Abstract

This essay examines how songs functioned as a form of spiritual resistance during the Holocaust. The importance of singing has long been acknowledged, and almost immediately after the war scholars and survivors began collecting the songs Jews sang. Building on the fact that many of the most popular songs were either written before the war or made reference to popular songs from the pre-war period, this essay categorizes these recycled songs as either reused, rewritten, or response and shows how the use of familiar songs, tunes, refrains and even references offered Jewish composers and singers access to a particularly deep and subtle range of tools for meeting the spiritual and emotional needs of their audience.

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