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Barbara Milewski

Daniel Underhill Professor of Music

On Leave - Academic Year


Peace & Conflict Studies

First Generation & Low-Income Student Initiatives


  2. Phone: (610) 328-8238
  3. Lang Music Building 402

Barbara Milewski received her PhD from the Music Department of Princeton University. A Polish music specialist, she has lectured extensively on questions of national identity and memory in the music of Chopin; songs created in the Nazi concentration camps; and the music of Poland's iconic postwar film, Zakazane piosenki  (Forbidden Songs, 1947), for which she also created the complete English subtitles for the original uncensored version of the film. Her scholarship has appeared in various peer-reviewed journals, reference works and in recent scholarly volumes that examine postwar musical commemoration. With Bret Werb she produced an annotated compact disc of archival recordings, Aleksander Kulisiewicz: Ballads and Broadsides. Her translations of Polish songs for that recording, as well as for Thomas Pasatieri's song cycle Letter to Warsaw, and Paul Schoenfield's Camp Songs, have brought wider attention to the remarkable repertoire of topical songs created in the Nazi camps. Recently, she was a contributor to the BBC's The Documentary  podcast, "Songs from the Depths of Hell" narrated by presenter Alan Dein, and the French public radio France Culture podcast, "Le barde des Enfers."

Her work has been generously supported by fellowships and prizes awarded by NEH, Fulbright, the American Musicological Society, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the U.S. Department of Defense, the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, and the Kosciuszko Foundation. She is also the recipient of a Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2015, a prestigious Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Grant funded collaboration with Theater scholar Allen Kuharski to bring Michał Zadara’s acclaimed work, Chopin Without Piano, to Swarthmore, Philadelphia and Boston for its North American premiere. (

​​​She is completing a book-length study that explores the music making of prisoners in Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Auschwitz-Birkenau. You can find Milewski’s CV and published work at


Camp Mementos from Krystyna Zywulska: The Making of a Satiri

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