Faculty, staff, and students have always been heavily involved in Holocaust awareness at Northeastern, not only as members of the Holocaust Awareness Committee but also as speakers, researchers, and performers. Faculty have lectured, sat on panels, and presented their own work. Students have also been encouraged to participate as much as possible, from attending events to speaking about their own research.
Much student engagement has revolved around the Gideon Klein Award, established in 1997 by longtime professor of chemistry Bill Giessen in memory of his mother, Gustel Cormann, Giessen. (Giessen died in March 2010.) The award honors the memory of Gideon Klein, brilliant 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 most difficult circumstances. Each Gideon Klein Scholar creates an original work of art, prepares a performance, or does research on an aspect of the arts and the Holocaust. Gideon Klein Scholars have explored such diverse topics as Nazi censorship of the arts, children’s music in Terezin, and photography ethics in Auschwitz; performances have included “Frauenstimmen: Women’s Voices from Ravensbrück,” “The Westerbork Cabaret,” and “The Closed Town: Poetry from Terezin,” among many others.
The annual Holocaust Commemoration sponsored by the President’s office has served as the main venue to showcase faculty and student work on the Holocaust. Each year, a faculty member working on a topic related to the Holocaust speaks on his/her research, while the Gideon Klein Scholar offers a public presentation of his/her work.
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Natalie Bormann & Veronica Czastkiewicz
"Postcards from Auschwitz: The Ethics of Visiting Sites of Trauma"
Oral History Project
In 1999 and 2000, the Holocaust Awareness Committee became involved with an oral history project that interviewed Northeastern faculty and staff about their personal knowledge about the Holocaust. The three individuals who were interviewed were not themselves victimized by the Nazis but knew intimately someone who was. They speak on behalf of their friends and family on the atrocities of the Holocaust. Where available, transcripts of the interviews have been provided.