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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Dislocated Memories: Jews, Music, and Postwar German Culture


During the Holocaust, Terezín (Theresienstadt) was designed to function as a so-called "model camp." At Terezín, the Nazis allowed inmates to hold musical rehearsals and perform publicly; exhibiting such activities was cultural propaganda designed to dupe visiting organizations, including the International Red Cross. Whereas music was performed in nearly all the camps, Joža Karas asserts that Terezín provided Jewish prisoners with a unique chance to "devote all [their] energy to [a] chosen field" and thus experience "exciting feelings [that] could not be dampened by the unpleasantness and difficulties of in the ghetto." He concludes his evaluation by citing Greta Hofmeister, a survivor who played the role of Aninka in the storied productions of the children's opera Brundibár: she "exclaim[s] exuberantly," "Music! Music was life! [emphasis in the original].


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