Beyond Rupture: Listening for Polish-Jewish Music before and after the Holocaust


Summer Institute for the Study of East Central and Southeastern Europe




This project examines the musical aftermath of World War II and the Holocaust in Poland. It centers on the experiences of a group of Polish and Polish-Jewish composers and musicians who were the leading figures in Poland’s classical music scene. By exploring how they sought to build public culture before the war, survived or perished in the Holocaust, and devoted themselves to reconstruction after it, the study teases out continuities instead of ruptures across the mid-century. Thus, the project challenges a historiography of twentieth-century music organized around the destruction of war and, using new empirical findings, questions the claim that post-Holocaust Europe was dominated by a uniform silencing of Jewish experience.