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Film: The Music of Terezín

BBC SO Total Immersion: Music for the End of Time

A candle burns in the centre of the image, with the star of David above it. Barbed wire runs across the photo, and a bird flies out of the right hand side of the image. An image of Terezin is faint in the background. The image has BBC SO branding around it.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion in music written in the prisons and ghettos of the Second World War opens with a film in testament to acts of creativity from the musicians of Terezín.

In November 1941, the Nazis started to transport Czech Jews to the ghetto town of Theresienstadt (Terezín in Czech). They came by train, 1000 people at a time. To open this Total Immersion day, Simon Broughton introduces his remarkable BBC documentary from 1993 celebrating the extraordinary cultural life of the Terezín ghetto, where creative artists found themselves ‘dancing under the gallows’.

Broughton’s film – which includes location filming at Terezín, archive footage, vivid first-hand accounts and powerful musical performances – focuses on the lost generation of Czech and Austrian composers who made music in the ghetto. They include Pavel Haas, Hans Krása and Viktor Ullmann – all murdered by the Nazis. This is the story of creativity against all odds – and masterpieces of music that resonate far beyond the walls of oppression.

The Music of Terezín. Documentary, 1993 Dir Simon Broughton 70 mins

This film will finish at approximately 12.15pm

Produced by the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Please note that this event deals with subjects of a distressing nature

Suitable for children aged 8+

Cinema 1