Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Milewski, Barbara, and Bret Werb. “From ‘Madagaskar’ to Sachsenhausen: Singing about ‘Race’ in a Nazi Camp.” Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry 16 (November 2003): 269-78.

Inmates in concentration camps often provided new lyrics to well-known melodies, and in several cases the new lyrics parodied the subject matter of the original piece. Aleksander Kulisiewicz’s lyrics to Heil, Sachsenhausen offer a satiric narrative of the Sachsenhausen camp experience, mocking the Nazi racial purity laws with lyrics in both Polish and German. Through his parody of Mieczyslaw Miksne’s Madagaskar, Kulisiewicz also compares the Germany’s treatment of Poles to Poland’s treatment of the Jews. It is apparent that Kulisiewicz, who only heard Madagaskar for the first time in the camp, was unaware that Miksne, through his satirical song, expressed a desire to go to Madagascar because he believed that the natives would be more civilized that the Poles who planned to send the Jews there. The psychological effects of the parody can still be noted, however, as Kulisiewicz’s lyrics also mock an oppressor.

Works: Aleksander Kulisiewicz: Heil, Sachsenhausen (270), Jüdischer Todessang (278).

Sources: Mieczysław Miksne: Madagaskar (270).

Index Classifications: 1900s

Contributed by: Cynthia Dretel, Matthew G. Leone

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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