Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Kulisiewicz, Aleksander. “Polish Camp Songs, 1939-1945.” Modern Language Studies 16 (Winter 1986): 3-9.

Song parodies written in Nazi concentration camps between 1939 and 1945 generally featured two distinct types of newly created lyrics. The first type tended to be pessimistic, but could also include themes of resistance and rebellion, and writers sometimes added poetic phrases to tunes that reminded them of the beauty of their native tongue and music. The second category showcased darker, more macabre subject matter. Despite featuring lyrics describing the horrors of camp life, the transformation of the subject matter provided a way for the writers to gain control over their situation by turning daily horrors into something humorous in order to enliven their spirits. Several songs also feature pre-existing melodies drawn from classical opera arias, hymns, carols, and popular genres such as foxtrots, waltzes, and tangos.

Works: Anonymous: Kolysanke dla synka w kremato-rium (3); Anonymous: Tango truponoszow (3); Anonymous: Dicke Luft (3); Anonymous: Judische Todessang (3); Anonymous: March to the Crematorium (4); E. Polak: How tenderly the wind caresses the birch tree (6).

Sources: Anonymous: Wojtusia z popielnika iskiereczka mruga (4); Beethoven: Germania (7).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Cynthia Dretel, Matthew G. Leone

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