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Portraits in Courage is an inquiry-based learning activity for middle and high school students.  Utilizing the principals of Document and Artefact Based Learning (DBL) students work with primary source materials to discover the experiences and fates of four individuals who were deported to Theresienstadt.

Throughout the program are oral history excerpts from Mrs. Vera Schiff who spent nearly three years in the concentration camp and rebuilt her life in Toronto. Her recollections and memories provide additional nuance to this activity. Adult learners as well as the general public will also find this program to be thought-provoking.

Learning about this one person’s experience during the Holocaust enables learners of all ages to understand the complex circumstances that the survivor encountered.

By examining all the components of Portraits in Courage, learners discover how each of the four individuals- Vera Schiff (née Katz), Eva Katz, Fredy Hirsch, and Rabbi Max Friediger, had unique experiences yet were interconnected. Their stories also reveal some of the experiences of Czech, German, and Danish Jews during the Holocaust.


We invite you to explore Portraits in Courage.




Carson Phillips, Ph.D. | Content Creator

Very Special Thanks: 



Elias Kasper, Austrian Service Abroad for website development, Max Murg for designing the teachers' guide; Pierre Kochel for video editing, and Mrs. Vera Schiff whose experiences, memoirs, and personal artefact collection inspired this program.

Photograph and document credits: Family photographs, documents, wedding Ketubah, yellow star and currency courtesy of Vera Schiff; Fredy Hirsch photographs courtesy of Beit Theresienstadt; Nuremberg Racial Laws chart courtesy of USHMM; Danish fishing boat photograph courtesy of  Nationalmuseet - National Museum of Denmark; White Buses photograph courtesy of Swedish Red Cross; Rabbi Friediger, armband, and King Christian X photographs- public domain.

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