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Songs that Survived the Holocaust

March 13, 2017

Just after the war – 1946

A group of young Holocaust survivors at a home in Hampshire, England, in late 1945. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

A group of young Holocaust survivors at a home in Hampshire, England, in late 1945. Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.

In July 1946 an American psychology professor named David Boder traveled to Western Europe to interview refugees and Holocaust survivors. After the war the prisoners who had been freed had no home to go to so they became refugees. Boder’s goals were to record how “living through something like the Holocaust changes someone’s personality”. In addition, he wanted to “preserve these people’s oral histories.” Along with talking with them he recorded the songs that they had written during their time in the concentration camps. He was hoping that their voices would help Americans accept Jewish immigrants.

At the time Boder traveled he took along a state-of-the-art wire voice recorder and 200 spools of steel wire tape. Some of the songs have been housed since 1967 at the University of Akron in Ohio. Recently they decided to digitize the songs which took more than a year since getting them off the spools was not an easy task.

The discovery of these songs have been shared with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Henonville songs, which had been thought to be lost, were in fact found and you can listen to some of the selections by CLICKING HERE. The Henonville songs were named after the refugee camp in France where they were recorded.

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