Adopt-A-Survivor Program Classroom of Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest

When you listen to a witness, you become a witness. -Elie Wiesel

CLASS ADOPT-A-SURVIVOR is a program designed to preserve and perpetuate the incredible and inspirational stories of Holocaust Survivors. Through this program, a class, with the guidance of their teacher, will become familiar with a Holocaust Survivor’s life before, during and after the Holocaust in order to create a project that tells the Survivor’s story and furthermore, pledges to continue to tell their story in the years to come.

Guidelines for Greater MetroWest’s Class Adopt-A-Survivor Program

Each class participating will be assigned one survivor to meet with. We suggest meeting during 4 to 5 class periods in order to successfully hear the survivor’s story. After hearing the story completely, the class will complete a project on the survivor’s experience. This project should be developed and created as a collaborative effort by all those in the class and should be shared with the survivor as well as with us at the Holocaust Council upon completion.

During the class meetings, the conversation should be interactive with the survivor and the students. Below are a few questions (but you are certainly not limited to these) that should be asked.

  • Place and date of birth (It’s a good idea to use an atlas and an encyclopedia or use internet resources for a historic and geographical perspective of the survivor’s country.)
  • Lifestyle of the Jews from the Survivor’s town in general and the Survivor’s family, in particular
  • Details concerning siblings, parents and grandparents, with specific anecdotes where applicable
  • Details of the Survivor’s life from earliest recollection to the beginning of the Holocaust
  • Experiences during the Holocaust – where the Survivor was during the years of the Holocaust and the whereabouts of close family members
  • Liberation, return to home, D.P. camp, waiting to emigrate
  • Life in a new land - family – profession
  • Ask the survivors to describe their feelings? What were their concerns?


Due to the COVID-19 era we are also offering our Class Adopt A Survivor program to you virtually. The survivor will participate in your classroom virtually on your school's virtual platform as if live in the classroom. Please inquire for further information.


Students may want to bring a camera or use their phone at each meeting to make her/his own photographic record.

Students should ask to see photographs of the Survivor’s pre-war and post-war life.

Some Survivors have heavy accents. The students should not hesitate to ask the Survivor to clarify any remarks that he or she does not understand in a respectful manner.

When our Survivors speak at schools, we suggest a $350 honorarium to the Holocaust Council in honor of the Survivor, and to assist their transportation costs. While a donation is not a requirement for this program, the idea of the students fundraising or contributing a donation in honor of the survivor and their time is a nice idea, and a great way to conclude the experience for all.

We at the Holocaust Council know how great this impact is for the teachers, students and Survivors. We are thrilled that you are interested in completing this program with your students and we look forward to working with you. If you have any questions at all or to start the process of scheduling your Adopt a Survivor program, please fill out the attached form and return it to Jamie Carus at

Looking forward to being in touch soon,

Ilyse Shainbrown
Director of Holocaust Education
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest


Contact Us

Ilyse Shainbrown
Director of Holocaust Education & Newark Initiatives
(973) 929-3080

Jamie Carus
Program Manager
(973) 929-3067