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MUS3179 : Music in the Holocaust (level 6) (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Ian Biddle
  • Owning School: Arts & Cultures
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module aims to familiarise students with the range of musical practices engaged by victims of the Holocaust (that set of crimes – especially but not exclusively genocide – perpetrated by the Nazis and collaborators against Jews, Romani, Sinti, Polish and Russian civilians, political prisoners, homosexuals, members of certain religious groups, and those defined by the Nazis as ‘insane’, during the Second World War). The module aims to give students a clear sense of how the Holocaust intervened in and shaped musical culture, how victims responded musically to the Holocaust during the Holocaust and what kinds of musical responses victims and their families made to the Holocaust after 1945. In particular, the Module deals with Western Art Music (the so-called ‘entartete Musik’) and folk music traditions of the Ashkenazim, especially Yiddish-language folk song. In addition, the module aims to introduce students to the basic elements of the Yiddish language (alphabet, basic volcabulary and syntax).

Outline Of Syllabus

This module concentrates mainly on Jewish music from this period and on the experience of the Ashkenazim in particular. As part of the module, we will discuss musical practices in a number of Ghettos, especially Vilne and Warsaw, music in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, Nazi policy toward Jewish music, music in the resistance and music that deals thematically with Jewish experiences of the Holocaust, both during and after. The module also introduces students to the basics of the Yiddish language (alphabet, vocabulary and syntax) and this will be tested in a short in-house language test at the end of the module.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials122:0024:00Asynchronous pre-recorded lectures, released weekly
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion176:0076:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading224:0088:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Synchronous seminars conducted online (& also made available as recorded sessions after each semina
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures cover key topics in the module and the Yiddish language seminars will introduce students to how to read primary source material in Yiddish. Both modes of delivery (asynchronous lectures and synchronous seminars) are geared to the assessments: lecture materials deal with topics rehearsed in the essay and seminars are tested by the take away language tests and in students’ encounter with primary sources as tested in the essay.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination991M20Take away written exam. 48 hours. Class Yiddish language test
Written Examination992M20Take away written exam. 48 hours. Class Yiddish language test
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A602500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The take aaway language tests examine students’ familiarity with the basic components of the Yiddish language. The Essay tests students’ ability to apply that knowledge to specific case studies.

Reading Lists