New article by Ian Biddle: Music, Sound, and Affect in Yiddish-Language Holocaust Cinema: The Posttraumatic Community in Natan Gross’s Unzere kinder (1948)

I have recently published an article on Natan Gross’s Yiddish feature film Unzere kinder.


Natan Gross’s Yiddish-language feature film Unzere kinder (Poland, 1947) to tell the stories of a group of Jewish children orphaned during the Holocaust. Thee article explores the notion of “posttraumatic” cinema through an analysis of the film’s soundtrack.


Opening Paragraph

This article approaches the last twentieth-century fully Yiddish-language film feature, Unzere kinder (dir. Natan Gross, Poland 1948) with a particular interest in its uses of sound and music. The film is interesting for many reasons, but for our purposes, as we shall see, it represents a unique and still very “raw” attempt to deal with the emotional aftermath of the Holocaust. Its use of music and musical performance in the context of postatrocity survival is striking in that musical performance seems to stand here as both a possible therapeutic process and as a way of staging the authenticity of witnesses to the atrocities. It also works in the film as a way of reforming broken communities by emphasizing the socializing and commemorative outcomes of musicking.2 The film is focused on the experiences of a group of child Holocaust survivors being cared for at the Helanówek orphanage just outside the city of Łódź in central Poland, and the orphanage functions as a kind of microcosm of traumatized Jewish communities all over Eastern Europe.

You can access the proofs (before proof-reading) here.

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