William J. Lowenberg Speakers Bureau

The William J. Lowenberg Speakers Bureau educates about the Holocaust and genocide through survivor testimony. Speakers, including survivors and descendants, share firsthand experiences in classrooms, institutions, companies, and community venues, promoting tolerance, diversity, and countering hatred. Their stories cover a range of experiences, including Hidden Children, Kindertransport survivors, and refugees. We ask hosts to respect and appreciate each speaker’s unique perspective. 

Speakers are available both in person and virtually. Please submit your request at least four weeks before your preferred date

Community Impact

Members of the William J. Lowenberg Speakers Bureau make an incredible impact on their audiences both in-person and online. These notes, written after hearing a survivor’s presentation, come from students and educators throughout the Bay Area.

Read more letter excerpts on the JFCS Holocaust Center blog >

Conversation Circle

Conversation Circle is an opportunity for a small group of high school students (grades 9-12) to develop a deep connection with a Holocaust Survivor through open discussion. For questions about Conversation Circle, please email HolocaustCenter@jfcs.org

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you define Holocaust survivor?

We define “survivor” as anyone targeted or persecuted by Nazis because of their Jewish heritage.

To request a speaker via Zoom for your school, please complete this Virtual Speakers Bureau Request Form at least two weeks before your preferred program date.

To request a speaker via Zoom for your company/organization, please complete this Virtual Speakers Bureau Request Form at least two weeks before your preferred program date.

For questions and consultations, please contact the Holocaust Center, at holocaustcenter.jfcs.org.

Grades 6 and up

Hearing a survivor speak is a supplement to your Holocaust or genocide curriculum and is not intended as a replacement for formal Holocaust or genocide study. Prior to inviting a speaker to address your class, please be sure to prepare your students with a unit about the Holocaust and/or genocide. For questions, please contact the Holocaust Center, at holocaustcenter.jfcs.org.

A member of the Holocaust Center staff will confirm receipt of the request and contact a speaker who is considered to be a good fit for your program.

Speakers Bureau members are available to speak on weekdays, between the hours of 9:30 am and 5:00 pm, depending on their schedules. Survivors are not available in the early morning hours, in the evening, or on weekends. Please contact the JFCS Holocaust Center if your program must fall outside of these hours.

The survivors and descendants who speak have a variety of experiences that they will share. They are not historians; rather they are living witnesses who will testify regarding their individual or family experience. Some were Hidden Children or on the Kindertransport, and some were refugees. Each has an important story to tell and we request that you be sensitive to and appreciative of each of their unique experiences.

Please plan for a minimum of 60 minutes for the speaker. In most cases, we recommend 75 minutes to include a Q&A period following their presentation. Remember that the speakers are describing complex and traumatic events, and should not be expected to abbreviate their stories. If there is not an hour available, please discuss this with our staff before requesting a speaker for your school or organization.

Sharing about their experiences during the Holocaust can be physically and emotionally draining for our speakers. In order to look after their well-being, we do not schedule survivors to give more than one presentation per day. Should you wish for the speaker to address multiple groups in one day, we suggest combining the groups into a larger virtual program.

For more information about how to implement these programs in your classroom, visit: Connections to Classroom Learning & Standards.

For questions, please schedule a consultation with with our education staff. 

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