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.
Portraits of Survival Contact
Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara
524 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Hours: M-Th 9 am-5 pm, F 9 am-3:30 pm, or by appointment
For Info & Tours:
Director Ruth Steinberg, (805) 957-1115 x123
Ruby Vargeson, (805) 957-1115 x106
Sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Funding provided by UCSB, Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, The Karuna Foundation, California Council for the Humanities, and generous donors.
"The survivors spoke with an honesty that dignified and respected the students, and reached them in a way that deepens and personalizes what they learn in the classroom. You effectively and poignantly demonstrate that there are no real boundaries between the past and present. Traumatic experiences forever color our perceptions but need not inhibit our living, loving, and learning. We left the Federation with full hearts and, I believe, more open minds."
"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."
“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
"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
“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
“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
“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