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Beate Kutschke

Senior Fellow (10/2018–03/2019)


Music and Heroisation in Austria. New Perspectives on the Process of Coming to Terms with the Holocaust


KUTSCHKEHeroisation has been an important element in the process of coming to terms with the Holocaust across the world since 1945. Jewish and non-Jewish helpers and rescuers, as well as the surviving and dead victims of the Holocaust, have been praised as heroes and heroines for seeking to resist the genocide and/or demonstrating high moral spirit in quietly suffering their fate. While historians, sociologists, and psychologists have acknowledged the significance of these heroisations in the shaping of moral identities and political ideologies during and after the Cold War, the role of music in these processes has been neglected thus far. The investigation of Austria-related ‘Holocaust compositions’ – their music, libretti, lyrics, comments, and performance contexts – will elucidate how the large range of heroic expressive elements in music has reflected changing attitudes towards the Holocaust in Austria, a nation that struggled intensely with facing its past involvement in Nazi crimes.


Beate Kutschke is a research associate at the University of Salzburg. She approaches music history from a culturologically oriented perspective. In addition to other research topics such as music and protest and computer-assisted music analysis, she has published on Holocaust music and music and heroism during the past years. The results from her research at the VWI will contribute to a monograph on music and ‘Holocaust heroisations’.

April 2024
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The Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies (VWI) is funded by:


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