Portraits of Survival Tours


Docent-led tours are geared to all ages and backgrounds, providing first-hand accounts from Holocaust survivors and refugees. This educational program makes life-changing impact on participants.


Multi-media educational programs include film clips, survivors' in-person narratives, archival material, and professionally led discussions that inspire participants to examine their interpersonal relationships and responsibility as members of the local and larger community.


Survivors' firsthand accounts resonate with the experience of many young people whose families have dealt with immigration, acculturation, and discrimination.


The program has a large impact as a community-wide change agent. Portraits is a valuable resource from which young people can draw, serving as a springboard for meaningful encounters which offset alienation and negative behaviors, and encourages young people to "belong" in positive and meaningful ways.


Housed at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara, Portraits of Survival has hosted over 7,000 visitors since its inception in November 2003. The Portraits educational program is making a life-changing impact on all those who participate, particularly community youth who engage with survivors around shared issues of identity, belonging, and experiences of being disenfranchised from the general population.

To schedule a program for groups and schools, contact:

Director of Lifelong Learning Samantha Silverman at sams@sbjf.org or (805) 957-1115.

What the Students Are Saying...


"It is admirable how amazing people took their time and told us the way they experienced the Holocaust, and how they are still here trying to make this a better world."


"I recommend this program: people should know what our mistakes were, and we need to learn from them."


"I was so touched by the stories of these amazing people. I was expecting to meet some people in deep sorrow, but I was surprised by their optimism."


"Very appropriate for our grade because we haven't learned that much and now we know so much."


"I plan on coming again and hopefully taking my family."


"I really loved the way [Holocaust survivor] Fred Jamner looks so happy in his picture, after all he went through, and he seems to enjoy his life very much."


From a parent: "The stories of how you survived are very moving and real. Thanks for sharing your history with the children. It gets them thinking about civilizations in general and what it means to really care about other human beings."

What educators, interfaith groups, curators and survivors are saying...

Film Students

“The subject matter is so powerful that it has challenged my entire thought process and has made me a better person. The strength of these survivors is contagious.”
~Department of Film Studies Student, University of California, Santa Barbara


Community Member

"We were profoundly moved by this event; personally, it changed my world view of what it means to live as a Jew, and brought power and depth to my Jewish commitments."



“We had read The Diary of Anne Frank and studied the Holocaust, but actually sitting and listening to a survivor tell her story is something my students will never forget. It’s an experience of living history.”
~Middle School Teacher


Interfaith Groups

“These stories remind us of the privilege and responsibility we have of caring for all persons. The future of the world depends on our acceptance of difference and responsibility for one another.”
~Father Virgil Cordano, Pastor Emeritus, Mission Santa Barbara


Museum Curators

“Highly professional installation—design and concept work seamlessly.”

~Norman Kleeblatt, Chief Curator, The Jewish Museum of New York


“A most moving exhibition which will surely touch the hearts of all who see it.”
~Aubrey Pomerance, MA, Head of Archives, Jewish Museum Berlin


The Survivors

“Telling the story of my relatives and the six million who perished only because they were Jews lends meaning to the future. If I can only persuade a few people not to hate, I have accomplished my mission.”

~Stan Ostern, Survivor



Police Activities League/Probation Department Reps, La Cuesta School, Bryant Treatment Center, Antioch Graduate School, Notre Dame Middle School, UCSB Freshman Seminar, Dos Pueblos High School, Educator Training (with Anti-Defamation League), San Marcos High School, Goleta Valley Junior High, Americorps Training, Santa Maria High School, Santa Barbara Police Department, Carpinteria High School, UCSB Basketball team, Alternative Youth Program, Goleta Youth Group, San Roque School, Vandenberg High School, Cabrillo High School, Santa Barbara Museum of Art High School Day, Vandenberg Middle School, Laguna Blanca High School, La Colina Junior High, Santa Barbara Sheriffs Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Anacapa School, Newcomers Club, L.A. Children of Survival, Braille Institute, El Puente Community School, Santa Barbara Police Crisis Negotiation Response Team, Criminal Justice System, San Diego Jewish Academy