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]

47 Comments

Filed under Essay discussion

47 responses to “Essay question 7: discussion

  1. Ian Biddle

    Dear students: please feel free to leave any queries about this essay question here. I’ll answer as quickly as I can.

  2. Zoe MacCallum

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    I have now chosen and started work on my Holocaust essay, I have chosen question Q7 on music in extremis within a certain ghetto/camp. I have chosen to discuss Lodz ghetto but I am slightly confused and worried that I wont answer the question correctly regarding ‘extremis’? Is this focusing on the circumstances surrounding the music making rather than the music itself etc? I think this question really suits me and want to fully understand it before I go any further, Thanks.

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Zoe

      The key thing here is to show how the conditions impacted on music making. So you could look at changes to lyrics of songs existing before the Holocaust or you could write about some of the ways in which musicians felt their experience in terms of deprivation, hunger, fear, and restrictions made on their music-making? Think not just about music making on a ghetto or a camp, but about how the holocaust changed music making. Extremis here is meant to get you to think about music under pressure, music at the limit of its survival.

  3. [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi, I have also chosen to tackle question 7 and I have chosen the Vilna ghetto. I was wondering if you could give the the site with the recordings made by David Boder etc with the interviews of the Holocaust victims.

    Thanks

  4. Beth Rawlins

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,
    I am really struggling to find anything relevant to my essay in Yiddish, also in the Yiddish alphabet. I really wanted to focus on lullabies and I found a blog by a Yiddish speaker who has posted two traditional Jewish lullabies in Yiddish – these would be really useful to me but they already have transliterations and translations, does that mean I can’t use these as my Yiddish language sources? I am trying to trawl through ‘Dos gezang fun vilner ghetto’ and also ‘undzer gezang’ but because I’m really unsure of the Yiddish I can’t tell if any are meant to be lullabies or not.
    Can you help at all?
    Thanks

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hi Beth

      I think the best thing you can do is to trawl through Kaczerginski and see if you can find any songs referencing קינדער. Usually they are lullabies or lullaby-like. I know for a fact there are several in that collection with קינדער in the title. Shouldn’t be too hard. Have another try – don’t give up.

      If, after looking through, you really can’t find one, I’ll recommend one to you.

      That sound fair?

  5. Beth Rawlins

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Thanks, I’ll do that!

  6. Beth Rawlins

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian, I’m kind of completely stuck now. I’ve found a few songs with kinder in the title and from translating (as best I can) one or two verses from them I’m either sure they’re not lullabies or I still really can’t tell. I feel like I’m spending so much time on this part that it’s probably too much time by now, could you point me in the direction of something that is quite likely to be a lullaby? One of the reasons it’s hard is that the lyrical contents of lullabies changed a lot during the Holocaust (which is what I’m basing my essay on), so without any explanation of the songs it’s very hard to tell. I’m at the point of giving up and choosing another question, please let me know if you think I should do this!
    Thanks,
    Beth

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hi Beth. I think it might be time to cast your net a bit wider than just lullabies: I’m sure the texts you are looking at ARE lullabies, but even if they’re not it really doesn’t matter so much – the point here is to use a Yiddish-language source – why not drop ‘lullaby’ as your limit and go with ‘songs for/about children’? You’ve got to be able to move the goalposts to match what you find, rather then trying to bend everything to fit your initial idea. This is what research is like – a bit frustrating but, in the end, it’s worth it. If you can point me to the sources you’re looking at I can check your translations for you if you like. Do you think this approach to widening your net could work?

  7. Elaine

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hello Ian,

    I’m looking at a Yiddish source from Auschwitz at the moment and was wondering, is it possible in some orthographies for the [fey] and the [pey] to get mixed up? In one word I’ve translated, I’ve found it difficult to find a meaning for the word ‘parnakht’ but when I look up ‘farnakht’, I find it means ‘evening/dusk’ which makes much more sense in the context it is in.

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Elaine. Yes absolutely it is possible and, indeed, many orthographies make no distinction at all between them. so your assumption it’s farnakht looks right to me (there is no ‘parnakht’ in Yiddish as far as I can tell). Best

  8. [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi, in the essay guidance by ‘ecologies of music-making’ do you mean along the lines of the relationship between music-making and the effects of the physical and social environment of the camp/ghetto? Thanks.

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Catriona. That’s it exactly.

      • [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Thanks. Also would you happen to know where I could get access to Emilio Jani’s memoirs ‘My Voice Saved Me’? I can’t seem to find an option even to buy it anywhere.

  9. Ian Biddle

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hello Catriona. Well I’ve looked everywhere I can think of and I can’t find a copy available anywhere. I looked at a friend’s copy when I read it and I had to return it several months ago. The only thing I can suggest you do now is look for a different source. Really sorry I couldn’t help. If you had more time you could ask for an Inter-library loan but, unfortunately, you don’t. Sorry. It’s very friustrating I know when you have your heart set on looking at something. This is what reserach can be like sometimes.

    • [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Ah okay no problem, thanks very much for your help anyway!

  10. Beth Rawlins

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,
    I’m having trouble referencing the book ‘Mir Zaynen Do’ as it’s a book about ‘lider fun di getos un largen’. I can’t work out from the book who it was published by or who the editors were and I’m a bit worried about citing it incorrectly in my footnotes and bibliography. I got my translation from this book, but the original song was in the original book… should I be citing that one instead?
    Thanks,
    Beth

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Beth

      this is what I can find on google books:

      Title Mir zaynen do: lider fun di getos un lagern
      Edited by Eleanor G. Mloṭek, Malke Gottlieb
      Publisher: Educational Department of the Workmen’s Circle and Hippocrene Books, 1983
      ISBN 0882548573, 9780882548579

      does this give you what you need?

      • Beth Rawlins

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Yes thank you!

      • Ian Biddle

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        🙂

  11. George Montagu

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,

    Can I class articles from this website as reliable sources?
    http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/

    It has articles from a number of scholars of the field such as Guido Fackler which I have found helpful. I am sure you will have come across this site before, and perhaps already brought it to our attention (and it just slipped under my radar) but if not, then I would recommend it, as even if we cannot use the articles on the site, the bibliography is a fantastic source to plunder from (http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/resources-references/bibliography/).

    Thanks

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Yes absolutely reference it. It’s a great site.

  12. [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,

    I am having serious trouble finding any Yiddish songs/ sources relating to Auschwitz. The only song composed in Auschwitz which I’ve come across the name of is the Auschwitz Tango, and I haven’t been able to find access to this anywhere. Do you think you could point me in the right direction to locating any sources?

    Thanks

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Dear Catriona

      you’re not the only one struggling to find an Auschwitz-specific song source. The Auschwitz tango is not readily available (at least I’ve not been able to track down a copy). Part of the issue here, it seems to me, is the extreme conditions under which music making happened at Auschwitz and thus, understandably, the number of specific Auschwitz sources is limited. My suggestion would be to think about songs that passed from ghettos to Auschwitz. Theresienstadt, for example, was (sometimes) a feed to Auschwitz.

      In the end, if you struggle, my suggestion would be to look at a camp song from another death camp and then use it as an ‘example’ of the ‘kind of song’ that might have been sung at Auschwitz.

      Not quite the help you were looking for, but the best I can do right now.

  13. [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Yeah that’s how it seems. Okay thank you, that’s helpful.

  14. Sebastian Weil

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian. I’ve been searching high and low for a Yiddish song source from Auschwitz as well. As mentioned above, I couldn’t find any. However I found a text in Yiddish which was written in Jan 1945 by Avraham Levite in Auschwitz and is called “Introduction to the Projected Anthology Auschwitz”. I think it exemplifies the Extremis part of Auschwitz very well as it seems to use picturesque language (I am transliterating a Yiddish source from the YIVO bleter [1946] at the moment) which I have seen in an English translation. Would this be a suitable primary Yiddish source?

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Well done on tracking this down Sebastian. Yes this would be a splendid source to use for your essay. Many thanks for letting us know about it.

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello again Sebastian. I’ve tracked down the English but I can’t get hold of the Yiddish. You couldn’t point me to your original source, could you?

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hi Sebastian: I’ve found it! Great source!

      • Sebastian Weil

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Sorry, I’ve only just seen this. Glad you found it though 🙂

  15. Catherine Dalzell

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian, I am a bit confused as to what the correct ICMUS way is of including a quote which is a bit too long to be incorporated into a sentence?
    Thanks

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Catherine

      Many thanks for this. If it’s short (about 2 lines) then include it within quotation marks. If it’s longer, start it on a new line, indent it without quotation marks.

      That make sense?

  16. Catherine Dalzell

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    yep, thank you.

  17. Annabel W

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Ian,

    I am struggling to find any background information on Adam Kopycinski. All I can really find is that he was a conductor in Auschwitz, and some of the improvements he made for the orchestra. From what I can gather he wasn’t Jewish, but I am unsure as to why he was imprisoned in Auschwitz.

    Many thanks

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Annabel

      I’m afraid it’s not a name I know. Have you tried the Fackel piece mentioned on the module handbook?

  18. Lauren McQuoid

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,

    Just wondering if you could help me with a reference query – I’ve mentioned a couple of songs found on the Music and the Holocaust website, but in writing my footnotes and bibliography I can’t find when the site page was authored and who wrote it. For example, what I have for one of them is:

    , ‘Der Tango Fun Oshvientshim’, Music and the Holocaust, , http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/places/camps/death-camps/auschwitz/der-tango-fun-oshvie/ (19th April 2013).

    Any advice on how to fill in the gaps?
    Thanks!

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Lauren

      Thanks for this. This is quite common: just include what you can. No need to worry.

      Best wishes

      • Lauren McQuoid

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Thanks Ian! Could you please remind me if we include footnotes, quotes and our bibliography in our wordcount, or do we just count the main body of the text?

      • Ian Biddle

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Hello Lauren

        Everything counts.

        Best wishes

  19. Laura

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,

    I was just wondering what is the best way to footnote information you have been told by a Holocaust Survivor?

    Best Wishes,
    Laura

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Laura

      As far as I am aware, there is no agreed convention. I would give the full name, the title of the presentation (if that’s what it was) or omit that if it was just a conversation. If it’s someone else’s interview, make sure you include there name(s) too. Give the date and place he/she said the phrase you’re quoting.

      Here is how I would do it

      Presentation:

      Anna Schmidt, ‘Surviving Auschwitz’, presentation given at Newcastle University, March 20th 2013.

      Interview:

      Anna Schmidt, interview with John Davies, given at Newcastle University, March 20th 2013.

      Hope this helps

      • Laura

        [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

        Hi Ian,

        Thank you very much.

        Best Wishes,
        Laura

  20. George Montagu

    [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Ian,

    I am using liner notes from an album as a source and am unsure how to reference it. Will what I have written below be an acceptable format?:

    Harders-Wuthenow, Frank (Liner notes), Elegy for the Jewish Villages (Kassel: EDA Edition Abseits, B00008F5QA, 2008).

    Note: ‘Elegy for the Jewish Villages’ should be in italics (although I can’t with this comment box’ functionality.)

    Many thanks,
    George

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      That’s spot on George.

      Cheers

  21. [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

    Hi Sir, I was wondering if you could help me on referencing the Kaczerginski song collection on blackboard?

    Thanks Conor

    • Ian Biddle

      [please note: this comment is now out of date and was posted in relation to the 2012-13 delivery of this module; please check any advice given here against the latest version of the module documentation]

      Hello Connor

      Reference it like you would any book:

      Bibliography:

      Kaczerginski, Shmerke, Dos gezang fun vilner geto (Paris: farband fun di vilner in frankraykh, 1947).

      Footnote:

      Shmerke Kaczerginski, Dos gezang fun vilner geto (Paris: farband fun di vilner in frankraykh, 1947).

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