"The tunes are few, a dozen, the same ones every day, morning and evening: marches and popular songs dear to every german."
Orchestras formed of camp inmates played in concentration and extermination camps. Orchestras functioned in various parts of Auschwitz from 1941 to 1945 and consisted of some of Europe's finest musicians. There were men’s orchestras in the Main Camp, Birkenau and Monowitz. Much was demanded of these musicians. They performed for hours during role call and had to play when new arrivals were sent directly to the gas chambers. Prisoners would march in time to the orchestra's music as they left and returned to camp on work details. The orchestra also played during Selections, and when executions were ordered. They gave concerts for the SS men and their families on Sundays and holidays, and played at dance evenings and social events.
Members of the camp orchestras tended to receive preferential treatment. Their barracks were less cramped and squalid, and they usually received better quality rations than the other inmates.