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Request A Speaker

About VHM's Speakers Bureau

The Virginia Holocaust Museum's Speakers Bureau is comprised of individuals that survived genocide and includes speakers from Belgium (The Holocaust), Cambodia (Cambodian Genocide) and Rwanda (Rwandan Genocide). It is the goal of the Speaker's Bureau to educate through the experiences of survivors and to personalize history.

Important Notes

  • Speaker availability is not guaranteed
  • Groups must include a minimum of 20 students
  • Students must be in grades six and up
  • It is the responsibility of the teacher to set up the meeting for the presentation if the presentation is on Zoom or Google Meet
  • Students are required to have a historical background knowledge of the specific genocide they will be hearing about (i.e., If you request Holocaust survivor Dr. Loria to speak to your students, they must have a historical context of the Holocaust before the presentation)
  • We require that survivors are given 90 minutes to give their presentation (60 minutes for the survivor presentation and 30 minutes for questions and answers)

Available Speakers


Roger Loria, was born in Antwerp on April 19, 1940 to Wolf and Margot Loria. After the Third Reich invaded Belgium in 1940, Wolf and Margot decided to flee the country for Dunkirk, France. They were caught while traveling and forced to return to Antwerp. Because Poland was also occupied, Wolf, still a Polish citizen, worried that his now stateless status would put his wife and child at risk. He decided to leave for France on his own with the hopes that Margot and Roger would follow at a later date. Wolf was caught in France and deported to the Drancy camp. From there he was transferred to Auschwitz in September 1942.


Pinchas Gutter was born to a Hasidic family in Lodz, Poland on July 21, 1932. Alongside his twin sister Sabina, he grew up in a religious Jewish community. Within a month of the Nazis’ 1939 invasion of Poland, the Gutter family, under false Christian identity, moved to Warsaw to avoid danger in their hometown. The family was interned in the Warsaw Ghetto, where they hid in a bunker during the April 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.


Erika Schwartz is one of the youngest Holocaust Survivors in the US. She was born in Nyíregyháza, Hungary in April 1944, just a month after the German invasion. Believing that Hungary was not going to be safe for Jews under the new regime, Erika’s father went to the authorities and begged them to allow his wife and daughter to move to Budapest. To keep them safe in Budapest, false Christian identity papers were obtained that allowed the pair to live undetected. When the war ended in 1945, Erika’s mother discovered that they were the only two survivors from their entire family. 


Halina Drexler (later Zimm) grew up in Lodz, Poland, with her parents and two sisters, Helen and Nana. In Poland, life was pleasant until Nazis invaded the country in 1939. The invasion closed schools and Jews were forced to wear the Yellow Star. Recognizing the eminent danger to his family, Halina’s father Solomon Drexler and his family evacuated Lodz and made their way to Zarnow. En route Nazis stopped the Drexler family, stealing almost everything that they had with them. In Zarnow, rumors circulated about the existence of concentration camps. Few people believed the stories; however Halina’s father did. He obtained two forged birth certificates for Halina and Helen. In November, 1940, Halina said goodbye to her parents, fearing then she would never see them again. Two weeks later, the Nazis arrived and deported the Jews of Zarnow.


In July 1979, Amanda and her family had to flee their hometown in Cambodia to avoid the Khmer Rouge genocide where 2.5 million people out of the population of 8 million, were killed or died from starvation and disease. Their journey through the jungle was filled with danger.  They drank water with human bodies floating in it, ate food that was spoiled, and walked through rice paddies and grassy land infested with land mines and booby traps. Amanda and her family were separated from each other and it was not until they reached Thailand that her family was reunited in a refugee camp.  However, during the journey, Amanda lost 2 siblings to starvation and one brother was imprisoned for 7 years.


Jason Nshimye was born and raised in Rwanda. He is the Founder and President of the Human Rights and Justice Foundation. He has been an activist for human rights and crime prevention. Jason, at the age of 15, and his wife Francoise, at the age of 8, survived the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis in Bisesero, Rwanda. As public speakers, they share their experiences as survivors because they believe it is in everyone’s best interest to support victims and strive for forgiveness, peace, and reconciliation.


Chantal Ingabire is a Pastor, and a speaker. She is a mother of two daughters and leads the Eastwind Church with her husband Leon Kayogera in Richmond, Virginia.  Chantal is a survivor of genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda that took place in 1994.  Some of her siblings, uncles, and cousins mostly on her father's side were killed during the genocide, and it was a miracle that she survived though she experienced, dehumanization, beatings and torture.

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