The Conservatoire in occupied Kiev (19 September 1941 to 6 November 1943)

Elena Zinkevych, Michelle Assay

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The German occupation of Ukraine was marked by extraordinary savagery, seared into international consciousness by the slaughter at the Babiy Yar ravine northwest of Kiev. By the end of the Occupation, the Germans had killed around 40,000 Jews and 100,000 people of other nationalities. Starting from the first bombardments of the capital, many citizens fled to relative safe havens elsewhere in the Soviet Union. However, there was no official evacuation of the Kiev Conservatoire, and many of its students and professors were unable to leave.

This chapter reconstructs the dramatic events that took place during the two years in which Kiev musicians remained in the city, using the reminiscences of eyewitnesses, in particular the almost daily diary entries of artist Irina Khoroshunova (1913-1993), a close friend of Anisiya Shreyer-Tkachenko, head of the music history office at the Conservatoire. The story of how musicians endeavoured to maintain some sort of artistic life under conditions of extreme deprivation and fear is here left largely to speak for itself. It is stark and profoundly moving.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook to Music under German Occupation, 1938-1945
Subtitle of host publicationPropaganda, Myth and Reality
EditorsDavid Fanning, Erik Levi
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781351862592, 9781315230610
ISBN (Print)9781138713888, 9781032082653
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Music Handbooks


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