MUS3179 : Music in the Holocaust (level 6)

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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion176:0076:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture122:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading224:0088:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00seminars
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture cover key topics in the module and the basic Yiddish language seminars will introduce students to how to read primary source material in Yiddish. Both modes of delivery (lectures and seminars) are geared to the assessments: lecture materials deal with topics rehearsed in the unseen exam and essay and seminars are tested by the in-class basic language test 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 Examination601M20Class Yiddish language test
Written Examination602M20Class Yiddish language test
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2A602500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The class language tests test students’ familiarity with some basic components of the Yiddish language. The Essay tests students’ ability to apply that knowledge to specific case studies.

Reading Lists