Suggested Activities/Discussion Topics/Research Papers

  • Research the various ways the Nazis used music in the camps.  How can singing be torture, both physical and/or psychological?  Compare the two statements of Eric Goodman and Karel Stancl, both prisoners at Sachsenhausen.  What are the inherent properties in music that make it both usable as a weapon and as a source of comfort?
  • Watch and research the opera Brundibar by Hans Krasa.  How is the story of Brundibar a metaphor for the struggle of the Jews in the Holocaust?  How do you think the performers and the audience might have felt singing and hearing the music and libretto in the camps?   What could Brundibar be a metaphor in today’s world?
  • Research the cultural life in Terezin.  Read Victor Ullmann’s quote.  How does Goethe’s quote relate to his time in Terezin?  What does he mean by saying that Terezin is the “school of Form?”  Why do you think the time in Terezin “served to enhance, not to impede” his musical activities?
  • Research folk songs that emerged from the camps and ghettos.  What were the varying purposes of these songs?  How did the music reflect the lyrics?  How did these songs serve to inspire the people around them?


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