Date of Award

Fall 12-14-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Catherine Coppola

Second Advisor

Michele Cabrini

Academic Program Adviser

Philip Ewell


The atrocities and horrors of the Holocaust are well-known and well-documented. Hitler’s “Final Solution” was to eradicate all Jews from Europe, and to implement this, the Nazis built six extermination camps in Poland. These camps, and others throughout Europe, mass-killed millions of humans between 1933 and 1945. Prisoners in these camps were consumed by torture, terror, and murder on a daily basis. Although most survivor accounts detail the role music played in these camps, it had been in the last twenty to thirty years that musicologists and historians have really delved into this subject.

While there were different types of camps throughout Europe (labor, extermination, labor and extermination, show camps), music was used equally and effectively as an instrument of torture and an accessory to violence and murder. This research organizes the role of music in the concentration camps into the following categories: Music used as a means of deception; Music used as a means of discipline; Music that accompanied violence, torture, and murder; Music used to humiliate and psychologically torture the prisoners; Music used for entertainment by the Nazis; and finally, music used as a form of survival.



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