Winning the Gideon Klein Award to honour her late father
Back in the year 2011, one of Northeastern University’s beloved students received the Gideon Klein Award for the years 2011-2012. Emili Kaufman got the award for her exceptional analysis of the artwork of Felix Nussbaum. He was a surrealist painter of German origin, who was killed in one of the Nazi concentration camps in 1944 at Auschwitz.
It was actually put forth to honour Gideon Klein posthumously after this Czech pianist and composer also died in a Nazi death camp in 1945. It was established by Bill Giessen, Northeastern’s Professor of Chemistry, in the memory of Gustel Cormann Giessen, his mother. He was brought up in Nazi Germany and sadly, passed away in the year 2010.
The award is more than just an honour though; it also includes a $5000 prize. Kaufman, however, is the least interested in the monetary benefit. The award actually holds a personal significance for this Communication Studies major student. She wants to dedicate her award to her father, a Jewish professor of Illustration, who passed away some time before she received the award.
“By winning this award, I feel like I will be able to honour my father as well as those who were persecuted in the Holocaust,” said Kaufman.
Lori Lefkovitz, Ruderman Professor, was a part of the selection committee and was very impressed by Kaufman’s proposal. “She studies art and Jewish studies partly to sustain the memory of her own father,” Lefkovitz said. “This poignant confluence of memorialising testifies to Northeastern’s ongoing commitment to creatively incorporate the past into the future, transforming suffering into blessing through art and scholarship.”
Kaufman is deeply fascinated by Nussbaum and his artworks. She plans on studying more on him and creates something like an artistic tribute to the painter, with the help of Mira Cantor, Northeastern’s Art professor. As for her plans after graduation, she plans on working for the Jewish Museum, situated in New York City. “I’m driven by the incredible history of Judaism,” she admitted. “I think their story says a lot about humanity and what people are capable of doing.”