Sounds of survival and regeneration : a microstoria of the Holocaust, 1940-1945 / by Bonita Nahoum Jaros
Includes bibliographical references (p. 267-288)
- External Link
Electronic version from ProQuest
This transdisciplinary work was designed to examine the possibility of the survival and regenerative effects of music in survivors of the Holocaust of World War II. It employs a research technique developed by the Bologna School, microstoria.The conceptual research framework, microstoria, starts in the center with an unknown person or event and expands into a historical macrohistory, transcending time and space and working outward in concentric circles. The purpose “is to elucidate historical causation on the level of small groups where most of real life takes place and to open history to peoples who would be left out by other methods” (Muir & Ruggiero, 1991, p. xxi). In microstoria, one seeks interconnected threads which can explain the nonlinear nature of life. The unfolding of this microstoria, then, informs the inquiry employing methods of narratology; archival document analysis; musicological analysis; and performance of the music.The center of the microstoria is a story told by a survivor who spent years in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Life was brutal; survival required special circumstances. The theme of survival and healing from the vantage point of vulnerability and resiliency is the first thread leading outward. Viktor Frankl's concept will-to-meaning then lays the foundation for investigating techniques of survival.The Auschwitz-Birkenau Orchestra was one avenue of survival, as was the music performed and composed outside that orchestra in the ghettos and other camps. Music as survival and regenerative effect is investigated as specific patterns in the music are analyzed in a language paradigm. Finally, this spirals back to the survival of those who shared their stories.Although the conclusions discuss regenerative effects of music for a specific group, these have implications for continued research regarding other traumata (e.g., forced labor, natural disasters) and the use of the arts in educational settings.A tribute to all victims of the Holocaust concludes this work. A selection of songs written or sung in the ghettos and camps is performed in compact disk format. The goal is to make sense of these events, to share a brief moment of understanding, and to believe humans can learn from the past.
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