Lost Songs of the Holocaust Found in University of Akron Archives
From U. of Akron:
In the final months of World War II, as Allied Forces began to liberate the prisoners of Nazi concentration camps, they captured on film the horrors they saw around them. Soon, the whole world saw — images of skeletal survivors bearing silent witness to what they and millions more had been forced to endure.
Dr. David Boder was determined to give the survivors a voice.
In the summer of 1946, the psychologist interviewed at least 130 Jewish survivors in nine languages in refugee camps in France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany. With a wire recorder — then considered state-of-the-art equipment — and 200 spools of steel wire, Boder preserved some of the first oral histories of concentration camp survivors. He also recorded song sessions and religious services.
A portion of Boder’s work has been archived at The University of Akron’s Drs. Nicholas and Dorothy Cummings Center for the History of Psychology since 1967. But it wasn’t until a recent project to digitize the recordings got under way that a spool containing the “Henonville Songs,” performed in Yiddish and German and long thought lost, was discovered in a mislabeled canister.
“I think it is one of the most important discoveries from our collections in our 50-year history,” notes Dr. David Baker, the Margaret Clark Morgan Executive Director of the Cummings Center. “The songs were recorded at a refugee camp in Henonville, France. The Nazis made the prisoners sing some of these songs as they ran to their forced labor sites and back each day.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.