Musiques dans les camps nazis

By Bruno Giner

Editions Delatour France, April 2019, 258 p.

In 2010, Bruno Giner finished writing his first book in French dedicated to the use and manipulation of music in the nazi concentration camp system : Survivre et mourir en musique dans les camps nazis. He then continued his research, gave many lectures and spoke in many public debates ( pre-concerts, school days, concert-lectures) on that subject.

These varied experiences helped him to deepen his questioning, and to develop a subject which continues today to ask many questions : what role played music in such a context : artistic ? Historic ? A sort of resistence or, on the contrary, a kind of collaboration ? A submission to the executioners or a possibility of survival ? Were the musicians privileged and why ? Could one save his life by playing a tune on the violin, or by singing a song ? Did solidarity play a role between musicians, and which one ?

To all these questions, the answers are neither simple or unique. All contradictions existed or coexisted, and depending on the time or the place, the best and worst of the human soul rubbed shoulders, or even juxtaposed. Bruno Giner is not doing just a reedition of his book released in 2010, but more a new edition, corrected, amended and enhanced. With a frightening description of the nazi concentration camp system, the author shows how music, expression of aesthetics and beauty, can be deflected in order to profit the lowest instincts and absolute horror. A salutary book against the banality of evil…

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