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During the Holocaust, many musicians and other artists were persecuted by the Nazis, some because they were Jewish, others because of the content of their art. The Holocaust Legacy Foundation Gideon Klein Award offers $5000 to a Northeastern student in any major to create an original work, prepare a performance, or do research related to art or artists of the Holocaust. The student will also offer a public presentation at Northeastern during Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week and archive the project on the Jewish Studies and Holocaust Awareness Committee Archives websites. Students at Northeastern are eligible to apply.

This award honors the memory of Gideon Klein, pianist and composer, who was imprisoned in Terezin and other concentration camps until his death in 1945. While in Terezin, Klein inspired other musicians to compose and share their music with others in the most difficult circumstances. Professor Bill Giessen established the Gideon Klein Award for projects related to music and musicians in 1997 in memory of his mother, Gustel Cormann Giessen, and we gratefully acknowledge the decades-long support of the Giessen family.

We invite you to apply for the $5,000 Holocaust Legacy Foundation Gideon Klein Award.

Application Materials:

  1. A 1-2 page proposal describing your work or research and reasons for pursuing your topic
  2. Curriculum vitae
  3. One faculty recommendation
  4. Copy of transcript
Applications for 2024-2025 are due April 1, 2024

All materials and/or questions should be sent to Prof. Lori Lefkovitz at 

Current and Previous Gideon Klein Scholars

2023-2024 Andie Weiner (Northeastern University combined major in Theater and Psychology). She will be creating an exhibit regarding the meeting of Hellen Copenhagen Groothuis, a Jewish mother with a newborn baby, and the Van de Meerendonk family, a Christian family, in Vught, Netherlands in 1944. Through her own family history, she will explore how Jewish mothers in the Holocaust were willing to give up their children for safety and how non-Jewish mothers were willing to take in a baby knowing the risks. She will present her exhibit on March 25, 2024 at 6 pm, during Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week 2024.

2022-2023 Ethan Rogers (Northeastern University Architecture major, with a minor in Urban Landscape Studies). He studied the Secret Synagogue of Terezin, originally created by teacher and artist Artur Berlinger in a secret storage room in the ghetto. Ethan re-created a scale and digital model of the Secret Synagogue and shared his work and his research during Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week 2023. View the recording of his presentation here. Northeastern Global News’ coverage is here.

2021-2022 Zachary Richmond (Northeastern University Music Industry major, with a minor in Business Administration). His project investigated the Nazi use of jazz, and he shared his research with music classes at Northeastern. Syncopating Freedom: The Third Reich’s Use of Jazz as Propaganda was presented along with a musical performance on April 4, 2022. The recording may be viewed here.

2020-2021 Kalah Karloff (Northeastern University Music Industry and Communications Studies major, with minor in Media Production) researched how music was used as a form of torture by the Nazis in concentration camps and how the effect of music on the human body can change with its context. She wrote a paper called “Music and the Holocaust: “We Made Music in Hell” as part of which specific songs are assessed musically and lyrically to explore the reason behind these choices, with clear applications to our own day. It is accompanied by a video collage of musical examples entitled Musical Selections from Music and the Holocaust: “We Made Music in Hell”. Kalah’s project is now available through the University Library Digital Repository Service here. Kalah presented her work during Holocaust and Genocide Awareness Week 2021. Her presentation is here.

2019-2020 Yael Sheinfeld (Northeastern University Communications major with minors in Political Science and English) created an animated film based on the children’s book The Children’s Tree of Terezin by Dede Harris. Please see Yael’s film here.

2018-2019 Elizabeth Levi (Northeastern University Journalism graduate, pursuing a Master of Science in Media Advocacy at Northeastern). Her project consisted of a digital webpage where she shared the stories and artwork of Jewish women artists who received refugee status in the United States both during and immediately after the Holocaust. Elizabeth’s work is incorporated into the Rediscovering Refugee Scholars project at Northeastern. Please see Elizabeth’s presentation here.

2017-2018 Danielle Murad Waiss (Northeastern University Political Science and International Affairs major). Danielle’s project involved choreographing a dance performance composed of several pieces inspired by artworks created during or after the Holocaust. Please see Danielle’s project here.

2016-2017 Alison Campbell (Northeastern University, International Affairs and Political Science major). This project explores the life and works of Wilhelm Brasse, a photographer notorious for his identity photos shot in Auschwitz. Her interdisciplinary work examined the role of photography through the lenses of memory, history, and culture. She presented her work at Northeastern’s Holocaust Commemoration in January 2017.

2015-2016 Madelyn Stone (Northeastern University, Journalism and History double major, International Affairs Minor) wrote Reality is the Satire – The Will to Hope in the Writings of Jura Soyfer. This essay based on Stone’s research as the Gideon Klein Scholar was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Leo Baeck Institute — New York undergraduate essay contest in German-Jewish studies.

2014-2015 Elijah Botkin (Northeastern University, Music and Mathematics double major). The Closed Town: Poetry from Terezin. Read about the project in “Powerful stories, music at Northeastern Holocaust Commemoration.”

2013-2014 Hinda Tzivia Eisen (Hebrew College, Cantorial Ordination and Master of Judaic Studies program). The Westerbork Cabaret.

2012-2013 Heather Viola (Northeastern University, International Affairs and Human Services major). Children’s Music in Terezin.

2011-2012 Emili Kaufman (Northeastern University, communications studies major). Art of Felix Nussbaum.

2010-2011 Lynn Torgove (Hebrew College, Cantorial Ordination Program). FRAUENSTIMMEN: Women’s Voices from the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Full Performance. Presentation as part of President’s Breakfast during Holocaust Awareness Week at Northeastern.

2009-2010 Jeri Robins (Hebrew College, Cantorial Ordination Program). Music of the Auschwitz Women’s Orchestra.

2008-2009 Julie Stevens (New England Conservatory). Satire and Symbolism in Viktor Ullmann’s opera “Der Kaiser von Atlantis” and accompanying presentation.

2006-2007 Jonathan Meacham (Northeastern University). Concert of music by Gideon Klein and other Terezin composers, performed in original versions and in jazz variations created by Meacham.

2005-2006 Coleman Goughary (Northeastern University). Original composition and performance.

2004-2005 Amie Brehm (Northeastern University). As part of her project, Brehm created a “Guide to Crafting a Performance of Brundibar by Hans Krasa.” Watch the video here.

2002-2003 Jungmee Kim (Northeastern University). Performance.

2001-2002 Melissa Misicka (Northeastern University). Website on musical activities at Terezin.

2000-2001 Fay Gerbes (Northeastern University). Performance.

1999-2000 Sarah Heile (Northeastern University). Concert and exhibit.

1998-99 Virgil Bozeman (Northeastern University). Concert on Nazi censorship of the arts.