William J. Lowenberg Survivor Speakers Bureau

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 horrors 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. Have questions? Email HCSpeakersBureau@jfcs.org.

How much advance notice must I give to schedule a speaking date?
Please complete the Speakers Bureau Request Form at least four weeks before the speaking date you request.

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 Nina Grotch, Manager of Community Education, at NinaG@jfcs.org or 415-449-1281.

What happens after I send my request for a speaker?
You will receive confirmation of your request and will be contacted to determine the best speaker for your group.

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 during the week, between the hours of 9:30 am and 4:00 pm, depending on their schedules. Survivors are not available in the early morning hours, in the evening, or on the weekends.

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.

The JFCS Holocaust Center is comprised of the Tauber Holocaust Library and Education Program, the Manovill Holocaust History Fellowship, the Speakers Bureau, the Day of Learning, the Oral History Project and the Zisovich Fellowships programs, as well as The Next Chapter Project.

All of these organizations operate on the generous support of our donors.