Members of the William J. Lowenberg Speakers Bureau teach students and adults about the Holocaust through eyewitness testimony. Holocaust survivors speak in classrooms, religious institutions, community venues, and at JFCS. Through firsthand accounts of the lessons of the Holocaust, thousands of students and Bay Area residents learn about the importance of tolerance, embracing diversity, and combating hatred.
How do I arrange for a Holocaust survivor to speak at my school or institution?
To request a speaker for your school or institution, please complete a Speakers Bureau Request Form at least four (4) weeks before your preferred program date. For questions, please contact Nikki Bambauer, Program Coordinator, at NikkiB@jfcs.org or 415-449-3717.
What is the appropriate age or grade to hear a Holocaust survivor speak?
Grades 8 – 12, college students, and adults.
What preparation must my students have prior to hearing a survivor speaker?
Hearing a survivor speak is a supplement to your Holocaust curriculum and is not intended as a replacement for formal Holocaust study. Prior to inviting a speaker to address your class, please be sure to prepare your students with a unit about the Holocaust. For advice about materials and curricula, you can schedule a consultation with Morgan Blum Schneider, Director of Education, at MorganB@jfcs.org or 415-449-1289.
What happens after I send my request for a speaker?
You will receive confirmation of your request via email within 2 business days. A member of the JFCS Holocaust Center staff will then contact a speaker who is considered to be a good fit for your program.
Will I need to provide transportation to my school?
Yes, it is very likely that the survivor will need to be provided with transportation to and from your location. If you do not have a parent or trusted volunteer to provide transportation, we request that you contribute funds for a taxi or car service.
When are the survivors available to speak?
Survivors are available to speak on weekdays and Sundays, between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm, depending on their schedules. Survivors are not available in the early morning hours, in the evening, or on Saturdays.
What kind of experiences will the speakers talk about?
The survivors who speak have a variety of Holocaust experiences that they will share. They are not historians; rather they are living witnesses who will testify regarding their individual experience. Some are concentration camp survivors; 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 special experiences.
How long should I expect the survivor to speak?
Please plan for at least an hour for the speaker. 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 be respectful and discuss this with our staff before requesting a speaker for your school or organization.
Can a speaker present to more than one class/group during their visit?
Sharing about their experiences during the Holocaust can be physically and emotionally draining for some of our speakers. In order to respect their well-being, we do not schedule them 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 assembly program.