Musical Memories of Terezín in Transnational Perspective

Amy Lynn Wlodarski

in Dislocated Memories

Published in print October 2014 | ISBN: 9780199367481
Published online December 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199367504 | DOI:
Musical Memories of Terezín in Transnational Perspective

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  • Ethnomusicology
  • Musicology and Music History


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Drawing on testimonies preserves at the Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testemonies, this chapter challenges the representation of Terezín as a place of solely positive musical memories. To that end, it explores postwar Holocaust testimonies in the space between lived experience (the represence of the trauma itself) and representation of the Holocaust in the form of interviews, arguing that survivors’ transitory states have marked memories and led in some ways to the many positive accounts of music in the camp that ignore traumatic aspects of life in Terezín. Additionally, the memories of relocated Terezín survivors pull on multiple national encounters simultaneously: the new home (in this study, the United States) and the past home (German-speaking Europe). Survivors’ confrontation with their German past from abroad heightens this transnational component; their dislocated memories are no longer a product of lived experience during the Holocaust, but ultimately include postwar perspectives. By untangling these layers of time in memory, hitherto overlooked dystopian narratives are added to the somewhat skewed positive portrayal of Terezín’s musical activity.

Keywords: Holocaust testimony; Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimonies; FVAHT; Terezín concentration camp; Theresienstadt concentration camp; Terizin model camp; survivor memory; witness memory; music in Terezín; survivor dislocation

Chapter.  6219 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology ; Musicology and Music History

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