unfiltered.

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Witnesses: One Voice at a Time (USC Shoah Foundation)

Here you can watch the full-length testimony of 12 men and women who had diverse experiences during the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda. These videotaped eyewitness accounts are part of the Institutes’ collection of nearly 52,000 testimonies.

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Survivor Testimonies (British Library Collection)

During the 1930s and 40s, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered six million Jews. Hitler’s intention was to destroy all Jewish communities, and to build a ‘master race’ of Aryans. Many other ‘non-aryans’ were persecuted including Romanies, homosexuals, and the disabled, as well as those who were politically opposed to the Nazis. This terrible moment in history is now known as the Holocaust. It remains one of the most horrific examples in recent European history of indifference, inhumanity, prejudice and genocide.

Voices of the Holocaust consists of oral history testimonies gathered from Jewish men and women who came to live in Britain during or after WWII. These testimonies are personal, individual, true stories, that describe the hardships of life during Hitler’s reign.

Further interviews with Jewish survivors of the Holocaust can be found on the Archival Sound Recordings website.

Young boy in a ghettoSurvivor testimoniesListen to personal stories from Jewish Holocaust survivors, and learn what life was like for Jews during Hitler’s reign.

Children in concentration campInformation cardsDiscover more about the background to the Holocaust. Subjects include Nazi policies, anti-semitism, religion and Anne Frank.

Nazi outside Jewish shopReferenceConsult maps, statistics, a glossary of terms and a chronological chart tracing significant moments of the 1930s and 40s

ActivitiesSuggestions for how to use the resources, helping you to question and explore this period of history

Barbed wireTeachers’ pagesInformation for teachers including worksheets, links, and suggestions for how to use the resources.

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Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies (Yale University)

Click here to access this site.

In 1979, a grassroots organization, the Holocaust Survivors Film Project, began videotaping Holocaust survivors and witnesses in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1981, the original collection of testimonies was deposited at Yale University, and the Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies opened its doors to the public the following year. Since then, the Archive has worked to record, collect, and preserve Holocaust witness testimonies, and to make its collection available to researchers, educators, and the general public.

The Archive currently holds more than 4,400 testimonies, which are comprised of over 10,000 recorded hours of videotape. Testimonies are produced in cooperation with 37 affiliated projects across North America, South America, Europe, and Israel, and each project maintains a duplicate collection of locally recorded videotapes.

The Archive and its affiliates continue to record the testimonies of willing individuals with first-hand experience of the Nazi persecutions, including those in hiding, survivors, bystanders, resistants, and liberators. Testimonies are recorded in whatever language the witness prefers, and range in length from one-half hour to over 40 hours (recorded over several sessions).

The Archive’s interviewing methodology stresses the leadership role of the witness in structuring and telling his or her own story. Questions are primarily used to ascertain time and place, or elicit additional information about topics already mentioned, with an emphasis on open-ended questions that give the initiative to the witness. The witnesses are the experts in their own life story, and the interviewers are there to listen, to learn, and to clarify.

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Bearing Witness

This site, called Bearing Witness, tells the story of the first efforts some twenty years ago to videotape Holocaust survivors recollecting their experiences.  On their own initiative and without any outside support, Laurel Vlock and Dr. Dori Laub taped the testimonies of four survivors.  From this inconspicuous beginning, which revolutionized the act of witnessing by providing “demeanor evidence,” arose such projects as the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies at Yale University and the Shoah Visual History Foundation.  The essay presented here tells how Ms. Vlock and Dr. Laub came to their collaboration.  Further, it explores the unique contributions that have been made to our understanding of this horrific episode in world history by courageous individuals who have come forward to tell their stories.

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Cursive letter langer khof

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Cursive letter khof

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Cursive letter kof

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Cursive letter pasekh tsvey yudn

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Cursive letter tsvey yudn

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Luigi Nono: Ricorda cosa ti hanno fatto in Auschwitz (1966)

(“Remember What They Did to You in Auschwitz”), a 1966 tape work by the Italian composer Luigi Nono

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Ödön Partos: Yizkor (in Memoriam) for Cello and Orchestra (1947)


Youtube video of a performance of Hungarian-Israeli composer Ödön Partos’s Yizkor (in Memoriam) (1947)

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Cursive letter tes

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Cursive letter khes

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Cursive letter zayin

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Cursive letter vov yud

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Cursive letter tsvey vovn

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Holocaust Film Footage (USHMM)

The United States’ Holocaust Memorial Museum’s (USHMM) website hosts quite a few film clips about the Holocaust. Click here to see these.

A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanent place on the National Mall, and its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors. (from the site)

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Cursive letter vov

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Cursive letter hey

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Cursive letter daled

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Cursive letter giml

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Cursive letter beys

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Cursive letter komets alef

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Cursive letter pasekh alef

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Steve Reich: Different Trains (1988)

Different Trains is a three-movement piece for string quartet and tape written by Steve Reich in 1988

Reich, an American composer born in 1936, spent his childhood shuttling by train between his divorced parents’ homes during World War II. After he became a composer, he began to wonder how his life might have been different if he had been a European Jew, rather than an American. He felt that trains might still have played an important part of his life, taking him to a ghetto and an extermination camp. He wrote a unique and interesting composition for string quartet and synthesizers (from the site A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust)

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1F668402A6C3BF30

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Krzysztof Penderecki’s Dies Irae (1967)

A memorial to the victims at Auschwitz, Dies Irae allows the singers and players to improvise according to their talents and abilities. The chorus recites words, rather than singing them, and the instruments are the framework for the rhythm and pitch. It was first performed on the grounds of Auschwitz in 1967.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_jvgdAFJlM (Lamentatio 1/2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pDqsF68Zgo (Lamentatio 2/2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67Sn_r9_tWA (Apocalypsis 1/2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL-bd1N9KpM (Apocalypsis 2/3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xgxmysc0sh0 (Apotheosis)

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Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No 13 in B-flat Minor Op. 113 “Babi Yar” (1962)

Shotakovich’s Symphony, subtitled “Babi Yar”, after the ravine of the same name in Kiev in which the Nazis carried out a series of massacres. In a series of the worse massacres, some 33,000 Jews were killed there. The text is based on a poem by Russian poset Yevteshenko.

Text of original poem here:

No monument stands over Babi Yar.
A steep cliff only, like the rudest headstone.
I am afraid.
Today, I am as old
As the entire Jewish race itself.

I see myself an ancient Israelite.
I wander o’er the roads of ancient Egypt
And here, upon the cross, I perish, tortured
And even now, I bear the marks of nails.

It seems to me that Dreyfus is myself.
The Philistines betrayed me – and now judge.
I’m in a cage. Surrounded and trapped,
I’m persecuted, spat on, slandered, and
The dainty dollies in their Brussels frills
Squeal, as they stab umbrellas at my face.

I see myself a boy in Belostok
Blood spills, and runs upon the floors,
The chiefs of bar and pub rage unimpeded
And reek of vodka and of onion, half and half.

I’m thrown back by a boot, I have no strength left,
In vain I beg the rabble of pogrom,
To jeers of “Kill the Jews, and save our Russia!”
My mother’s being beaten by a clerk.

O, Russia of my heart, I know that you
Are international, by inner nature.
But often those whose hands are steeped in filth
Abused your purest name, in name of hatred.

I know the kindness of my native land.
How vile, that without the slightest quiver
The antisemites have proclaimed themselves
The “Union of the Russian People!”

It seems to me that I am Anna Frank,
Transparent, as the thinnest branch in April,
And I’m in love, and have no need of phrases,
But only that we gaze into each other’s eyes.
How little one can see, or even sense!
Leaves are forbidden, so is sky,
But much is still allowed – very gently
In darkened rooms each other to embrace.

-“They come!”

-“No, fear not – those are sounds
Of spring itself. She’s coming soon.
Quickly, your lips!”

-“They break the door!”

-“No, river ice is breaking…”

Wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar,
The trees look sternly, as if passing judgement.
Here, silently, all screams, and, hat in hand,
I feel my hair changing shade to gray.

And I myself, like one long soundless scream
Above the thousands of thousands interred,
I’m every old man executed here,
As I am every child murdered here.

No fiber of my body will forget this.
May “Internationale” thunder and ring
When, for all time, is buried and forgotten
The last of antisemites on this earth.

There is no Jewish blood that’s blood of mine,
But, hated with a passion that’s corrosive
Am I by antisemites like a Jew.
And that is why I call myself a Russian!

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Arnold Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw (1947)

Arnold Schoenberg’s cantata performed by Bamberger Symphoniker, conducted by Horst Stein, with Hermann Prey as soloist.

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Night and Fog (French Postwar Documentary) with English subtitles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8qTFuMcDLs (part 1/3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9frXX1qOqSY&feature=relmfu (part 2/3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oA4OBuaWYY&feature=fvwrel (part 3/3)

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The Czernowitz Conference (1908)

This page, from the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe, discusses the famous Czernowitz conference.

The first international conference in support of the Yiddish language. An international conference on Yiddish language and its role in Jewish life was convened from 30 August to 4 September 1908 in Czernowitz, then capital of the Austrian crown province of Bukowina (now Chernivtsi in Ukraine). (Czernowitz was the German form of the city’s name used at that time; the Yiddish Tshernovits is increasingly used in scholarly literature on the conference.) Occurring at a time when more than a dozen other languages on three continents were also organizing their own “first” conferences (usually under non- or even antigovernmental auspices), the Czernowitz Conference was the brainchild of Nathan Birnbaum (1864–1937), a prolific, innovative, and peripatetic Jewish educator, essayist, philosopher, politician, and social organizer. Click here to read more …

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