Music, Memory, and Resistance during the Holocaust

Learn how music helped to preserve dignity in the lives of Jews under Nazi rule.

Explore with your students the lives of Jews before World War II and examine music as a form of resistance.

These lessons will help your students:

  • Recognize how music comforts individuals during difficult moments
  • Understand how the lives of European Jews prior to World War II were characterized by richness in culture and diversity
  • Explore the complex emotions surrounding the use of music to survive, resist, and sustain spirit


These lessons are designed to be taught to middle or high school classes in approximately four 50-minute class periods.

Students draw on personal experiences with music to reflect on its ability to provide inspiration, comfort, and fight against injustice.

Students learn about the vibrant culture and diversity of Jewish life in Europe before the war and antisemitism's role in diminishing this richness.

Students broaden their understanding of resistance by exploring examples of music as spiritual and physical defiance to Nazi oppression.

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