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Department of History to host lecture on music and the Holocaust

With Holocaust Remembrance Day quickly approaching, New Mexico State University's Department of History is bringing to campus visiting scholar Joseph Toltz, of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, to share his insights. An ethnographer, Toltz will discuss the undiscovered musical collection of an American psychologist, who interviewed Holocaust survivors in postwar Displaced Persons Camps, recording testimonies, songs and services with Jews and non-Jews.



New Mexico State University's Department of History will host a lecture on the musical experience and memory among Jewish Holocaust survivors in postwar refugee camps, with guest speak Joseph Toltz of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27 in Hardman Hall, Room 112. (Courtesy photo)

Toltz's talk "The Accidental Pioneer: Music from David Boder's 1946 Expedition Into the Displaced Persons Camps of Europe." will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27 in Hardman Hall, Room 112.

"The subject matter of this lecture is fascinating," associate professor of history Andrea Orzoff said. "Toltz is working with source material that has not been explored by any other scholars. The Holocaust is a well-documented subject in so many ways and yet we are still learning new things about it; it's like the first draft of a piece of history."

Toltz is also a trained cantor in Jewish religious song and will share his musical ability with the audience during his academic lecture.

"Dr. Toltz is well-steeped in Jewish musical practices," Orzoff said. "The combination of academic talk with song will make this lecture really accessible and interesting."

Toltz is researching musical experience and memory in Jewish Holocaust survivors. His research focuses on the place of music within survivor testimony. In the 55 interviews he has undertaken with survivors, his focus has been placed on musical experiences from childhood through periods spent in ghettos, camps, in hiding, under false identity or in partisan groups.

"NMSU is a Hispanic-serving institution whose population understands how bigotry functions," Orzoff said. "The Holocaust was a state-sponsored genocide with bigotry at its heart. While it seems like an event that happened so long ago and far away, it has very immediate lessons to teach us here and now."

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information contact Orzoff at 575-646-4612.