Monthly Archives: July 2012

Yizker-bikher (YIVO)

The Yiddish term yizker-bikher (sg., yizker-bukh) has come to refer primarily to a vast body of memorial books commemorating Jewish communities destroyed in the Holocaust, primarily from prewar Poland though also throughout Eastern Europe (similar works have been created for other parts of Europe and the Mediterranean region). Survivors and émigrés from various communities that have organized landsmanshaftn(associations of Jews from the same hometowns abroad) in the United States, Israel, and elsewhere have produced many hundreds of such books, generally in Yiddish and/or Hebrew.

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Yiddish test (semester 2)

The Yiddish language test will last an hour and consist of the following:

  1. a short aural comprehension test  (English questions and answers to a Yiddish recording)            15%
  2. a fill-in-the-gap text            15%
  3. a reading comprehension (Yiddish text with questions in English)            20%
  4. a text in which you’ll be asked to underline loshn-koydesh words            15%
  5. a short text that tests your YIVO transliteration skills            15%
  6. a short text that tests your command of cursive script (you will be asked to copy a short printed text into cursive)            20%

If you have a question about this examination, please raise it below in the comment field.

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Checklist of requirements for the essay

Make sure your essay includes the following:

FOR MUS2079: FOR MUS3179:
1.     reference to at least ONE Yiddish-language source, using the YIVO transliteration conventions (given at the front of the zamlung fun yidishe texte) when quoting from it;

2.     reference to musical materials (your essay need not make use of music analysis, although, if you like this approach, you should feel free to use it but remember that this is not an analysis project); include musical examples where relevant (‘Example 1’, ‘Example 2’ and so on, appropriately titled, and integrated into the text of your essay;

3.     reference to some of the ideas we have encountered in the key texts set for this module – use the citation convention outlined in the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard);

4.     reference to other appropriate primary and scholarly secondary sources throughout your essay, using the citation convention outlined in the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard);

5.     a full bibliography, in line with the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard); list primary sources separately;

6.     where appropriate, a discography and/or filmography

7.     individual foreign terms or words should be italicized: Gleichschaltung or shtetl, for example; quotations from Yiddish sources, however, should not be italicised unless they are single words of conceptual phrases:

–         ‘ikh shpits mayne oyren on tsu derhern’

–         der tkhum-ha-moyshev ;

8.     appropriate visual materials, labelled ‘Figure 1’, ‘Figure 2’ and so on, appropriately titled, and properly integrated into the text of your essay (and not tacked on at the end);

9.     a title page giving the essay title, your name and student number, degree and stage and module code and nothing else (no pictures on title page please);

10.  all pages should be numbered on the top right.

1.      reference to at least TWO Yiddish-language source, using the YIVO transliteration conventions (given at the front of the zamlung fun yidishe texte) when quoting from it;

2.      reference to musical materials (your essay need not make use of music analysis, although, if you like this approach, you should feel free to use it but remember that this is not an analysis project); include musical examples where relevant (‘Example 1’, ‘Example 2’ and so on, appropriately titled, and integrated into the text of your essay;

3.      detailed reference to the key ideas we have encountered in the texts set for this module – use the citation convention outlined in the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard);

4.      reference to other appropriate primary and scholarly secondary sources throughout your essay, using the citation convention outlined in the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard);

5.      a full bibliography, in line with the ICMUS Guide to Citation (available on Blackboard); list primary sources separately;

6.      where appropriate, a discography and/or filmography

7.      individual foreign terms or words should be italicized: Gleichschaltung or shtetl, for example; quotations from Yiddish sources, however, should not be italicised unless they are single words of conceptual phrases:

–         ‘ikh shpits mayne oyren on tsu derhern’

–         der tkhum-ha-moyshev ;

8.      appropriate visual materials, labelled ‘Figure 1’, ‘Figure 2’ and so on, appropriately titled, and properly integrated into the text of your essay (and not tacked on at the end);

9.      a title page giving the essay title, your name and student number, degree and stage and module code and nothing else (no pictures on title page please);

10.   all pages should be numbered on the top right.

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Essay question 8: discussion

Write a critical summary of the introduction to Shmerke Kaczerginsky’s Dos gezang fun vilner geto (Paris: Verband fun di Vilner in Frankreich, 1947). Your answer should contextualise Kaczerginski’s work within the broader phenomenon of zamler-kultur in the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust.

Text for Q8 is available in Appendix 3 of the Module Handbook, along with N. Feynshteyn’s useful editorial preface, and a vocabulary list to help you read it.

The full text of this collection is also available on Blackboard and from the Yiddish Book Center’s Steven Spielberg Library here

additional vocabulary  (follow this link for a pdf file with additional information about the Feynshteyn and Kaczerginski texts)

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question 7: discussion

Through a detailed account of music making in one of the camps or ghettos of Eastern Europe during the Holocaust, write an essay on “music making in extremis”. Your answer should attempt to characterise the social and political processes that attended this music making, paying particular attention to attitudes to music and musicians demonstrated both by the victims and perpetrators of the Holocaust.

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question 6: discussion

What are yizker-bikher? With reference to at least one yizker-bukh in Yiddish, discuss the role music plays in these texts. How do they differ from other manifestations of Jewish memory work in relation to music in the aftermath of the Holocaust?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question five: discussion

Spiritual resistance is by now a common concept in secondary writing on [the Holocaust], defining music not only as a channel through which Nazism’s victims derived emotional comfort and support, but also as a life affirming survival mechanism through which they asserted solidarity in the face of persecution, the will to live, and the power of the human spirit. (Shirli Gilbert, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Camps and Ghettos [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005], 2)

What does Gilbert mean by ‘spiritual resistance’ in this context? Outline some of the ways in which this notion, as used in Holocaust writing, can be critiqued in relation to music.

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question four: discussion

What do you understand by the term ‘memory work’? How does this notion help us understand music and music making in the Holocaust and/or musical responses to it in the immediate aftermath?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question three: discussion

Music is not only the subject of historical memory, but also a vehicle for the transmission of memory. (Shirli Gilbert, Music in the Holocaust: Confronting Life in the Nazi Camps and Ghettos [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005], 196)

Discuss some of the ways in which Jewish survivors of the Holocaust sought to memorialise or bear witness to music making in the ghettos and camps. What mechanisms did they use to do this and why?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question two: discussion

Musicology – in its historical, structural-analytic and ethnographic expressions – has sought to deny the racial dimension. (Philip Bohlman and Ronald Radano, Music and the Racial Imagination [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000], 2)

To what extent have European music and race become ineluctably intertwined as a result of the Holocaust?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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Essay question 1: discussion

Even though [the newsreel images] showed the naked obscenity, the physical deterioration, the grim destruction of death, the images, in fact, were silent. Not merely because they were filmed without live sound recording, which was standard practice at the time. They were silent, above all, because they said nothing precise about the reality they showed, because they delivered confused scraps of meaning… (Jorge Semprún, L’écriture ou la vie [Paris: Gallimard ,1994])

Why do you think sound was so important for Semprún in giving life to representations of the Holocaust? What light do these claims made for sound, both during and after the Holocaust, cast on our understanding of music and music making during this period?

[please also check out this page  which has additional advice which you will find useful]

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